Post letters: New school buildings, poverty, wifi, World Book Day, Remembrance and Challenge 50

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 February 2018

Pupils, staff and council officials celebrating the launch of Greatfields School. Picture: KEN MEARS

Pupils, staff and council officials celebrating the launch of Greatfields School. Picture: KEN MEARS


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

New buildings boost to school

Dr Leonard Restall, B Ed, M Ed (hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

The good progress made by Greatfields School, in the Gascoigne area, with new buildings, will be a great upturn for a school that is desirous of providing the very best teaching and learning environment.

This is in line with the aim of the school to provide access to a first class education and assist pupils to achieve their aspirations.

Farewell to the temporary facilities. Now it will be interesting to observe the results from teaching.

The positive attitude and philosophy of the school will enhance the aim to improve achievement and bring greater satisfaction to all concerned.

However, there are other factors that considerably affect learning beyond just having better buildings, such as good equipment and resources, good achievement motivation, and good teaching.

This improvement for the Greatfields School can be an example for other schools to emulate and add to the quality of education in the Barking and Dagenham district.

‘Disgrace’ many on the breadline

Unmesh Desai AM, City and East, writes:

It’s sad and frustrating to hear that around a third of children in our capital are growing up in poverty.

These statistics, published by the End Child Poverty Coalition, are yet another damming indictment of the government’s punitive agenda of cuts to welfare and its failure to address the cost of living crisis.

Worryingly, in Barking and Dagenham, figures show that 37.8 per cent of children are growing up beneath the breadline. It is a disgrace that families are unable to afford the basic provisions to feed or clothe their children. The government say that work is the best way route of poverty, yet in London, 58pc of those in poverty are from working families.

I support calls from the End Child Poverty Coalition for the government to end its policy of freezing children’s benefits until 2020 to alleviate the burgeoning costs of living in London.

With ever-increasing rents further stretching the budgets of families living in private rented accommodation, one of the clear solutions to helping children out of poverty is to build more council housing. We need the government to start acting now to eradicate inequalities leading to child poverty. The delivery of genuine council homes at social rent would be a good place to start.

Superfast wifi is the way forward

Syed Kamall, MEP for London, writes:

I am delighted to see that free wifi zones, covering larger areas, are becoming a reality in parts of London and the country.

In the latest development, The City of London has announced a deal which will see free, superfast wifi available to anyone within the square mile. This is great news but needs to happen in many more areas.

A modern 21st century economy relies on fast and reliable communication. Sadly, while the traditional mobile data system is good in some parts of London, it is still too patchy or too slow in many other important areas.

This new approach sees a web of tiny antennae, spread across an area, creating a whole zone of reliable coverage at super fast speeds. This solves the problem of buildings and other obstacles reducing the signal.

I had discussions a few years ago about encouraging enterprise zones across our city to offer the same. Business follows good infrastructure, not only on public transport in areas where people can access the internet whether they are in the cafe or the office.

If we want London to be at the forefront of the world’s leading cities then we would do well to roll out more, wider areas of WiFi coverage.

Get inspired by World Book Day

Alison Tweed, chief executive of Book Aid International, writes:

Every year at the beginning of March, school children across the UK mark World Book Day.

Many will dress up as a character from a favourite book or be part of special reading activity – and families and schools will once again generously give to charity.

World Book Day is a worldwide celebration, but in many countries, children go to school with just a few tattered textbooks.

At Book Aid International, we send around one million books a year to thousands of libraries and schools. Two thirds of these books are for children. They are read by millions of young readers in 20 countries.

We can only support children around the world because families and schools choose to support us on World Book Day and I would like to thank all those who will do so this year.

If you are a parent or teacher looking for inspiration, please visit It costs just £2 to send a book, so every penny you raise will make a difference.

Close shops for Remembrance

John Barstow, member, Usdaw Executive Council, writes:

Remembrance Sunday 2018 falls exactly on November 11 and exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent in the fields where the poppies grew.

Hence there is a prima facie case for retail closure for Remembrance Sunday 2018 to enhance the vital qualities of peace, dignity and decorum and to enable more working people to be able to attend the Remembrance Sunday events.

MPs and peers alike would win so many plaudits were they to rise above party divides and Brexit divides and come together to legislate for retail closure for Remembrance Sunday 2018.

Please support 50-50 challenge

Zillah Bingley, chief executive, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, writes:

I am a great fan of marking significant ages in a positive way, to celebrate being alive and, thankfully, healthy.

This year I am turning 50 and rather than throwing a big party I’ve decided to celebrate in a way that benefits others. So throughout 2018 I will be completing Challenge 50 - 50 different challenges on 50 different days to raise £10,000 for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, the most incredible charity that supports over 2,300 families with a seriously ill child in England.

Find out more at

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