Post letters: School exams, bus changes, supporting armed forces, ME and grow a beard in December

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 November 2018

Exam results are under scrutiny following changes to grading. Picture: PA IMAGES

Exam results are under scrutiny following changes to grading. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Wire/PA Images

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

Grade changes impacting results

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

The fact that 40 per cent or two out of every five students will need to resit the English and maths exams to gain a pass for these two very important areas of learning shows some weaknesses within the system. It appears from the results that girls with 63pc were more successful than boys with 57pc gaining a pass or higher.

Recent changes in the set-up and administration of the exams regarding scales used may take some time to get used to and may cause some confusion in comparing previous years results with the present ones. The new scales are based upon 1 - 9 rating with four being a pass and five a strong pass. Girls had gained 63pc of four and above, whereas boys were 57pc. These results show there are still too many students failing to get even a pass at a very reputable school exam.

The GCSE results for Barking and Dagenham schools are worse than other students in the London area and below the national average, although there are encouraging signs for 90pc of local schools were rated as “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted. The Riverside school was rated as the best in the local area and are commended.

Specific causes of underachievement, or failing to get what was planned for or expected, needs to be examined and adjustments made to improve future results.

Have your say on bus changes

Syed Kamall, MEP for London, writes:

Transport for London (TfL) is conducting an important consultation on the future of our bus services in London - but time is running out for your readers if they wish to take part.

TfL is considering changing 34 routes across central London in order to create a more efficient, modern, simple network with buses in the right places at the right times.

This will involve changing and shortening routes and altering frequencies. The planners also propose to axe three routes and create one new one within the city centre.

For many bus passengers this could mean a big impact on their lives.

I would encourage all bus passengers to make sure they know what the changes mean for them - and to let TfL know what they think.

You can check the details and comment at up until November 9.

Supporting our armed forces

Antony Cotton, SSAFA ambassador and Coronation Street actor, writes:

As an Ambassador for SSAFA, the armed forces charity, I am proudly supporting its Missed Moments campaign.

The campaign aims to highlight the unique challenges faced by military families in Essex and the impact that serving has on the whole family.

The results show that there is another level to the sacrifices they make for our nation – sacrifices which aren’t always known or understood by the wider population.

SSAFA recently surveyed armed forces families, both past and present and found that 56 per cent have been apart for once-in-a-lifetime events, like the birth of a child or the funeral of a loved-one, due to service or deployment.

Furthermore, these sacrifices are little-understood by the wider population as the survey revealed that 81pc of the public were unaware that military deployment can be up to 10 months.

SSAFA provides lifelong support to the whole armed forces community, understanding the complex nature of military service and the effect it can have on the wider family. The charity seeks to support the whole family, from help with school runs and hospital appointments to providing support in time of financial or emotional need. Most of my close friends are in the armed forces and I always seem to have someone away from home, whether that’s in places like Iraq or Afghanistan or closer to home helping with the flood relief. It is extremely difficult, but just part and parcel of life behind the wire.

Thankfully with modern military technology, we can at least keep in touch for most of the time.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for families in the past, who had no contact for months on end and for those lads and lasses deployed away from home, and away from their families, friends and loved ones.

To find out how you can support SSAFA and the Armed Forces family, please visit

Support for those affected by ME

Sonya Chowdhury, chief executive, Action for ME, writes:

The loneliness of living with a chronic, hidden illness is something readers living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) are likely to know all too well.

Offering the chance to meet others with ME, and to hear about our services and support that could help, UK charity Action for ME’s upcoming conference and AGM is free and open to all.

Delegates can learn about the latest biomedical research we’re funding, and hear from the Countess of Mar about her inspiring campaigning for improved services and better treatment. This event takes place on Wednesday, November 28, 9.30am to 4.30pm, at Allen & Overy, One Bishops Square, London E1 6AD. I warmly invite any reader affected by ME to book their free place now at or by calling Action for ME on 0117 927 9551.

Join Decembeard charity campaign

Jim Rosenthal, sports broadcaster, writes:

I’m calling on dads, brothers, sons, nephews, grandads and uncles to grow a beard this December and raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.

Taking part in Decembeard is simple. All you need to do is clean shave on November 30 and let your facial fuzz grow throughout the month. Already bearded? No problem. Dye, ditch or decorate your beard and join the campaign.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Grow a beard this December and raise funds to support vital services and lifesaving research. Sign up at

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