Post letters: Mayesbrook, breast screening, help for BAME families and charity shops at Christmas

School trips helped Mayesbrook Park's entry stand out from the rest. Here, youngsters enjoy a sailing trip in Portsmouth...

School trips helped Mayesbrook Park's entry stand out from the rest. Here, youngsters enjoy a sailing trip in Portsmouth with the Tall Ships Trust. Picture: Graham Blair - Credit: Archant

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

Mayesbrook is right to aim high

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

The highly aspirational Mayesbrook Park School is aiming for a glorious double, the school of the year, and the TES teacher of the year.

This is an incredibly high aim to go for with so many of the local schools also have experienced good results over the year. But their vision and methods used have given them success so far.

A school with such aims is very likely to get what they are aiming for because aims and goals set the motivation levels high enough to achieve what they are wanting.

It is noticed from the report that they are applying a very good principle in co-operating with parents of the pupils and also are a partnership with London Metropolitan University.

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But there is another major factor that must be helping them with their success and that is in helping students to overcome barriers to educational success.

Some of these barriers could be related to socio-economic factors and to cultural backgrounds, which considerably help with the cultural capital gained from their background.

Some educational experts would consider this is a major factor in both achievement and underachievement.

Cultural capital comes from the general level of interest within the home for schooling and achievement, artistic interests, and such things as the level of talk and communication within the home, and the quality of books read.

Many of these factors are dealt with in most schools and it appears that the overall level within this school is high enough to have them hoping to become the school of the year.

To add to their hopes is the fact that the teacher of the year is Hannah Whitfield, a PE teacher (similar to my profession in the RAF) that could be a reason for a high level of motivation generated for sports performance, which has transfer value to other subjects. Mens Sana in Corpora Sana, a healthy mind in a healthy body, is a good road to travel on.

Congratulations Hannah Whitfield and to other staff that have raised the level of aspiration to gain recognition.

Don’t ignore your breast screening

Unmesh Desai, Local London Assembly member, writes:

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, but we know that early detection is our strongest tool in significantly boosting the chances of recovery.

Whilst it is understandable that routine assessments had to be paused to allow the NHS to deal with the pandemic at its peak, it is vital that cancer screening capacity is now boosted to both get on top of the backlog and meet the level of demand.

It is a positive start to see reassurances from the NHS that 400,000 screening invitations have been sent out in recent months.

We now need to amplify the message that women should feel confident that they can safely attend these potentially life-saving appointments, amidst the pandemic.

Bolo help for BAME families

Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s London, writes:

The arrival of autumn has been a difficult time for children and families across London with the impact of Covid-19 once again affecting all of our lives with new social restrictions and increased uncertainty. At Barnardo’s we know that families in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus and in London more than a third of the families we support are from these communities.

Official statistics show black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. As a result, children in black and Asian communities are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future - yet many remain hidden from essential support services and have often been left to suffer in silence.

They urgently need support to deal with a complex and unique range of issues which is why Barnardo’s in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, and with the support of the Covid-19 Support Fund established by the insurance and long-term savings industry, has launched ‘Bolo’ - the UK’s first specialist helpline of its kind for black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families impacted by the pandemic.

Bolo is a word used in many languages, meaning ‘speak’ or to be invited to speak, and our new helpline can provide advice, signposting and support from trained specialist advisors and therapists – who are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds and able to speak a range of languages including Punjabi, Urdu, Mirpuri and Hindi.

Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people.

Black, Asian and other minority ethnic families can call our Bolo helpline for specialist support on 0800 151 2605 or visit to access the live webchat and resources.

In these uniquely challenging times, we are also working in partnership with government, business and other charities through our wider See, Hear, Respond service to support those who need us most. Children, young people, parents and carers can call the support line on 08001 577015 to request help.

Use charity shops this Christmas

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director, British Heart Foundation, writes:

If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas a bit differently this year, our Charity Shop Challenge will help you think outside the box when it comes to your festive shopping. Our high street shops and eBay and Depop stores are packed with countless unique treasures waiting to be discovered, making your gifts all the more meaningful this year. There are also plenty of good quality furniture and homewares on offer too.

Every pound raised in our shops and online stores help us support the 670,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases across the East of England, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19. Now more than ever, we urgently need your support this Christmas so we can continue funding life saving breakthroughs.

The BHF’s shops and stores are now back up and running, with measures in place to keep staff, volunteers and customers safe.

Head to your nearest store or browse the BHF eBay shop for unique and affordable gifts. You can also share your finds on social media using the hashtag #BoughtAtBHF.