Rays of hope lift the gloom

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PROGRESS has stalled in our primary schools as the city’s national ranking slumped to 130 of 150 councils.

A drop of 14 places was not what education chiefs wanted and much work will have to be done to try and improve things.

But amid the gloomy figures, there are beacons of hope. Totley Primary recorded a 100 per cent pass rate putting it in the top 200 schools in the country.

And four primaries are among the most improved schools nationally.

This must not be forgotten when the city addresses its standing.

The challenge is for the secondaries to build on the good work done by the successful primaries.

And those primaries which fared less well have the example of Manor Lodge, Malin Bridge, Woodthorpe and Wybourn.

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, Barnsley leads the way, with Doncaster second.

Both are ahead of Sheffield, which clearly gives the city much to think about. Nevertheless, we applaud the efforts of those schools which have improved and hope they prove to be trailblazers.

Support appeal to help others

WHAT a fantastic effort. Readers have helped The Star’s Surviving Winter appeal raise £10,000 – and we feel confident that more will come in now people see how easy it can be to help others.

The appeal asks individuals to give up their £200 winter fuel allowance so it can be redirected to more needy cases. The money is paid to everyone over the age of 60 to help with fuel bills – regardless of whether they need it or not. A millionaire and a hard-up pensioner are treated the same.

We asked those who could afford to go without the money to do so and donate it to this appeal, which is being organised by South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

And we are delighted with the response so far – and know that more of you will get behind the appeal. It really does make a difference.

Greed not God

WE are sure that the patience of the Sheffield public is rapidly evaporating where it concerns the Occupy protesters who continue to camp outside Sheffield cathedral. They have made their point and it is time to go. For they are in danger of harming the Cathedral, whose officials have found it necessary to write to neighbouring businesses apologising for any inconvenience. Surely it is greed not God which should be targeted.