Opinion: ‘Impressive A-levels in Peterborough schools’

Wayne Fitzgerald, city council leader and Conservative group leader on Peterborough City Council writes...

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:40 pm
A level and GCSE results were published this week.

The single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community from Covid-19 is getting both doses of the vaccine.

We have actively pushed this message and worked tirelessly with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, along with community groups and organisations, to urge those more hesitant residents to get vaccinated.

However, vaccine take-up rates in the city remain significantly lower than the national average. With covid cases rising locally, the situation is extremely concerning.

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It prompted city MP Paul Bristow to write an open letter to the council and our partners this week, expressing his worries and offering to work with us to improve take up locally.

I fully echo Paul’s concerns and we will meet with him to discuss his ideas. We will also continue to work with the CCG to get more people in Peterborough vaccinated, helping to reduce virus infections, hospitalisations and ultimately stop people dying.

I am particularly asking parents to urge their children to get vaccinated because the pandemic is rife amongst younger age groups and hospital rates are rising.

If you’ve had your first vaccine, please get your second and give yourself the best protection – you can now move your second jab forwards to just eight weeks after your first.

We are also seeing that vaccinated people can still get covid, but we always knew that to be the case. Without it, those people are more at risk of serious illness and death.

If you are concerned about getting jabbed, please rest assured that the vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

There are pop-up vaccination sites in Peterborough, including a daily walk-in clinic at City Care Centre and the East of England Showground.

You can also visit the many walk-in and pop-up clinics, with more dates and locations available every week. Up-to-date details of walk-in clinics can be found on www.thevaccinators.co.uk.

Many young people collected their A-Level results this week and it’s clear that everybody has worked extraordinarily hard in extremely difficult circumstances over the past year to produce some outstanding results.

The pandemic has meant that grades were determined by teachers’ assessments, rather than exams. All exams were cancelled for the second successive year, with grades this year being decided by teachers from a range of tests, coursework and mock exams.

Nationally the proportion of A-levels graded at A* or A increased from 38.5 per cent to 44.8 per cent and a quick look at early results from Peterborough’s schools were just as impressive.

I never fail to be amazed at the grit and determination of our young people to succeed in the most challenging of circumstances. But they couldn’t achieve what they have done without the dedication of their teachers and schools – and of course their families. Congratulations to you all.

Regular readers will know how proud and excited I am by our ongoing work to develop and enhance our city.

Our redevelopment plans are the most ambitious this city has seen for decades and I enjoy showing people our progress and proposals. I look forward to welcoming Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, later this month to do just that.

This week I met Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, while he was in the city to open the new GB Railfreight offices in Maskew Avenue. I took the time out to personally reassure him of our commitment to increasing cycling and walking rates across the city. He took this on board and promised that his team would work with us to help achieve this.

Returning to my diary, I also hope to catch up with the BBC’s The Apprentice winner, Joseph Valente, in the coming days. The entrepreneur takes a keen interest in what is happening in the city so I meet with him regularly. Perhaps he has political aspirations – watch this space!

As part of my ambition for the council to be even more open and transparent with our residents, I recently started a monthly session called ‘Ask the Leader’.

It’s an informal online meeting, giving residents a chance to put questions to myself and council officers on any issues that affect their daily lives.

We recently covered a range of subjects including garden waste collections, public open spaces and fly-tipping. One resident was particularly complimentary about us fronting up and connecting with people in this unique way.

You can watch the previous session back on the council’s Youtube channel. If you would like to take part in the next Ask the Leader, on Tuesday, August 31 at 6.30pm, please get in touch.

You can submit questions to [email protected] and we will respond with details and a link to the meeting.