IoS letters, emails & online postings (15 June 2014)


Joan Smith (8 June) describes state education as a "dog's breakfast", but it has also been a political football between a "left" that overlooks the need for sensitive and flexible selection according to unequal abilities, and a "right" that ignores the need for manageable groups, which enable teachers to give pupils and their written work closer attention.

If, instead of gimmicks and treble U-turns, from overpaid super-heads to exam chaos, incremental investment in both subject setting and smaller classes would have not proved too expensive, spread over the past four decades, and secondary education outcomes would today top the global league.

David Ashton

Sheringham, Norfolk

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey, argues that universities "are not just for getting a job" (News, 8 June). He says his degree in electrical engineering is irrelevant to his current position and that a member of his finance team has a degree in classics. What he didn't tell you is that neither of them came out of university with huge debts, having paid £9,000 a year in tuition fees.

If you are in the top 15 per cent with straight As or A*s at A-level and go to a top university, you will be able to get a well-paid job, regardless of whether your degree matches your chosen career. The problem came about when the polytechnics were converted to universities and a target was set that approximately 50 per cent of the population should go to university. This was politicians being disingenuous; they knew that degrees from lowly institutions were effectively worthless. It is now admitted that a high percentage of graduates will not earn sufficient money to repay their student loan. Learning for learning's sake does not make sense if it results in you having a millstone round your neck for 15 years or more.

Malcolm Howard

Banstead, Surrey

Neither we nor the public can afford to wait until "parliamentary time allows" to see the Regulation of Health and Social Care Professionals Bill become law ("Labour: PM has abandoned promise to patients", 8 June). This Bill would have enabled us to reduce the time it takes to hear and conclude cases against nurses and midwives who are no longer fit to remain on the register. The Government's failure to commit to the Bill damages our efforts to improve patient safety and modernise the regulation of healthcare professionals. I urge all of the political parties to make a public commitment to include this Bill in the first session of the next parliament. The public and the professions deserve to see the commitment honoured.

Jackie Smith

Chief executive and registrar

Nursing and Midwifery Council

London W1

Far from urging people to see Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy ("Movies not to be missed", 8 June), I would say run a mile from this really scary movie. The famous silent long shot has haunted me for years, equalled only by Edith Piaf's dream sequence in La Vie en Rose for the spine-chill factor. Blood and gore are laughable, whereas masterly handled film noir can stay with you for a lifetime.

Mary Hodgson


While it is true that the author Fritz Leiber Jnr appeared in a few films (Invisible Ink, 8 June), it was his father Fritz Leiber Snr who appeared in The Sea Hawk.

Paul Dormer

Guildford, Surrey

Today's pensioners were raised to have a stiff upper lip when times were tough. But too many are struggling unnecessarily and are unaware that, if they are RAF or WRAF veterans, there is a charity out there that can help them. This Father's Day, I encourage sons and daughters of RAF veterans to make sure their parents know that help is available if they need it or to contact us on their behalf at 0800 169 2942. They served their country in its time of need, and the RAF Benevolent Fund is there for veterans in their time of need.

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon

Director of welfare and policy

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

London W1

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower