Post letters: Barking Abbey School, Islamophobia, delivery drivers, police plan and food for vulnerable

Maria Ahsen's flag flies in Antarctica. Picture: Barking Abbey School

Maria Ahsen's flag flies in Antarctica. Picture: Barking Abbey School - Credit: Archant

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

Be proud of Antarctica banners

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

The joy shown by the two students that had their banners flown in Antarctica was justification for their hard work done during their geography lessons at Barking Abbey School (Post).

It was a reward offered by their teacher Isobel Japer to Maria Ahsen and Esther Alatishe as an incentive to continue their hard work at geography and not just a reward to get them to work hard.

It is a natural thing to respond to reward incentives but many things could be considered a reward for hard work from doing routine tasks that may not be recognised always by a student such as an important qualification that will be a lead in to something more important for them. The teacher, Isobel Jasper, is complimented for using an effective learning tool to get a very good result. In this case, it was not one of bribing the students to work hard for they were already doing that, but a reward for the hard work being done.

The report in the Post gave added interest to this writer for he lives near Christchurch, NZ, where the banners were obtained for Maria and Esther, and he was used in teaching Antarctic survival to our aircrews that were on the first mission to Antarctica in 1956. There is much activity going on down in Antarctica so those banners will be viewed and not wasted.

An incentive is a reward offered but a reward given is the result of the incentive being accepted a task is well done. Both of these apply to Maria and Esther – Well done!

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Islamophobia must be tackled

Mirza Aftab Baig, Dagenham, full address supplied, writes:

A recent report has found there to be a worrying issue of Islamophobia in the Labour party.

Over one in four Muslim members and supporters have experienced Islamophobia within the ranks of Labour party. 55 per cent did not trust the party to tackle anti-Muslim sentiment.

Whilst Labour leader Keir Starmer has vowed to take a zero-tolerance position with Islamophobia. He has pathetically stayed mute on the findings of the report.

Even when Islington’s mayor resigned from the Labour party citing Islamophobia from the party, Keir denied there being a problem.

If Keir wants to show he has learned a lesson over antisemitism, then the lessons need to extend beyond just the Jewish community.

How does he explain making the same mistake over Islamophobia and Muslims? Keir needs to pull his head out the sand and take a zero stance over Islamophobia.

Delivery riders must drive safely

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

With London boroughs currently in their second coronavirus lockdown and all non-essential shops and entertainment venues closed to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and burden on the countries healthcare system.

The one area of business that has been allowed to continue and has rapidly increased month-on-month has been the restaurant/takeaway delivery services sector. While this has been beneficial in keeping many restaurants afloat, people fed and employed, the downside has been a significant lowering in the borough’s road safety.

It has not gone unnoticed by me and many others, I suspect, of the lack of following of highway regulations and laws by takeaway couriers both on scooter and bicycle, particularly on the extremely busy thoroughfare of Ilford Lane joining Barking and Ilford.

For the sake of making timely food delivery or collection I’ve observed first hand dangerous weaving in and out of traffic, passing through red lights as non-existent and riding up onto pavements. However, the most dangerous has been riding on the wrong side of the road for extended periods of time without a care in the world and causing oncoming vehicles including myself the need to take avoidance action. With the days now shorter and colder with future potential of ice on the roads, the dangers of accidents can be amplified. I would urge both Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge councils alongside the police to review and monitor this before an unnecessary and easily avoidable accident does not lead to injury or fatality of a pedestrian or road-user.

Policing plan set to be monitored

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member, City and East London, writes:

The mayor and the London Assembly is committed to tackling all forms of crime, and as Londoners, we all must play our part in this. Underpinning this is the fact that the police must have the trust and confidence of the communities they serve to protect.

A continuing key concern revolves around the disproportionate use of policing powers against BAME Londoners. Increasingly, where some powers have been used, it has been found that no crime had been committed. Stop and search is an important tool in the fight against violent crime, but it needs to be carried out properly and appropriately if it’s to be effective.

Our police officers work extremely hard and put themselves in the face of danger every day to keep Londoners safe. Sometimes police do things wrongly and need to be held to account when this happens.

It has been encouraging to see the mayor recently publish an Action Plan which seeks to comprehensively address these issues.

Central to the Plan is a new target to ensure 40 per cent of new recruits to the force are from BAME backgrounds by 2022, backed by increased investment in officer training. Communities across London will also be given a more significant role in working alongside the Met in examining the use of police powers and tactics.

Over the coming months, I will continue to monitor the Metropolitan Police’s progress on implementing this plan.

Food hamper for families in need

James Burton, Feed London Miracles Project director, writes:

I wanted to let you know about an amazing project being launched in December by the children’s charity, Miracles. The project is called Feed London and aims to support hundreds of vulnerable families predicted to go without a meal on Christmas Day.

We will provide a nutritious and healthy Feed London Christmas Hamper to families in London which will include all the ingredients needed for a sumptuous Christmas dinner, plus healthy recipes ideas, a box of Christmas crackers, supermarket voucher and some wonderful treats for the children.

For more information about Feed London – how to donate or get involved please contact me, James Burton, on 07545174243 or email

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