Post letters: Riverside Bridge School, 5G, online education and coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 17:29 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 07 April 2020

Pupils from Riverside Bridge School at last year's Jack Petchey Awards.

Pupils from Riverside Bridge School at last year's Jack Petchey Awards.

Jack Petchey Foundation

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

New attitudes brings great rewards

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

A reoccurring theme found within the schools in the Barking and Dagenham district is the improvements that have been gained since this writer has been contributing to this paper, as shown by Ofsted reports.

This is not an easy thing to achieve, for the standards of Ofsted are very high and there is little room for deviating from them.

The recent report given for the Riverside Bridge School, upgrading them from Inadequate to Good in all four assessment areas, is an outstanding change to be made.

Teaching is not always an easy task at any stage, often dealing with reluctant learners or those that see a little prospect in themselves of ever achieving much.

But in spite of this, and from a poor report, the turnaround has been remarkable and brings credit on the school, students, teachers and parents.

From the report, it appears that a marked change in attitude has been made within the policy of the school, emphasising two prime areas for improvement: safeguarding of pupils and property, and behaviour.

It appears that a different approach will be within the changes made: they are to be kind, gentle and respectful – qualities destined to bring good results.

With these two areas being concentrated on, the change of attitude has brought about the change in achievement for the school.

This can be likened to the saying (and proven) that a “change of attitude will give a change of direction”.

But it is more easily said than done and has required much diligence and hard work by the staff of Riverside Bridge School to gain such success, together with the co-operation of students and parents.

These Good reports by Ofsted indicate that Barking and Dagenham schools are performing well and students gaining good success from their education.

The community can be proud of what is happening within your schools and continue to give them your full support.

Why are these 5G masts going up during lockdown?

Lynn Manning, Dagenham (full address supplied), writes:

I’d like to report the erection of 5G pylons to Barking and Dagenham. I can’t imagine their installation is an “essential service”.

Since the schools closed, several have been erected along Green Lane (could be other parts of the borough too) during the night.

One has been placed as close as possible to Henry Green School and one outside the new builds near the swimming pool.

Why are they being planted with gay abandon - especially since so many other businesses have been forced to close?

Could those other businesses open during the night to avoid prosecution?

Heed the lessons: avoid high-density housing

Paul Scott, Arundel Gardens, Ilford, writes:

They should halt major building works until the coronavirus crisis is over – for public health reasons.

There also ought to be a change in the amount of high-density housing being built, for public health reasons.

After all, this virus seems to be affecting Greater London at a higher rate than other parts of the country.

Greater London also has the highest residential density in the UK.

The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, which has a massive amount of tower blocks and therefore a high population density too. We should use public health as an objective in present and future campaigns against such schemes.

There are other social and economic impacts of building so many locally-unaffordable flats that often result in a great number of local residents being forced to move elsewhere.

Therefore, in effect, those areas end up with having extra housing demands, which usually means more open land being built upon there as well.

This coronavirus pandemic ought to make planners, whether private or public, and all councils more fully aware about the overall impact of constructing this amount of residential development in fairly confined spaces.

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United Kingdom will, frankly, never be the same again

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, writes:

I’m delighted that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have been selected as the new leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.

This is an unprecedented time and our country faces extraordinary challenges.

We are fighting with all we have to slow the spread of this virus, but it’s already clear that we will be dealing with social and economic consequences of Covid-19 for many years to come. The United Kingdom will, frankly, never be the same again.

That just makes it all the more vital that Labour does its job by effectively holding the government to account - and by making the changes clearly necessary to put ourselves back on the path to forming a Labour government again.

Keir and Angela are best suited to the scale of this challenge and I look forward to working closely with them and their new team to make it happen.

At this tough time, support parents and help children

Steve O’Hara, director of education, Exemplar Education, writes:

As schools are now in lockdown, I am pleased to say that Exemplar Education is making its entire maths library of over 2,000 online maths lessons (for Year 1 to GCSE) available to all UK children free of charge.

The website is

With millions of parents now thinking about how to ensure continuity of learning, is it not time more businesses in the education community stepped up to support the nation’s families and children?

As schools grind to a halt for all but the children of key workers, the parents doing their very best at home need resources to hand.

I encourage others in the education community to open up access to their home-based solutions and join us in supporting parents and families everywhere.

Safeguarding the vulnerable from covid-19 cons

Angela Rippon CBE, ambassador, Alzheimer’s Society, writes:

As the world faces the unprecedented challenge presented by the Covid-19 virus pandemic, people living with dementia face the greatest threat.

Government advice says that men and women in the UK with chronic neurological conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus and are asked to stay at home for an extensive period. For the 850,000 people living with dementia, their loved ones and their carers, the situation is causing panic, stress and anxiety.

To add to the stress, fraudsters are exploiting the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus to help commit various types of fraud and cyber crime.

For some people, Covid-19 may increase their susceptibility to the risk of financial abuse due to being home alone, answering telephones, being on the internet more than usual and potentially trusting others with their cash to buy supplies.

We are calling on people affected by dementia in the UK – whether you’re living with dementia, supporting or caring for someone living with the condition – to follow and share Alzheimer’s Society’s top tips on avoiding scams.

This could have a huge impact in helping protect people affected by dementia from falling victim to scams during this period.

Current corona-themed scams include: fraudulent sellers claiming to sell protective face masks that haven’t arrived, paying for tests which do not exist, emails that appear to be from a legitimate company or government department attempting to trick you into clicking on a malicious link and providing sensitive information, and door-knockers using coronavirus as a guise to gain entry to homes and steal money.

Some older people living with dementia may not be familiar with handling emails and surfing the internet, meaning they can be easy targets for scammers. To avoid scams online:

• Check you’re buying from a real company. You can search for a company’s details on Gov.UK. This will tell you if they’re a registered company or not.

• Check to see what people have said about the company. It’s worth looking for reviews on different websites, such as Which? – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website.

• If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

• If you get an email from a company with a strange email address or one that has never emailed you before, asking you for money/payment unexpectedly, don’t click on links to download anything. Doing this could infect your computer with a virus. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date to give you more protection.

• There is also plenty of Covid-19 information available online from reputable sources, including Alzheimer’s Society, Gov.UK, and the WHO.

With people affected by dementia now being isolated in their own homes, they may be more likely to answer their door bell and interact with door to door scammers. To avoid falling victim of a face to face scam:

• Don’t feel pressured to accept help from a stranger. Never hand over money, bank details or bank cards to someone you don’t know who is offering to help you. Offers of help for most things should be free of charge, for example dog walking or fetching medication.

• If someone offers to do your shopping, ask for a receipt so that you can pay them on their return to cover the cost of the items.

• If someone claims to be from a recognised organisation, don’t be afraid to ask to see proof (eg ID card) or check with the organisation itself.

• If possible, call a friend or family member to discuss the help you’ve been offered.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Alzheimer’s Society is providing advice and practical tips for people living with dementia and those supporting them – either in the same household or from a distance. Anyone affected by dementia can call their support line on 0333 150 3456.

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