DURING my 27 years as teacher and head teacher at Scissett Middle School I don’t think I ever read an educational document containing as many errors, generalisations and inaccuracies as the recent Shelley College admissions brochure.

Smoke and mirrors best describes the information contained in his booklet and parents, community or local people reading it should have the proverbial pinch of salt handy.

Only one concrete fact can be found – the 80%, 5 A-C success rate at GCSE this year.

The school should be proud of their staff and student achievements – and acknowledge the First and Middle staff who contributed to this success. Shelley should be achieving these standards every year..

One name is curiously absent from the brochure. An organisation that schools fear, but is recognised as the external, impartial judge of schools across the country. Ofsted is not mentioned once. I wonder why not.

Scissett Middle School has been recognised as outstanding by Ofsted with Kirkburton receiving similar praise.

Mr McNally criticises teaching and standards at Middle School but Ofsted reports make plain that these are excellent features of both Middle Schools.

He uses data to attack Middle School standards of attainment, but Ofsted is clear that children leave Middle School with well above standards of attainment.

Who is likely to be closer to reality about our schools? Is it Ofsted – an impartial, external Government body, working in schools nationwide – or Mr McNally’s work of fiction? I know which I would rather place my faith in.

The head teacher and governors of Shelley College continue to bring academies into disrepute.

Parents, families and communities that are part of our three tier system recognise that the system serves all children and young people well and will vote to reject the Shelley proposals.

Mick Moriarty

(Former headteacher at Scissett Middle School )

Memorable day

LOUISE Cooper’s report on the Booth fire Memorial Service that took place on November 3 concludes the Examiner’s coverage of the campaign to have a commemoration plaque installed at the site of the disaster. It was a campaign supported by the newspaper throughout.

The event opened at the Parish Church in Kirkgate with a moving service that incorporated some of the hymns and readings from the funeral that took place there in 1941.

It brought together once again Emma, Florrie and Gladys. They were just three young girls at the time of the disaster. They had just begun work that morning when at 8.05, there was a shout for everyone to get out quickly.

The three made a dash for the door with only a minute or two to spare before a ‘tornado’ of fire ripped through the wood and glass panels with amazing and terrifying speed’ engulfing every floor of the clothing factory until the entire building was a raging inferno.

Those same girls are not so young today but they braved the cold morning to honour and remember their friends who had arrived for work that Friday in late October, and never returned home.

The campaign began in November 2011 with an article featuring joint organiser, Keith Hanselman who lost his older brother. He was accompanied by Susan Rein who wouldn’t have been around had not her grandmother leaped from one of the upper windows.

There are many people to thank for their support throughout. One of them being the Vicar of Huddersfield Rev Canon Simon Moor who was more than enthusiastic towards the project.

Simon was able to use his experience gathered in his previous post as Vicar of Silkstone Church where he led a similar service in remembrance of the victims of the 1838 Huskar coal pit disaster.

Our image of vicars are often ones in which we see them in their preaching role but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and Simon had been active in the months leading up to the ceremony.

On the day itself, he and curate, the Rev Marion Bolt, delivered a service wonderfully fitting of the occasion.

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Stephen Platten gave a marvellous address in which he recalled a moving account about the effects of the aftermath of Booth’s on a young curate who was incumbent at the time of the fire.

The Readings were taken by the Deputy Mayor of Kirklees Clr Martyn Bolt and District Commander of the Fire Service Keith Robinson. Keith, and some of his colleagues were there to represent the firemen who attended the devastating scene – some of whom never fully recovered from the trauma.

Listening intently in the pews was Keith Hanselman who made a point of sitting in the very seat where he mourned his brother at the 1941 funeral.

Margaret South whose grandfather George Thirkhill sacrificed his life to save others was seated only a few rows behind Florrie Walsh who, when speaking to Louise Cooper from the Examiner, attributed her own escape to his brave actions that tragic morning.

Inside the church the cameras rolled for the BBC and ITV, and also Kirklees Television who have made a documentary about the disaster which will be available on the internet by the end of the year. Their work will ensure that the story is never lost to future generations.

Besides all this, the most’ seemingly mundane tasks that day were equally important to the ceremony as a whole.

Whilst the service was in progress Kirklees Streetscene contractor Nigel Roberts finished his lunch then began the task of installing the commemoration plaque that had been funded by Tesco.

It was mounted and then veiled behind velvet curtains on the perimeter wall of the Huddersfield store’s goods entrance.

One can imagine that it was in a spot that was once a door or a window of the large clothing factory.

The congregation then walked from the church and regrouped at that very place on John William Street in the shadow of that towering’ derelict factory wall. Forlorn in its appearance, it’s the only remaining structure of the building that once stood there.

The crowd listened to a speech by the Deputy Mayor followed by the unveiling of the plaque.

Council Leader Mehboob Khan and MP Barry Sheerman also made impressive speeches to mark the occasion.

It had been poignant and memorable day and it’s the people who took part who deserve the credit. At the end of the ceremony they all slowly dispersed, taking with them their own thought and feelings.

Finally the afternoon sun began to wane on a corner of Huddersfield – and on a place symbolic of the sadness that was created there all those years ago.

A place that at least in the minds of Florrie, Emma and Gladys – will be forever Booth’s

Richard Heath


Voting continues

MY FAITH in local government workers has been restored.

Our postal voting papers arrived bang on time, allowing us to continue to vote in every election for the past 50 years. Well done to the team.

faith restored

Cemetery site struggles

THE ROAD at Castle Hill is now managed by traffic lights so work on the new cemetery can begin.

The men are struggling in the high winds, the flooded ground and the driving rain. The site is higher than the moors you can see going over to Manchester.

The cemetery site is no place to bury a child. How on earth will mourners manage?

R M Smith


Super and safe

HOW lucky we are in Shepley! We had a wonderful village bonfire and firework display organised at Shepley Cricket Club.

A huge bonfire, fantastic 30 minutes of fireworks, home-cooked, delicious refreshments – enjoyed by a large crowd of adults and children in perfect and well supervised safety.

Congratulations to Shepley Cricket Club members, you deserve to have had a profitable evening.

Thank you for providing a proper and safe bonfire party!

David Billington