Malaise in education is summed up

Mr Spink’s experience (KN Letters, August 25) sums up the general malaise prevalent in much of British, or more precisely, English, education at present.

One wonders if those potential employees or their parents will be the first to complain about “foreign” or migrant workers taking jobs from local people.

Perhaps some of those coming from abroad may not always have the best knowledge of spoken English (although can you always understand what teenagers and even younger children are talking about?) but their written education and maths might be better.

When we took A-levels the percentage of candidates allowed to receive a pass mark was kept to around 50 to 60 per cent to maintain a high standard and not bumped up artificially to 90 per cent or more. It varied from year to year, based upon the average level of intelligence, perceived intellectual faculties and understanding and the ability to proffer reasoned argument within a question — not on simply knowing absolute facts.

If the average standard was higher one year the number of people given a pass was reduced, not increased.

After all, those applicants for jobs have several things in their favour.

Firstly, youth, so they should have flexibility, adaptability, mouldability and, hopefully, a brain open to new ideas.

Secondly, the availability of and their proximity to education and training, that is, they have either just left it or have easy access to further quantities of such.

Not simply saying, “I can’t do that”, or “I won’t do that”.

They should try applying for a job when an employer only sees your grey hair and 30 or so years between you and full-time education.

Possibly, Mr Spink should have asked them if they had a GCSE in texting gobbledygook on a mobile phone that only a spaced-out teenager in internet hyperspace would understand, while their ears are full of Amy Winehouse or Lady Gaga from an i-Phone.

S Bennett

Grafton Road, Keighley

Visitor using car park had to pay £240

I recently received the following email from a visitor to Haworth: “I was clamped (1/8/2011) on the car park of Changegate (not parked within marked bays) and had to pay £240 ( I have an official receipt).

“I read on the internet that it is a car park with a bad history.

“Most people had to pay about £70. But my penalty was so much more.

“It is difficult to do something against it from the Netherlands.

“Until now all information on the internet didn’t help me.

“Could you give me a name or s possibility to act (I know you can't do anything)?”

Mrs C Dresch, Netherlands”

This is my reply to her: It grieves me to discover that you too have become a victim of the business practices of Carstoppers Ltd.

As you have so rightly observed we, the parish council, nor the police, or the principal authority Bradford Council, do not have any powers to intervene in this matter because the car park is on privately- owned land. If you were British I would advise you to challenge Carstoppers Ltd, in what we call the Small Claims Court and I cannot explain why you were so heavily fined by this company because I am not aware of the conditions under which you were penalised.

I have copied my email to you to our Member of Parliament simply to illustrate the continuing misery that is being inflicted on our overseas visitors, as well as tourists from within Britain, by Carstoppers Ltd and to ask him to encourage our Government to deliver the proposed Freedom Bill, under which I understand such business practices would be prohibited, as soon as possible.

We pride ourselves in Haworth of welcoming overseas visitors to our village and it is a matter of intense regret to our council that so many people do not place their vehicles in the Bradford Council run car parks within the village which do not operate such rigorous practices.

On my visits to the Netherlands I have been received with great friendliness and courtesy and I am ashamed that we were not able to extend that hospitality to you in Haworth. Please accept my sincere apologies on behalf of the village and my fellow countrymen for your unfortunate treatment. I only wish I could be of more assistance.

Councillor John Huxley

Chairman, Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council

Great admiration for staff at care home

Following two months in Bradford Royal Infirmary, I have recently returned home from 12 months in Herncliffe Care Home, Keighley.

I have to say I have a great admiration for this care home. The staff are wonderful, nothing was too much trouble for them. Until I was taken there I hadn’t even heard of it.

Last year it was awarded Caring Home of the Year 2010 winner.

D B Cordingley

Halifax Road, Cullingworth

Race an immoral spectacle

The recent changes announced by Aintree Racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority to the Grand National amount, in Animal Aid’s view, to nothing more than ineffectual tinkering.

The four key changes to the course — which amount to the lowering of the drop on two of the jumps, reducing the height of one obstacle and increasing the height of the orange-coloured take-off board — fall depressingly short of any genuine attempt to address the carnage of the Grand National race.

Despite much heralded improvements over the years, Animal Aid’s new analysis of the history of the race reveals that, in recent years, the risk of a horse dying in the race has increased rather than diminished. In the last decade, nine horses have been killed in the Grand National, with two of those deaths occurring during this year's race in April.

The Grand National remains an un-reformable, anachronistic and immoral spectacle that should never be run again. Readers who would like a copy of Animal Aid’s analysis of the Grand National can obtain one, free of charge, by contacting the office on 01732 364546 or emailing and asking for a copy of our Ban the Grand National information pack.

Fiona Pereira

Campaigner, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge TN9 1AW