Exam success benefits all of Peterborough

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
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I considered getting a picture of me leaping in the air in the grand tradition of newspaper A level coverage to illustrate this week’s column.

But sadly my knees are so crocked these days I couldn’t leap higher than a snake’s backside.

I have reservations about an exam that 98.1 per cent of people pass (but then I’m old school). However, I am genuinely delighted for pupils, staff and management after city schools turned in some of their best A level results ever.

Peterborough schools over recent years have benefitted from a massive investment from the public purse but tangible improvements have been a long time coming.

Hopefully, the tide might finally be turning. How good it is to read that Peterborough’s results are above the national average –it’s not often we’ve been able to say that.

There’s a long way to go with issues that need addressing and problems that need solving but we should all (and results like these benefit the entire city) take a moment to enjoy.

I have been critical of city schools in the past – not because I’m anti-schools as one senior city councillor ludicrously suggested to me – but because I’m pro pupils.

Tony Blair, may be a largely discredited figure these days, but his mantra of education, education, education is still for me one of the most striking political statements ever.

I care passionately that all children should get, at the very least, a good education. And if they don’t I make no apology for pointing the finger at teachers and managers be they from a council or a trust.

Incidentally, my sister is a deputy head teacher and my dad spent some years as a college lecturer.

It’s a special job which is why good teachers should be treasured and bad teachers turfed out.

I also believe parents have a huge role to play, but sadly we know that many think their involvement ends at the school gates.

My children are not yet of school age, but when they are should I get the slightest whiff their school is failing them teachers, managers and that city councillor will be jumping... but not for joy, for cover.

To the point

There have been a number of (three to be precise) stabbings in Peterborough in recent weeks. The police have been at pains to point out that they were “isolated’’ incidents.

I suppose that’s reassuring – although not to the victims and their families – but it does make you wonder how many “isolated’’ attacks do you need before it becomes a “spate’’ or, god forbid, an epidemic.

Messi business

The annual list of most popular names for boys and girls always sparks some healthy debate. Among the hordes of Amelias and Olivers, last year four hard-of-thinking parents lumbered their offspring with the name Messi presumably in tribute to Barcelona’s mercurial No 10.

Hopefully when the next great footballer emerges he isn’t called Stupid.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Regular readers of DOABD will know that usually Toddler T takes the starring role and the best Baby T2 can hope for is best supporting actor. It’s hard to compete with a three-year-old princess but Baby T2 is showing signs that he’s no longer prepared to settle for life as an understudy. At nine months old he’s the spitting image of his sister when she was that age but there the similarities end. Put him in his cot, he sleeps. Give him food, he eats. Leave him alone, he plays happily by himself.

All good, but there are worrying signs that his ability to amuse himself might end up with the complete destruction of our house.The first indication came a few months ago when I walked into the lounge and found him swinging a washing basket above his head. Even though it was empty it was an impressive impression of a baby Popeye.

Play happily he still does, it’s just he’s not very interested in playing with his toys. Anything he shouldn’t have he makes a beeline for. Having developed an admirable commando crawl, we’ve had to “fence off’’ the telly after he attempted to disconnect the Skybox.

This time next year I fully expect to be telling you about his first time sliding down the banister.