Reporter 414, 9 February 1998


Letters

Save our school

J. Blakeborough
Parent governor and employee of Blenheim Primary School and University cleaner

Thank you for printing the small article on Blenheim Primary School. It is a multi-cultural school with 26 different nationalities and 22 different languages which must make it quite unique. The school has expertise gained over 27 years of teaching and caring for ‘university children’, some with no English and others who are short stay.

There are excellent teaching staff, little if any racism, a very good OFSTED report, SAT and league table results, an excellent sports field – much needed if you are in a high rise flat or student flat with no garden and an excellent mixture of different cultures.

Blenheim Primary is a viable, value for money successful community school. Leeds LEA wants to propose an amalgamation with Little London primary school. If Blenheim goes, the ‘university children’ will lose 27 years of experience in caring, mixing and teaching.

Robing the world

Helen Thomas
Alumni Office

Many of our graduates throughout the world are required to regularly wear academic dress in the course of their work. For alumni in developing countries the cost of a set of robes is prohibitive and often equivalent to a year’s salary. Following an appeal in the autumn issue of the University magazine, the Review, many alumni kindly donated robes, each of which came with their own story and set of memories of the University in bygone times. One gown was made from blackout material as a result of war-time clothing shortages. A common thread was the wish of graduates to help other graduates. One retired teacher wrote: ‘I sacrificed a week’s salary for their purchase and I am pleased to think they may go to someone unable to afford their cost.’

The donated robes are being sent to alumni who are delighted to be able to wear the robes of their University. An MA graduate in Linguistics and English Language teaching, now Principal of a teacher training college, wrote: ‘I am honoured to be able to appear as a proud Leeds graduate.’ A limited supply of robes are still available. If you know of a former student in need of a set of robes please let us know.

New year – new fees

Ruth Wilkin
Communications Officer
Leeds University Union

As we begin 1998 we can look back on an interesting year for higher education. The Dearing report and the government’s tuition fees proposals have certainly given us at the students’ union a lot to campaign about. Last term’s demonstrations, lecture walk-outs, letter-writing and lobbying of MPs showed us the huge amount of support there is within the student community, academic staff and the general public.

Nevertheless, many are thinking that the introduction of tuition fees is inevitable. The Union will continue as ever to campaign vigorously. There is to be a national shutdown this term to be organised with the NUS and trade unions and we hope for support from the University staff. We are also sending coaches of students to London for a national lobby of Parliament. We still believe that there is much to be done in raising awareness of the problems that students and universities will face with tuition fees.

We would like to thank all staff who have supported us in our campaigns and we hope for your continued support throughout 1998.

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