Free Press letters and Comment
Consultation report out
In the final weeks of 2017, a consultation exercise took place to receive feedback from residents and the local community about a plan to develop four new schools for vulnerable young people not in education in mainstream schools.
I’d like to personally thank everyone who responded and attended the open events. We received more than 100 formal responses and we have now published the Public Consultation Report, which can be found at http://wellspring.wellspringacademysites.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/04/Consultation-Report-March-18-Springwell-Lincolnshire-Final-Version.pdf.
We have made every attempt to address all concerns raised throughout this engagement process.
I understand the points raised by residents and welcome the feedback.
I would like to reassure that, together with colleagues throughout Lincolnshire, Wellspring Academy Trust is committed to providing a caring, nurturing environment and the best possible education for some of the most vulnerable, challenged and challenging young people in the county.
We are determined that after receiving our support, our students move on to their next destination having felt known, valued, understood and educated. Whatever that pathway is, be it back into mainstream school or into work or training, we are determined that our students have gained valuable personal and social skills that aid them to make a positive contribution as citizens in Lincolnshire.
Wellspring Academy Trust, which operates schools across the north of England, has a track record of outstanding academies and a strong reputation for excellence in specialist education.
Our restorative and developmental approach was one of the reasons the Trust was referenced as a “model of inclusiveness” in a recent Parliamentary Select Committee session. We are passionate about our approach to making a difference and are proud of the track record we are establishing.
I appreciate that there has been a lot of discussion around the proposed schools, suitability of sites and shortage of mainstream education places in Lincolnshire. Any perceived shortage of mainstream places is a separate matter on which I am unable to comment. It is my hope that the published Consultation Report will address residents’ apprehensions and make clear the fact that funding for Springwell Lincolnshire Academy is ring-fenced by the government and no funding is being diverted from mainstream schools.
The proposed new schools will not compete with existing mainstream schools but will provide specialist provision, essentially supporting the local schools system. The schools are proposed to be located in each quadrant of the county, thereby reducing the need for children to travel long distances to school.
As a Trust that is committed to supporting the needs of all young people in education, we welcome the support of the local communities in which we operate.
We understand the challenges and sometimes frustration of everyone, everywhere who lives close to a school and welcome the tolerance, patience and understanding that school neighbours everywhere show. For our part, we will always do our upmost to be considerate and respectful neighbours.
Wellspring Academy Trust
It was not a debate
Further to the article in last week’s Guardian, I must protest at the way the recent Brexit event at the South Holland Centre was presented to the public.
It was no debate, simply an opportunity for a small team of Remainers, headed by Ken Clarke, to insult us by saying us how stupid South Holland was to vote leave.
I left early, having heard it all before many times, Fear Campaign mark two.
Well done to William Hayes for trying to put part of the Leave case to a very hostile audience, some of them from way outside our area.
It was perfectly clear from the Government leaflet, sent to us all at taxpayer’s expense before the referendum, that a leave vote should result in leaving the Customs Union and single market - something Ken and others are desperate to avoid.
It was perhaps possible that at the start of the Brexit process, mutually beneficial deals could have been done with the EU, but a combination of our poor quality negotiators, the intransigence of Brussels and lack of political will in Westminster have made this much harder that it should have been.
The events in Cyprus, Greece and more recently in Catalonia and Italy, show the extent of the EU’s utter contempt for public opinion and democracy. They are determined to dominate all of Europe at any cost.
Poland and other eastern nations are also being pressured. The EU commission puts the Federal Europe dream above everything else. The project is now on very shaky ground.
If the EU and our own political classes had listened to the reasonable concerns of citizens, there would have been no need for so-called “populist” movements.
The continent could have kept the trade deals of the Common Market and dumped the rest.
Too late now, we need to get out whilst a clean break is possible and before we are hit with collateral damage from the collapse of an artificial construct that so many Europeans are increasingly recognising is deeply flawed.
Come and see what we do
The Oxfam shop in Station Road, Spalding, is celebrating Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) by giving prospective volunteers a chance to drop in, join us and look around the shop.
This will occur on Thursday, June 7, from 12.30-2.30pm and is happening in conjunction with our colleagues at other Lincolnshire shops.
Anyone is welcome to join us and hear more about the importance of volunteers in our community.
Disabled suffer discrimination
News that disabled workers earn £1.50 less an hour on average has pushed the disability pay gap to its highest level since 2013 at 13.6 per cent.
This is an all new low to those of us who have campaigned for decades to challenge negative stereotypes on employing people with disabilities.
The average disabled employee working a 35-hour week earned £2,730 less than a non-disabled worker doing the same job.
While many people with disabilities are in part-time work, the numbers are a scandal and women with disabilities fare worse still.
Some have called for employers to be required to publish the disability pay gap.
If all the data were published, it would start to address issues of work and pay across the board.
We have started to shine a light on the gender pay gap problem, we just need to widen the beam to highlight where equally appalling injustice still lurks.
It is in all our interests to see that everyone, regardless of age, gender, race or disability like those of us with Post Polio Syndrome, receive a fair day’s pay.
Fifty years ago, we ran a training centre and paid people who had Polio the same as the able-bodied.
A groundbreaking idea then; but it is truly sobering to feel the need to raise these issue again in 2018. Anyone who needs our help can visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The
British Polio Fellowship
Protect against allergies
Allergy sufferers are warned that their beds could be making their condition worse.
Conditions such as allergic rhinitis and asthma are often worse at night - and the dreaded house dust mite could be one of the triggers for an allergic reaction.
The hub of these dust mites could be your bed as it’s one of their favourite places to live.
Allergies cause misery for millions of people in the UK every year. Unfortunately, your bed might be making things worse, especially given the fact that the average person sheds a pound of skin a year - much of it into your bed - and lose around half a pint of moisture while sleeping at night.
Dust mites love nothing more than a warm cosy mattress, but fortunately there are things you can do to keep the pests at bay and keep your sleep environment as healthy as possible.
Allergies and asthma affect over 21 million adults in the UK and 59% of indoor allergy sufferers say their symptoms feel worse in the bedroom.
The Sleep Council has the following ‘good housekeeping’ tips for tackling dust mites:
Regularly replace your mattress - ideally every seven years.
Keep the bedroom well ventilated: a good cool breeze through the room at night will help combat the problem as well as aid more restful sleep.
Leave bedclothes turned back during the day.
The Sleep Council