IT WAS interesting to finally see information regarding the candidates for the forthcoming crime commissioner position in West Yorkshire.

Although I understand the reason why we have seen so little information is that the candidates have to pay for posting out their own election literature.

In these economic times probably a correct decision, and perhaps the three main parties can pay for their party junk-mailings at all future elections.

Sadly the three main parties can’t wait until the tax payer picks up the full funding bill for their parties.

Wonder which future act of parliament they will slip that into?

Although not in agreement that we should be paying for yet another appointment in the public sector, we have a vote so we should use it.

Clearly it must be wrong to vote for the candidates running under any political party banner, so it was good to read the independent candidate’s views.

David Cameron, when in opposition promised less politics and fewer politicians. But with him being from that same political educational mould as Blair, Brown, the Milibands et al... why would we believe him?

Now here we are stuck with, what he hopes along with his Westminster mates of all party colours, another political bod to interfere in policing.

As if politics has done any good in reducing crime over the past 20 years.

Hopefully a few independents will get elected to this new position of crime commissioner, across the country, and we can see less political interference, less political correctness (aka weak kneed, wishy washy liberalism) and a little bit more straightforward common sense. We can only hope.

Gez Sharp


Stand up to Shelley

I AM WRITING with regards to the Shelley College proposals to admit year 7 and 8 pupils and force our schools into a two tier system.

Having myself been educated in a two tier system and experienced the trauma of a huge transition from primary to secondary, we moved into the Kirkburton area for the sole reason of our children being educated within the Shelley Pyramid as it stands at present.

Our eldest child has experienced the transition from first to middle school and is about to transfer to high school and I personally believe I was correct to uproot our family to benefit from the present three tier system.

The transition to middle school and now to high school have been like stepping stones, gradually increasing in size, manageable and exciting. A world away from the trauma I suffered.

Shelley College keep using the word choice but I don’t understand where this choice lies? If this proposal is not a done deal, is our choice how vocal we are in trying to stop it? Once a decision has been made, if Shelley College is allowed to admit year 7 and 8 pupils I cannot envisage a two tier and three tier system running parallel within the same school. How will this work?

We would be moving from a pathway with clarity that works, to a supposed choice which I really do not want with my eight and five year old sons stuck in the middle. As I see it my choices would be:

1 I take my child out of first school at the end of year 5. He will not understand why he is leaving a year earlier than his friend whose parents have elected Shelley College. He then attends middle school for three years. He then joins Shelley College at year 9 ( if there is a place), mixing with pupils who have potentially already been there for two years.

2 I am forced to send my extremely shy child against my wishes to a huge secondary allowing him to disappear in its vastness.

The argument for two tier is always the number of transitions but surely you should also take into consideration the size of these transitions.

I remember returning from an open evening at Kirkburton middle school with a list of pupils in my son’s new form to be told excitedly that he knew half his new class already – either from first school or out of school activities.

Through his three years at middle school he now knows the majority of his year group and as only two middle schools feed into Shelley that means he will know virtually half his year group next year.

This is in comparison to my experience in a two tier system where I knew one other girl in my form from primary and stuck to her like glue for a whole year petrified of getting lost.

What we do not know is how the transitions will work with parents having a so called choice.

All transitions so far have been on a level playing field all children have moved together. How can some pupils move to middle school in year 6, some go to Shelley or even middle school in year 7 and then some transfer to Shelley in year 9?

Will this not potentially cause unnecessary bullying and intimidation, has this been thought about and have you the means to deal with this?

In my opinion you cannot have choice – you have one system or the other. By having choice you are causing trauma for the pupils in middle school and it is obvious Shelley College are relying on this to force prospective parents to chose the two tier system against their wishes.

How will these changes affect school admissions, will the catchment areas change?

If parents vote with their feet and send their child to middle school will there still be a place for them at year 9 or will a child from out of the area already have taken it?

If you are recruiting children from a different catchment area will this not potentially affect standards of achievement and behaviour?

Where will our children go in year 9?

Shelley College only seem interested in their school. The ramifications of their actions are huge and far reaching.

Potential closures of middle schools and the forced expansion of 16 first schools. A lot of changes if the end result produces no significant improvement in grades – all your glossy leaflet talks about.

Children’s education is not just about the grades they receive at the end of their school life it is about producing educated, mature, well rounded members of the community.

Middle schools nurture children at a vulnerable age, pupils receive a specialist subject education in specialist classrooms a year earlier than their two tier counterparts but in an non threatening environment.

If these proposals go ahead in my opinion the only choice parents will have is if middle schools stand up to Shelley College, apply for academy status and expand into year 9, 10 and 11. If this happens I will exercise my choice and go with them.

Alison Robertson


Thoughtful gesture

I WOULD like to thank the anonymous person and the two friends of my late wife Carol, for decorating and lighting up candles on her grave for the Sunday polish celebration in Lockwood cemetery, as I was out of action for several weeks due to illness.

It was a pleasant surprise for me to see it on Sunday.

Although my late wife was born and bred in Huddersfield, she loved that Polish tradition to decorate and light candles on the graves of their loved ones on All Soul’s Day.



An end to war

I READ Denis Kilcommons’ article (November 6) regarding wearing the Remembrance Day poppy.

Indeed many of us would seek cause to remember the dead of all wars and the dead of all nations.

But what Denis’s article omits is the need to remember the dead of wars by striving to end war and ensure that future generations do not suffer the pain of the past.

Indeed during the years 1914 to 18 there were thousands of young people locally who expressed their opposition to the barbarity and waste of that war by refusing to fight, stating their cases at military tribunals and often spending time in jail.

It can be suggested that if instead of meekly following their masters into oblivion the Labour Movement in Europe had remained committed to a continent wide general strike against the war in 1914 then such slaughter could have been avoided and in a similar fashion if more people had supported the anti war movement of 2001-03 the illegal, wasteful and painful wars for oil would not be claiming young lives now.

As someone who saw first hand the conflict in Northern Ireland and has dealt with many victims of war in my personal and professional life I can attest that there is nothing glorious about the broken minds and smashed bodies that are the logical conclusion of combat.

War is invariably waged for the vanity of politicians, the profits of arms companies and corporate ambitions and it is ordinary people who have their lives crushed in its inevitable barbarism.

Yes wear the poppy or attend Remembrance day commemorations but never forget to oppose war and violence in all its manifestations.

Ian Brooke