'Our children deserve better'

SIR -I have been a Governor of Riversides Senior School (Worcester News 15th July) since 2005.

We were given the City Youth House by Worcestershire County Council in 2012.

The headteacher and I stated immediately that the building was unsuitable and unsuitably located.

We were offered three even more unsuitable alternatives, obliging us to accept the first offer as a short term solution, the Council already having plans to dispose of the building.

Shortly after the building became available in 2013 the County Council put pressure on Riversides to convert into an academy and it joined the Multi Academy Trust in 2013.

Having given us an unsuitable stop-gap building, the County Council say they now have no responsibility to help us find new premises. I disagree.

Academies know that the County Councils are not obliged to provide premises, and we have applied to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

However, the County Council has a moral responsibility and there is reason to help us.

Also, it is responsible for placing the pupils we admit, and the only alternative placements are costlier private ones.

The Riversides students have social, emotional and mental health needs, and they need surroundings in which they can aspire and thrive.

I suspect there is no other secondary school child in this County housed in a building like ours, and our children deserve better.

Cllr Hart offers a stock response about the council’s ‘ambition to see more children and young people achieving their potential’.

Thanks to our hardworking, dedicated staff our children do achieve, but this is despite their surroundings.

Sue Askin

Chair of Governors, Riversides School

'Don’t pull up drawbridge'

SIR - It’s always instructive to read a diatribe from N. Taylor, and his latest (Letters, 18.7.’17) was no exception.

Goodness, has he got it in for “geniuses”!   Well, I am not one, so I might just be in the clear (although I won’t hold my breath).

However, I can, I hope, take a wide enough view to know that Mr. Taylor’s conflation of housing shortage in Worcester, or even in the UK as a whole, with the global dimension is unhelpful.

I empathise very much, and always have done, with his statement of frightening facts about global warming (polar ice caps, Greenland, raised levels of sea and Co2, starvation, plastics pollution and the rest), but he is absolutely wrong to suggest that these problems are capable of solution in a Worcester or a UK with drawbridge raised, beating off all-comers, imagined or otherwise.

The two main - and very real - threats to the survival of our species on this tiny “blue speck” of a planet of ours, climate change and population growth, can only be tackled on a a global basis.

The fact that “one in eight of those now living here were [sic] born abroad” has absolutely sweet nothing to do with either definition of the problem or its solution.

In reality, what will “prematurely end our children’s lives” is the terrifying isolationism and nationalism now rampant in the world, whether it be Trump’s “America First”, Brexiteers’ “taking back (parochial) control”, North Korea’s missiles or N. Taylor’s stop-the-world-we-ought-to-get-off posturing.

The human race will survive only by coming together around the world and agreeing, globally, on how to respond positively and successfully to our two main threats.

This is not easy, and, for sure, further atomisation, of a “them and us” nature, must only hasten the very catastrophes of which Mr.Taylor warns.

If only a part of this analysis is correct, then the present state of things can only be described as deeply depressing.

David Barlow


'Do right by football club'

SIR -I totally agree with the reader who described the city council’s behaviour as ‘shameful faffing’ re locating the city’s football club at Perdiswell.

Considering the size and status of a city such as Worcester, the council’s treatment of its football club is a disgrace.   The green space they purport to be so concerned about was little used by local residents except to leave dog mess.

The football club will use only a small part of this green space and will be a genuine community facility, fitting perfectly with the new leisure centre to provide a sport and activity hub for the city – something of which the council should be proud.  In its previous location the football club encouraged local participation with its youth development teams and welcomed families and local residents for community activities such bonfire night fireworks.

In a new, updated Perdiswell location there will be scope for even more community involvement, while still leaving a significant amount of accessible green space.

There are no genuine grounds for the council’s objection to the plan.  They should stop looking for excuses and do the right thing for the city and its football club.

Theresa Challoner