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College is fantastic

AS SWINDON UTC says goodbye to the Ofsted inspectors, and some Swindon county councillors wait to tear the report to pieces and condemn the school, I just want to say what a wonderful place this is.

I moved my son from an Ofsted-inspected school outside of Swindon that has had both Outstanding and Good reports.

It was with some trepidation that I did this as my son is severely dyslexic and the previous school had been brilliant at providing him with extra English lessons.

Mine and his decision, along with his interest in engineering, was based on the fact that although he was in the top set for science, because of his English he would not have been allowed to take all three GCSE sciences. He would have had to drop one in order to continue having the extra English.

He may never get his English due to his dyslexia but he wanted the opportunity to get his three sciences. So we took the plunge.

I have to say that it was the best decision we’ve made. My son didn’t like school before, but now he loves it and misses it during the holidays.

He is inspired by his teachers, eager to learn and doesn’t even complain about learning until 5pm. There is no homework (although there is revision!) as it is done at school which has made home life less stressful.

The school staff want the best for the pupils and this is so evident in their open days, fantastic career evenings and parents evenings.

They have dealt with any concerns that either my son or I have had swiftly and efficiently. Bad behaviour is dealt with swiftly but the pupils are treated fairly.

We consider ourselves very lucky as we are out of the catchment area but due to the small numbers, as it’s a new school, we got a place.

Yes it has had some bad press due to teething problems, but it is passionate about learning and engineering.

This is why some pupils have been excluded, they are not interested in learning about engineering and the subjects do not hold their interest.

Swindon, you should be so very proud of your new school, and councillors and politicians - kids don’t fit into boxes. They are individual, some terrible at English and maths, who may never get their GCSE grade C, even with all the help in the world.

But they can be fantastic at engines, technology and science and we don’t embrace this. But that’s another debate for another day.




Libraries are essential

WILL we ever beat the evils of isolation, illiteracy, inequality and ignorance?

Not if we neglect to defend the town’s library service which was established to combat such horrors.

Swindon seems to emulate the example of other authorities that have been noticed by the Minister (Adver 27/01) but whose library services, nevertheless, continue to suffer a relentless demolition.

This begs the question as to whether his visit will do no more than postpone a little the day when public libraries, accessible to everyone, are for us no more than a memory.

It may still not be too late to challenge the defeatism, philistinism or political jiggery pokery that typify every assault on public library provision.

In Swindon, our local councillors and MPs will be praised by future generations if they reject proposals destined to deliver a postcode lottery of service and insist on something better.

Alternatively, I have absolutely no doubt that they’ll be pilloried forever, even by members of their own party, if they don’t.


Arundel Close, Lawn, Swindon


Fine these patients

I HAVE been at Kingswood Surgery, in Park North, for nearly 35 years and it is excellent, they can’t do enough for you.

It has been the policy of this practice for a long time to have a “duty” doctor for both the morning and the afternoon session. This means that if you really need the attention of a doctor you can usually be seen that day.

And at busy times the receptionists ask you to go and see a doctor in Old Town by the old Locarno building.

I believe other practices around Swindon also ask patients to attend this Old Town doctors’ practice - they also give you fantastic treatment in Old Town.

This shows our doctors are stretched to the limit. I noticed while at Kingswood Surgery the information board stated that in the previous month 237 booked appointments had not been kept by patients.

This is unacceptable and burdens a National Health Service stretched to breaking point still further

I think all surgeries should adopt a policy that if you book an appointment and miss it you should be fined £5 and have to pay it before you can book another appointment.

The second time you do it the fine should be £10 and so on, and if it happens four times in two years the offender should be struck off the practice’s books and forced to attend Carfax Street if they need attention.

The money collected in fines should be put back into the health service. Perhaps then offenders will think twice before not keeping an appointment.


Woodstock Road,

Coleview, Swindon


We’re not rational

WE ARE told that we’re rational creatures. We value reason. We think well before we act. Reason is universal.

That has been the belief of the last 200 to 300 years. We’re beginning to understand that reason is local. Reason does not exist in the real world. At least, most people do not act reasonably.

Psychoanalysts and marketers have understood most people are moved by emotions because we’re emotional creatures, not reasonable. Their advertising, from corporate products to election campaigns to war drums are all based on emotion.

If reason was real, there would have been no Iraq war there would be no homeless people in our town, no poverty and no cruelty.

Emotions are either positive or negative. The marketers who sell us their products or war, use fear.

For example, if your teeth aren’t white enough you ain’t sexy; buy our whitening product. If you don’t buy our designer clothes, you won’t be cool. If you do not support the war, you won’t be safe, and so on.

Therefore, it’s time people understood reason is an illusory noun. If it was real, people would get along and help each other, rather than be cruel to the defenceless.

Reality tells us people are emotional creatures.


Ermin Street,



Time to move on

After watching the BBC’s The Big Question about slavery hundreds of years ago, the question was asked, ‘Should today’s generation make amends for slavery?’

As with many other topics, why can’t we move on as, we can do nothing about it?

We were not the only country that became involved with slavery and not the only country that had issues about crimes against humanity. Can we get an apology for some of our ancestors who were captured by cannibals? , and then ‘Boiled in the Pot’ after being ‘Marinated in a concoction of Coconut and Banana Leaves’ and then poked with a sharp stick to test cooking time?Of course we can’t. Concentrate on today’s issues that we can do something about. There remain lots of unanswered questions about many things, Northern Ireland, Hillsborough etc, and many innocents accused, many guilty going free, also many questions not being asked.

People do want answers but for heavens sake move on.


Proud Close, Purton


Town’s image hurt

I’VE just been reading about the meeting where business people were asked to promote Swindon. I wonder if they had a gents toilet at the venue?

The brighter image for Swindon has been switched off at the bus station because people arriving there looking for a gents toilet and finding it closed will say, ‘what a dump.’

I would suggest to the council that they treat this situation as very urgent. It may help with Swindon’s image but not a lot. They have got a long way to go to improve that.


Northern Road, Swindon