Your Letters - 24/01/14

education tables

Every school has its own problems

The report in the ‘Sunday Journal’ - ‘St. Brigid’s tops free school meals table’ - made depressing reading: free meals are recognised as a sign of deprivation. The report also mentions the high number of ‘special needs’ pupils in the school.

‘Special needs’ is a wide-ranging term which unfortunately many people associate with indiscipline.

The article could give the impression that this is a sink school. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Every school has its problems - even our top grammar schools - but because of the continuing failure of the Department of Education to introduce a fair secondary education system, some schools often have more problems than others.

St. Brigid’s College has had outstanding success in sport, drama and music and many of the pupils have achieved academic results of which they can be proud. The vast majority of the pupils are a credit to themselves and their families.

The school is led by a highly qualified principal who has a proven track record as a teacher, as an inspector and as head teacher in his previous school. Under his direction the school will be able to build on past successes, facing the challenges presented by a wasteful, unjust educational system and giving the ‘Journal’ many opportunities for positive reporting.

‘Justice for all’

(Name and address supplied)

sports complex

Open letter to City Council on a vital facility

The consultation phase on refurbishment of the Sports Complex is an important process to facilitate a lasting legacy to enhance the lives of many citizens in our city.

The extent of the investment in the re-development will dictate what proportion of our population will have a stake in the sports facility.

We wish to highlight the potential benefits of insisting on a centre of excellence so that every citizen in our city can share in the ownership of a flagship sports centre.

The obvious health benefits of sport participation include prevention of conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and lower blood pressure, both risk factors for stroke and coronary heart disease.

Recent evidence has shown that physical activity preserves brain integrity when measured with sophisticated scanning techniques.

Our city has applauded athletes who have competed at the highest standards. Proudly we have been celebrating our Olympians at the Derry & District Sports Awards.

To reach the pinnacle of their sporting endeavour, some of our sportsmen and women have had to travel elsewhere for better facilities.

The benefits of enhanced sports facilities will bring increased participation in local, regional and national sports. Provision of high-class competition facilities will also attract major competitions to our city.

Finally, and perhaps the overwhelming reason to make the sports complex a sports centre of excellence is to improve the whole of society.

In their book ‘The Spirit Level – why equality is better for everyone’, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett demonstrate the need to promote equality to achieve a raft of objectives - enhance trust, reduce drug and alcohol addiction, increase life expectancy, decrease obesity, improve children’s educational performance, decrease teenage births, reduce homicides, decrease imprisonment rates and improve social mobility.

Investing in the sports complex to provide state-of-the-art facilities - such as a 50 metre swimming pool, a diving pool, an aquapark and an athletics track etc - can be an investment in a generation to come.

All of our society deserves the best facilities.

Derry City Council, please do not let us down.

Mark McCarron

Angela Loftus