Letters to the editor in this week’s Bucks Herald include:
SINGLE SEX SCHOOLS
I have a great respect for your education consultant, Catherine Stoker, and often find her articles well thought out and informative.
However I was disappointed to read her article on single sex schools last week that became a platform for her personal opinion.
Catherine generalised that boys and girls are wired differently and used that generalisation to conclude that both sexes are better off in a single sex environment.
There may well be differences between boys and girls (although there is as big a range within each sex as between the sexes) but that could well make an argument for the benefits of co-education.
A boy and girl interpreting a poem together, a boy and a girl designing a science experiment together can give a richer educational experience than would be possible in a single sex environment.
I have now spent well over thirty years working in schools –some mixed and some single sex and I disagree completely with Catherine’s assertions that either boys or girls need more coaxing to contribute in lessons.
When watching lessons in my own school I often keep a note of how many times boys and girls each contribute to lessons.
The tally is almost always very close to 50-50. If boys or girls do not get the chance to hold their own in a discussion with those of the opposite sex, lead those of the opposite sex in teams and appreciate the social and intellectual requirements of working with the opposite sex then their education is incomplete.
Catherine wrote that subject choices are more likely to be focused on the needs of each sex in a single sex environment.
I am not sure what she means by that. In my school nearly three quarters of our girls chose to study maths or science in the sixth form last year.
If education is about preparing young people for the adult world then a mixed environment must provide a better preparation for a world where men and women work together. If education is about the development of social skills and confidence then a mixed education must do a better job of equipping young people for an adult social environment.
If education is about helping young people to understand those who are different to themselves than a mixed environment must inevitably provide a richer experience.
Now that good statistical tools have dismissed the old preconceptions that exam results are better in single sex environments my advice to parents making choices about schools at age 11 or 13 is simply to select what they feel to be the best school for their child.
I encourage them not to be swayed by the outdated myths that are often propagated by fans of single sex education (some of which were sadly reproduced by Catherine Stoker last week).
Headteacher, Sir Henry Ffoyd Grammar School
HOSPITAL CAR PARK
Can you believe that Stoke Mandeville Hospital has got a supermarket ahead of a much needed, new car-park?
I experienced the inadequacy of the car park one year ago, when I took my ,seriously ill son to A&E.
He walked 200 yards with a sick-bowl and a chemo line, while I tried to find somewhere to park my car.
I haven’t mentioned the cost of parking or the increased demand since Wycombe A&E closed.
The repeated response from David Lidington and Ann Eden of Bucks Health Care is that a funding problem has caused the delay. What?
They have sold land for a housing estate, they have had income from an exorbitant car park for years and they now have an ASDA on the door step
Do we need a Specsavers as well? Shame on somebody.
Dr Keith Buckley
Retired Aylesbury GP
PS I suppose that while you are waiting four hours in A&E, you can do your weekly shop!
An open letter to Bucks County Council and Aylesbury Vale
As a long time resident and professional driver based in Aylesbury I would like to say, in respect of the Tring Road and current congestion, “ What is wrong with you people?”.
Who, in their right mind, can really believe that traffic lights are better than roundabouts?
Studies have repeatedly shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled intersections.
Roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Studies by the IIHS and Federal Highway Administration have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:
>A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions
>A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions
>A 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions
>A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions
For years there has been no major issue with the traffic at the Oakfield Road junction, no major accidents , no problem.
This is the A41, a major trunk route, and a very busy one at that.
Lorries of all sizes drive through Aylesbury and always have, is the law being changed so that ARLA can use bigger lorries? Or are you assuming that their drivers need more space than other drivers?
I, and other residents, are getting sick of the way you plan and manage roads. You allow parking on double yellow lines in the High Street and Tring Road (all A41, still a trunk road) at all times and there appears to be no tickets or fines issued even to repeat offenders, some of whom have been seen to park, half on the pavement half on double yellow lines, for over two hours!
The current roadworks, despite your protests, have nothing to do with the massive queues along Tring Road.
It is the new traffic lights. There are queues from Aston Clinton all the way up to these lights up to 7pm! The town centre becomes gridlocked with the queues from other directions.
Do you really believe that the Broughton Lane closure is the cause? Of course it’s not.
The amount of traffic that would use this road normally is quite small and there are no parts of the on-going roadworks that cause traffic to stop.
No lights, no stop/go boards, nothing. If you stand and watch you can see that the traffic flows quite freely around this junction apart from the incoming vehicles which are queuing…for the traffic lights at Oakfield Rd….3/4 of a mile further down the road!
I think that you should maybe change some job titles so that people understand that their departments should be in charge of traffic flow not “traffic”.
Despite your assurances I can see that the current problems will only get worse as time goes on and in a few years some bright spark will earn a massive bonus by suggesting that they reinstate a roundabout at the Oakfield Road junction and then we can all go back to reasonable driving times.
Until then we will have to endure the added inconvenience, noise and pollution caused by your pathetic grasp of how roads work
No political bias
In response to the letter in last weeks Bucks Herald from Andy Huxley, I would like to point out that BANG was set up with no political bias, but purely as a means of bringing all interested residents of Aylesbury and surrounding districts together in getting a dedicated bypass for Aylesbury,The County Town of Buckinghamshire.
I would add that, as can be seen from the publicity expressed in the Bucks Herald recently it has confirmed that our petition of some seven years ago was very timely and relevant in view of the present state of traffic congestion in the town and especially along Tring Road or should I say tRing Road.
There are a number of issues that are still outstanding, not least of all the critical air pollution problem on parts of Tring Road that should have been dealt with within one year but still outstanding some four years or so later.
Also road noise pollution levels on a road that has not been resurfaced, apart from patching within the last 40 or so years.
If anyone from our Council is reading this maybe they would like to comment? After all, the situation has not improved with the advent of traffic lights and the resultant stream of congested traffic that now exists.
ODE TO TRAFFIC LIGHTS
From the recent correspondence in the paper I see that I am not the only one frustrated by all the traffic lights now appearing all over Aylesbury.
To calm myself one morning the following was going round in my head and which hopefully may amuse some of your readers.
An Ode to Aylesbury Traffic Lights
Oh Aylesbury town of light
Red amber green
Once upon a time never to be seen
Oh Aylesbury town of light
Red amber green
Spreading like a weed without heed
Oh Aylesbury town of light
What a sight
Red amber green
Red Red Red Red
I think my wife stopped counting when she got to 42!
SLOOOOOOW DRIVER RAGE
Could somebody PLEASE tell me where the 45mph signs are on the A418 between Wing and Aylesbury?
I have searched long and hard on my regular weekend journeys down to Aylesbury over the last four years – but to no avail.
Yet, almost every time, I am forced to drive at 45mph by another driver in front of me (usually with a long queue of others in between, all being subjected to the same indignity).
A 10-mile stretch which should take only ten or eleven minutes (taking into account the 40mph limit at Rowsham) takes 33% longer.
Is this driver the same one every night who, because he or she is incapable of doing 60mph, can see no reason why anyone else should?
Or is there a car dealership in Aylesbury or environs which sells vehicles which are only capable of doing 45mph – like the other cars which they sell and which have no indicators?
If I ever find out who this inconsiderate driver is, he – or she – should be warned, because a poke in the eye with a blunt object often offends.
Third Avenue, Grantham
HARD TO HANDLE
I purchased a Belling Double Oven from Currys/PC World in Aylesbury.It was delivered by the manufacturers a week later.
On looking at the grill pan I noticed there was no handle for it. My wife and I went back to Currys and saw a very helpful person in Jay.
He rang Belling only to be told that they have not issued grill pan handles for over a year now. We and Jay just could not believe it.
Jay then got us the phone number and part number for the handle for me to order it.
When I rang and ordered the handle it was out of stock but will be delivered mid November.
While on the phone I asked Belling representative what are you supposed to do without a grill pan handle, he stated you have to use a tea cloth.
Surely this is against all health and safety procedures. I had to pay another £14.90 for the handle on top of nearly £400 for oven. Belling is a British firm as well
Wenwell Close, Aston Clinton
11 PLUS - NOT ALL IN THE GENES
N Hayes (Letters: “11 plus reasoning”, Oct. 23rd) justifies the 11 plus by using the concept of “regression to the mean”.
He thinks that each set of children of “intelligent parents” is slightly less intelligent than their parents (and the reverse for the “unintelligent”).
But he’s got it wrong; if he were correct, then over many generations we would all have become identical, which clearly has not happened.
Instead, “regression to the mean” describes the continuation of genetic variation, which is at the basis of human evolution, by providing for minor differences – in many directions – between ourselves and our parents.
He relies on a book by H.J. Eysenck which is nearly 40 years old.
Since then, we have learnt a great deal more about genetics – think of the human genome project – and new disciplines such as epigenetics.
These show that intelligence is not “in the genes” and fixed at the moment of conception.
Instead, it is developed through complex changes that occur in the womb and in early life, as well as through early education and life events.
Those events are heavily influenced by income, parental health and upbringing. T
hat is why programmes such as Sure Start, which the government has cut heavily, are so important in helping children to fulfil their potential.
The 11 plus rewards “those who have”, not because of their genes but because of their social and economic advantages.
It rejects children who do not have those advantages, as well as the many who develop more slowly than average.
Sorting children, by whatever ingenious means, into sheep and goats at the age of 11, is both unfair to them and wasteful for all of us.
Professor Sir Roderick Floud
HS2 - PLAYING GAMES
The Let’s Get Real HS2 letter this week actually does get right to the important issues about the unrepresentative nature of the activities of the HS2 resistance movement, what he called the StopHS2 gang.
How do the politicians get away with spending so much taxpayers money, our taxes, on what they will or cannot say exactly? But we do know the roads are underfunded and getting worse.
They now try to justify their case by pluckincg out disaffected politicians like Peter Mandelson and the former Chancellor who started HS2 in the first place to rubbish the HS2 plan.
Labour still support HS2. Are these people really against HS2?
More likely perhaps their aim is just to get themselves back into the limelight from their desperation in political wilderness.
Creslow Way, Stone
HS2 - WAKE UP CALL
What is it about Great Meadow Way Fairford Leys that brings out the pro HS2 supporters?
As I replied previously to Harry Hawkins & now Paul Robinson ,are they renting so they can flee when the horrendous construction work begins?
Far from waking up Mr Robinson as you have asked us to do, you will be permanently kept awake.
HS2 - AYLESBURIAN IS WRONG
Re: Aylesburian column, arguing that people in Aylesbury have not woken up to threat of HS2.
I am a resident in Walton Court and along with other residents managed to get over 2,000 signatures on a petition against the construction of HS2. A letter sent to my local MP was also passed on to the then Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and responded to it.
I made a short film on the plight of those in Walton Court. The producer made documentaries for the BBC.
It runs for about 5 minutes and I will.
It has been widely circulated by Action Alliance and as far as I know shown at party conferences.
As someone who is confined to a wheelchair I am one of the 11% of disabled residents on the estate. We will be hardest hit by this.
I just had to let you know that Walton Court has been anything but silent on this issue.
The Friends of Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Scannappeal would like to thank the people of Aylesbury for generously donating over £300 to a recent public collection in Aylesbury town centre on behalf of the Cancer Fighting Fund for Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
This appeal is currently raising funds for state of the art imaging equipment for the early diagnosis and treatment of colonic, pancreatic, oesophageal and stomach cancers.
Once purchased, 1,000 local patients will benefit every year. Thanks also to the volunteers who gave up their time to run the collection.
For more information about our appeal, please see www.scannappeal.org.uk/appeals.
Roy J Collis DL
Chairman, Friends of Stoke Mandeville Hospital