Post letters: Monteagle School, CPZ, walk to school, ‘home alone’ children and diabetes

PUBLISHED: 12:30 21 April 2019

Autistic children who did not sit a test were included in Monteagle Primary School's data results. Photo: PAUL BENNETT

Autistic children who did not sit a test were included in Monteagle Primary School's data results. Photo: PAUL BENNETT


School statistics need to be valid

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

A misuse of educational data without a valid reason can leave a school in a state of despair.

But more important it can affect the students in Monteagle Primary School that may be included in the data.

This is an outcome that may affect the Monteagle Primary School.

Statistics need to be valid and be a true representation of what they are trying to show, such as the results from tests.

In the recent case reported on the Monteagle School, a number, 48, including a number of autistic students that did not sit the test were included in the data, invalidating the results.

This would make little sense of the results when comparing one school to another.

Even students requesting not to sit the tests were included in the data, thereby falsifying the data as far as results went.

A more critical effect of comparing schools from any misleading data was the effect it could have upon the students, particularly from a school that previously had been rated very high in performance.

It could have demoralising effect upon students and be unfair for the school when being compared with other schools.

To cast blame upon those who did not sit the tests as being the cause of the schools lower performance is most unfair.

It is important that tests together with the data gained from them is valid and reliable, thereby being able to be interpreted well.

This is hardly the case with the Monteagle School and needs to be urgently reviewed or abandoned.

For any of the students affected at Monteagle School, you are not to be blamed for the lowered performance of the school in the tests, but only in the number sitting the tests.

Motorists used as council's cash cow

Darren Ward, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

Before this shameless council wastes even more of our money expanding their money grasping Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) have they done their research into the legal aspects of the scheme?

In 2013 Barnet council lost a court case against one it's residents over this issue, basically councils cannot use money raised from CPZs for other uses, they can only charge enough to cover the setting up and administration of the scheme.

Using that premise, how can the council charge different rates depending on emissions?

I suggest they find a legal way to grab more money off of us poor residents.

Tackle pollution by walking to school

Tanya Braun, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets, writes:

One in four cars on our roads at peak times are on the school run. Change this and we'll improve our children's health.

The State of Global Air 2019 study (published April 3) shows that air pollution reduces life expectancy by 20 months on average worldwide and is a bigger killer than road incidents. For childr, air pollution is more harmful – stunting their lung development and causing lifelong implications.

To reduce the levels of toxic air caused by motor vehicles, we need to encourage and enable more families to walk to school.

Walk to School Week takes place next month and schools across the UK have plans to encourage families to walk more.

From behaviour change initiatives through to closing streets around the school; it's important that each school finds what works for them. We're proud to be helping over 3,000 schools UK-wide to take part this May.

It's a misconception that children are protected from air pollution inside the car.

But it is clear that the benefits of being physically active outweigh the air pollution risk and in walking to school, we become part of the clean air solution.

No law on 'home alone' children

Emma Motherwell, local campaigns manager, London and the South East NSPCC, writes:

Knowing when to leave a child at home on their own can be a difficult decision for parents, especially as there is no set age in law.

It simply says you shouldn't leave a child at home if they'll be at risk, and so parents are often left struggling to decide when is the right time to allow their own offspring to stay home alone.

There are lots of factors to consider – would they know who to call in an emergency? Will they have to look after a younger sibling?

Last year (2017/18), the NSPCC's helpline referred 7,277 children to authorities due to concerns about them being left to fend for themselves and so we would like to offer some advice to parents during the Easter Holidays.

To help parents decide if it's safe to leave their child on their own, the NSPCC has some advice on leaving a child home alone:

Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.

Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time.

Children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.

Parents and carers can be prosecuted for neglect if it is judged that they placed a child at risk by leaving them at home alone.

Further advice can be found on the NSPCC website –

Check if you are at risk of Diabetes

Roz Rosenblatt, head of London at Diabetes UK, writes:

Type 2 diabetes is serious and can lead to sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

Being overweight or obese is the single greatest risk factor for developing the condition. Age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone's risk, with people of African-Caribbean, black African, or South Asian descent two to four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than white people.

But many cases could be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, being more active, and losing weight if overweight.

The number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in Barking & Dagenham has increased from 12,727 to 12,934 since last year, 7.97 per cent of the population and above the London average of 6.51pc.

If you are aware of your risk of developing the condition, you can take steps to look after your health and prevent or delay its onset and its serious complications.

To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, go to

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