Is it time to stop stressing about the performance of Peterborough schools?

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

As any football fan will tell you, it’s no fun being bottom of the league year in year out. It saps the soul.

So how must anyone connected with Peterborough schools be feeling?

New figures find city schools rock bottom(or very nearly) of the education league tables in what is now a despairingly familiar scenario. For years the city’s education results have been unacceptable and yet with every passing year nothing changes.

Former city MP Stewart Jackson became so concerned about the situation he met with the education minister about the “awful’’ results. Back in 2015 Mr Jackson said he sensed the government was losing patience with the city council.

Well they must be a very patient lot because here we are in 2018, some new results are out and guess what they are still “awful’’.

Every time a new set of results come out, the PT asks Peterborough City Council for a comment. And every year it’s the same response – a litany of excuses followed by a boast that most schools are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. It doesn’t add up.

But maybe, just maybe, we should all stop stressing about the results.

And that includes me.My daughter is at a primary school in Peterborough. I’m not overly impressed by its latest results even though its last Ofsted from seven years ago says it’s Outstanding.

But she’s happy and safe, so what’s to worry about?

I’m a firm believer schools are either good or bad because of the people in them and how well they are led by the head. League tables won’t tell you that.

Teachers get very defensive and seem to think they are above criticism because they work hard (if you don’t mention all that marking, I won’t mention the long holidays), but good ones are worth their weight in gold.

If your child is lucky enough to have good teachers (and there’s plenty of them about) they will get a good education regardless of churn, or funding, or any other of the problems schools face.

It’s as easy as ABC.

It just flu by

Flu stories are all over the national media, so we at Telegraph Towers thought our readers might be interested to know what the situation was in Peterborough.

There are national figures for the number of cases so you might think that’s an aggregate of local figures?

Wrong! Public Health England, Peterborough City Council’s public health team and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group literally have no idea of how many cases there have been in the city.

Either that or we’re an entirely flu-free city!

You’re monitored

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite responded to the PT’s story about an epidemic of low-level crime in the Ortons. Mr Ablewhite said he was aware of the concerns of residents.

Well, that’s a good start from the man who is supposed to be the voice of the people on policing matters in the county.

He went on: “I would like to reassure people that the police will continue to monitor the situation.’’

Well, Mr Ablewhite the fact that police are monitoring crime is of zero reassurance.

They are not there to monitor crime, they are there to tackle it. Imagine the consternation among the criminal fraternity when they find out they’re going to have their collars monitored!

Show won’t go on

So LAMMA, the agricultural machinery exhibition, went out with a whimper rather than a bang.

Its final day was wrecked due to the high winds and, as the show is moving to Birmingham, it is the last we have seen of it. A lot of residents will be happy to see the back of the show and the traffic chaos that came with it. The event attracted tens of thousands of visitors but I doubt the organisers ever felt very welcomed by city residents. If the city wants to host big national events such as shows and concerts people have to appreciate there are downsides - temporary traffic problems being a common one.

The Boris bridge

So Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wants to build a bridge from England to France.

Hasn’t anybody told him we (allegedly) don’t have enough money to properly educate children, care for the sick and elderly or police our communities?

An easy way to scupper the plans would be to get it costed by whoever came up with the figure of £30m to replace Peterborough’s Rhubarb Bridge.