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ACADEMIES may not be a universal panacea for poor performance but the opposition from two councillors (Letters July 30) seems based on selective memory rather than rational argument.

ACADEMIES may not be a universal panacea for poor performance but the opposition from two councillors (Letters July 30) seems based on selective memory rather than rational argument.

Jean Hamilton has conveniently forgotten that Liberal Democrats agreed Lyndon School’s decision to convert to Foundation status outside local authority control, whilst Nick Stephen’s claim that academies have not brought improvements is interesting given that statistics published by his party showed on average they delivered significantly increased academic results.

Perhaps Nick no longer believes Labour Party propaganda but I would remind him that all parties unanimously supported replacement of the former Whitesmore School by Grace Academy. Indeed it was our pragmatism and efficient process in that transition which smoothed the way for Solihull to be awarded one of the first Building Schools for the Future programmes, through which we delivered brand new schools with excellent learning environments for children across North Solihull.

Academies were introduced by the previous government, which latterly took powers to compel schools in National Challenge (ie underperforming) to close and reopen as Academies.

Again both correspondents conveniently forget the all-party support for negotiations with ministers to allow us to have a ‘Solihull solution’ through which we would assist schools to find suitable sponsors rather than these being externally imposed. Consequently Arden School now sponsors Park Hall (with results already improving) and partnership consultations are progressing for Archbishop Grimshaw School.

The new government’s Academies Bill actually contains improved safeguards on fair admissions and support for pupils. The Local Government Association has also welcomed Michael Gove’s statement that local authorities will continue to have an important role in driving up educational standards and it is significant that the Association of Directors of Children’s Services is backing the latest developments and calling for all schools to be included in the new freedoms.

Ken Meeson – Leader of Conservative Group


To so fast

WE share the concern over the Coalition Government’s rush to introduce Academy and Free Schools and welcome the council’s debate on the issue.

Our view is that education has suffered from too much change in recent years and we would prefer to have seen a focus on making the existing system work better with action on areas of underperformance.

Schools already have substantial control over their affairs but a measure of democratic accountability and ensuring some consistency on pay and conditions should be retained.

In Solihull every child matters and should continue to do so.

Trevor Eames

Vice Chairman - SAMRA


First class

I HAVE recently had minor surgery in Ward 14 of Solihull Hospital.

I wish to say the treatment I received was absolutely first class.

On arrival at Ward 14 Nurse Carolyn welcomed me and made me feel at ease; and the trainee nurse with her, Michelle, was just a joy to have around. Mr Phillips and his team were wonderfully attentive and after a one night stay in hospital I was able to return home. So many people these days seem to have nothing but bad to say about the National Health Service.

It is therefore so nice to be able to say Solihull Hospital, well done.

Ray Taylor

School Road, Shirley


Send him off

I AM an agnostic concerning football. Hence I would never dream of commenting on controversial decisions of referees.

Don Bargery (Letters), an agnostic concerning God, would do well to desist from offering believers his ignorant and rude opinions.

Margaret Sealey via e-mail


A fence sitter

IT sounds to me Mr Bargery, that you are always trying to convince yourself that God does not exist (Letters).

Are you one of these sitting on the fence agnostics, digging about in the archives of the church trying to find something to chew on? When God created the human race he created man and woman equal, he created a perfect world and a perfect man and woman that was in the beginning, we don’t need a Synod sensible or progressive, we already have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Don you can’t mix secular and spiritual together - it’s like trying to mix oil and water. Can I remind you although I myself am not Roman Catholic being sarcastic is still a low form of wit.

God bless you all

P Thomas, Baxters Rd, Shirley


Wrong bus

I WOULD like to congratulate National Express West Midlands for their excellent timing in changing bus routes.

Not only have they changed the 57, 57A to a 957 last month but from August 29 the 71 will go from Radleys via Sheldon Heath Road, Garretts Green Lane, Meadway, St Giles Road, to Tile Cross then normal route, and the 72 will go from The Radleys via The Radleys, Mackadwon Lane, Tile Cross Road, Tile Cross then normal route and keeping the same numbers.

Schools and colleges have informed of their new starts and the children that are already there are going to get the wrong bus. Come on NEWM, think! Who pays your wages? If you want more passengers stop messing with the service. Oh forgot 169 re-numbered 73. This applies to National Express West Midlands journeys at present. What will Claribels on 72 do and AM PM and Diamond on 71 do?

Roger Cufflin

Confused passenger


Valid points

THANK you H Cosford (Mrs) for replying to my letter Lump in road. You made some very sensible and valid points regarding the safety of both the horse and rider.

You are quite correct in your assumption that I have no contact with horses, but would add that I made a mean jockey on the donkeys at Weston Super Mare in my younger years.

Ken Bates, via e-mail


In circles

WHEN-oh-when is someone at Birmingham Council going to look at the ridiculous way the Robin Hood Island road markings are laid down.

When on the Stratford Road approaching the island from Shirley, there are three lanes marked out: the nearside lane is has an arrow showing left and straight on - in my opinion this means Baldwins Lane and Robin Hood Lane; the middle lane is marked straight on only - which should be for continuing on the Stratford Road; the offside lane is marked right turn only - for Shirley Road and Streetsbrook Road.

However, the lane markings suggest at the north-bound Stratford Road exit, that it is fine for someone in the middle lane to not only swing right to go up Shirley Road, but also Streetsbrook Road! And the whole thing is compounded by traffic lights at this point.

When I learnt to drive (1967), you had to get into the right hand lane to turn right, not to go only back where you came from, as these idiotic road markings suggest. I am fed up with vehicles cutting across my lane and forcing me off course. Crazy. No wonder my wife goes out of her way to avoid it.

Terry Dainty, Olton



Cathrina Hulse
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