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

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The Independent Online

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