Wake up to responsibilities

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THE latest report on Sheffield’s education system makes grim reading after it was disclosed that hundreds of city seven-year-olds are behind expected targets in the three Rs.

This is doubly disappointing considering all the professional pressure put on politicians to target younger children to avoid this very situation.

The city responded and provided the help and support we were told was needed. Yet the figures remain poor and Sheffield is behind the national average in every important subject.

However, professionals can only do so much and they will tell you that too many children begin school without even the basic communication skills.

Probably one of the key reasons for this is that too many parents do not take the time or trouble to coach their children, teaching them to speak well and to listen attentively.

The lazy way of bringing up a child is to stick him or her in front of a television and for a parent to abdicate responsibility.

Some teachers tell us this is happening all too often and they are left trying to educate a child who is barely able to hold a conversation.

It is time such parents woke up to the responsibilities they owe their children.

Homelessness could get worse

THE number of people in Sheffield who have been declared homeless is alarming. But we fear it is only the tip of a very depressing iceberg.

Latest figures show that the number of homeless folk in the city has risen by 38 per cent in the last 12 months, with 273 people now classed as with no home to call their own.

However, this does not include those living rough or in a variety of temporary accommodation.

As the debt crisis facing the nation continues to put pressure on families and individuals, it is likely that this situation will only get worse.

The council is committed to doing all it can to protect people who are in this vulnerable situation. As winter approaches this is growing more vital by the day.

Will it cost more?

IT is early days and it would be unwise to speculate too broadly. But there are obvious problems which could follow from cutting the number of days a week that recycling centres open in Sheffield. Not least that it could lead to more fly- tipping. Before going much further, the council should ask whether the saving achieved would be bigger than the extra cost of cleaning up after others.