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Post letters: Dagenham East station, confusing Covid, education and toilets in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 June 2020

Dagenham East station

Dagenham East station

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

Where is our new train station

D Ainsworth, Barnstaple Road, Romford, writes:

Well over two years ago Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, appeared on a local radio station.

During this ‘live’ interview he announced that Dagenham East station would become a stop on the c2c Fenchurch Street line.

Needless to say, the benefits of this addition to our local rail network were explained. Since then nothing’s happened!

On subsequent shows he’s being asked about this public promise, even earlier this year, and still he pledges this will happen as previously stated.

Looking at Dagenham East station’s two empty c2c platforms (where trains aren’t stopping) one sees an eyesore and no sign of preparatory work for any addition to this rail company’s services.

Surely this can’t be another proverbial politician’s promise? Come on c2c, get moving and don’t leave this project in the sidings.

Covid instructions are confusing

Lynn Manning, Dagenham, writes:

I agree with Susan Altouaziz that there is no proof it will be safe for children to return to school.

There has been so much confusion daily about what we can do. Stay in or you’ll die/go out or the economy will collapse.

My grandson’s teacher has regularly contacted his mum and provided home work.

Recently the head called to ask his mum’s opinion about him returning and she said she wasn’t satisfied that neither her son or the teachers would be safe.

More recently she was told, if she decided to send her son, he would have to go every day and his teacher would only be in for a certain number of days.

When she spoke to his teacher she was not aware of this. So there is obviously no exact directive for teachers. I can imagine that the head is getting instructions that change with the wind.

If there is distancing how can all the children go back as normal? What concerns me is that schools are basically private businesses and the buck stops with the head. If anything dreadful happens is he liable for prosecution if the hygiene is not carried out properly?

I think the cleaning and distancing should be the responsibility of government with real experts dealing with details and covering the costs.

When somebody takes the ultimate responsibility for safety is when the schools should open. At the moment we are ordered to do things and yet it’s left to our discretion?

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Help children catch up on work

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

Leading educational experts within the local councils have suggested that a booster type of program be started for poor pupils to make up for some of the schooling missed during the lockdown period.

It has been argued that the closure of schools during this period would have an unfair impact on children from certain ethnic and racial groups.

This program would be aimed particularly for disadvantaged children from black, Asian, and minority groups that have a history of lack of achievement and falling well behind other students.

This argument can be challenged because a lack of schooling can affect all students, but the student that has gained much will still have much that has already been gained, without any more knowledge added to it, but the student that has little to start with is still going to be behind others and so a booster problem could be very profitable for them.

The educational problems facing pupils during this period of lockdown where schools are closed affects all pupils and does not have an ethnic or racial preference.

It may have a greater affect upon pupils that are behind in achievement at this stage of lockdown and it may not be best to assume that this will only affect black or coloured pupils. Similar programs like this have been used in the USA, not without criticism.

Any special programme needs to be applied to all pupils to prevent racial preference being shown because of past underachievement and be seen as a form of compensatory benevolence for ethnic and racial groups that may come from low socioeconomic groups.

Schooling becomes a great leveler for all groups irrespective of class colour or creed and within the educational climate, all groups should be equally well-considered.

It seems that this proposed booster scheme could help many those that are very low in achievement, but it will be necessary to determine accurately the cause of their underachievement, which may not all be due to lockdown.

There may be many programs in operation already that can remedy lack of achievement or underachievement, but if not so, then a ‘booster’ program is necessary.

This writer has majored in the study of underachievement and developed strategies to overcome the problem and has found within the normal educational curriculums there is sufficient activity provided to improve all students albeit at different rates but it will depend on the application of the program. ‘Benevolence is no substitute for justice’.

We need places to spend a penny

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member writes:

With more cafes and bars tentatively reopening and serving customers outdoors, the issue of where to spend a penny after buying a pint has caused upset in neighbourhoods across London, as punters use public spaces to pee.

Given the situation we are now living in, where the normal loos people would use are still shut, we are all finding ourselves constrained by ‘loo leashes’ which are so much more restrictive for people with disabilities who need urgent access to facilities or proper changing places toilets.

Earlier this year I put forward a fully-costed plan to the Mayor of London that found £18m to build new public toilets around Transport for London (TfL) stations, including world class accessible ones, and make all the existing ones free. It found support across the assembly, because who hasn’t ever been caught short?

I have written to Robert Jenryck, secretary of state for Housing, Communities & Local Government to make this loo package part of TfL’s rescue fund, to allow people to enjoy a day out with children, with people who have more urgent needs for loos, without restricting their lives more than necessary.

We are all finding this time very difficult, but we should not be further limiting people who want to escape their homes and take a walk.


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