Libraries, schools and community spirit – Letters to the Editor (February 27, 2013)

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Class sizes

IN reply to Mr Thorburn’s most interesting letter (Herald, February 13) , reminiscing on his school days, I would like to say “well done, sir”.

I stand justly corrected if I suggested that a pupil in a large class would stand virtually no chance of success.

A class of 53 pupils does seem rather excessive in my view, but perhaps “in the good old days” the teacher had classrooms so organised and disciplined that the job may have been easier.

In today’s modern classroom environment, pupils need to move around, be more active and experiment more.

The teacher needs several hands and more than one pair of eyes! I did wonder, however, how the other 52 pupils fared?

Most teachers love their job, even although there is the odd “character” in the classroom.

It makes their job all the harder, however, if there are several “characters”, statistically more likely in a very large class.

Gone are the days of strict discipline, serried ranks of desks and a tight curriculum.

Ask any serving teacher - it’s a hard job, made harder by class size, of this I am sure.

To refute Mr Thorburn’s statement about my being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, those who know me may well say that I do at times display an odd sense of humour, but to be tongue-in-cheek would suggest that my letters do not tackle serious issues.

Many things rankle with local people, and a well-gnawed bone of contention is the evident lack of real consultation on very important issues which appear to be presented to the public as “faits accomplis”.

A letters page in the local press is but one of several conduits of public opinion, and I for one will continue to write in to express my opinions.

S.Klimowicz,

Muirside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

Support for children’s charity

IT was great to hear about the People’s Postcode Lottery winner from Kirkintilloch who won £100,000 at the start of February.

On behalf of CHILDREN 1ST, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery in Kirkintilloch and around the Glasgow area.

Their financial support means CHILDREN 1ST services continue to make a difference to hundreds of people across the region.

This lottery has a tremendous impact on the work we do with children and young people locally.

Last year alone, People’s Postcode Lottery raised over £500,000 to support children across Scotland.

The Supporting Children and Families service is just one of the services provided by CHILDREN 1ST in the Glasgow area.

Trained workers support children and young people to recover from their experience of domestic abuse.

Staff also visit primary schools to educate children about healthy relationships, to promote positive gender roles and to give children the skills and knowledge they’ll need as they grow up - increasing their confidence and looking at how they can keep themselves safe is included in the programme.

With the support of People’s Postcode Lottery and their players, we can help build a brighter future for vulnerable children in the Glasgow area and throughout Scotland.

Bryan Evans,

CHILDREN 1ST.

Praise for pupils

WHILE Bishopbriggs Academy is doing exceedingly well academically, it is also making a considerable social contribution to the community.

Pupils have been giving one-to-one tuition to older folks on the use of laptops, mobile phones etc at Bishopbriggs Library.

The young people are not only knowledgeable, but are also courteous, considerate, tolerant and understanding.

Bill Findlay,

Kenmure Drive,

Bishopbriggs.

Bridgeton Library

MANY visiting the rather dismal and disappointing William Patrick lending library opened last August may wonder about what could have been and what design and setting opportunities have been missed.

They need only visit, as I have done, the newly opened Bridgeton Public Library in the Olympia building at 2-16 Orr Street, Bridgeton Cross, Glasgow for the answers to “what might have been”.

Within a similar floor space to that of The Hub has been created a bright, open, airy space maximising the use of daylight on a corner site.

The stock of books and other items for borrowing comprises a much greater range than that of The Hub and items are laid out in an easily accessible and more user friendly way.

One innovative display, for example, was a Classics section for those who might be interested in Dickens, Hardy and many others.

And yes there is a cafe, but this one is discretely situated in a corner with lots of adequate and varied tables and seating extending along the windows overlooking Bridgeton Cross, providing an interesting view.

It is part of the library but not a hazard to be negotiated by those entering or leaving the lending area.

Unlike The Hub, library staff seem to have adequate work and storage areas and can get on with their duties.

The Hub gives the impression that library staff are often, during the occasional busy times, an unofficial unpaid back-up for those seeking other Hub services outwith the library remit.

Perhaps those within East Dunbartonshire Council intent on inflicting another Hub on, say, the residents of Bishopbriggs, should, with their architects, pay a visit to Bridgeton Cross and note how a new build library within an existing shell should be done.

Bob Stobie,

Lenzie.

School has long history

GARTCONNER Primary has a long history in the area.

Established in 1875, its original building (now St Agatha’s) was built on land sold by Gartshore Estate to the Kirkintilloch Landward School Board.

I recently asked for documentation from the council under a Freedom of Information request and acquired some very interesting documents.

The land was sold by Alexander Whitelaw, great-grandfather of Viscount Whitelaw MP.

Alexander Whitelaw sold the land on the condition that it would only be used for educational purposes.

Unfortunately, a legislative act in 2000 abolished many feu burdens and it is unclear whether this clause is still valid, however, the original intention of Mr Whitelaw was that the land should be used for the benefit of the children of Kirkintilloch and would seem morally wrong to do otherwise.

I believe the council have not considered all options for this site that are available and sadly these two schools may cease to exist.

However, with the schools sitting on greenbelt land, the options for development are restricted under local planning policies GB1,GB2 and GB3.

I was therefore pleased to see in the local Labour party manifesto for the 2012 election they had pledged to “protect designated greenbelt land”. Let’s hope they stick to it.

Lynne Bauld,

Save Gartconner.

Brownies have their say

Re: Proposed merger of Lennoxtown Primary School with Craighead Primary School.

1st Campsie Brownies asked their “Brown Owl” if they could write a letter to the Kirkintilloch Herald and to East Dunbartonshire Council about how they feel about what is happening to their community.

They got together in their “sixes” and wrote what their concerns were about closing one of the schools in the village where they attend Brownies.

1st Campsie Brownies are from Lennoxtown and attend either Lennoxtown Primary or St Machans Primary, or they are from Milton of Campsie and attend St Machan’s Primary School.

Here are their concerns in their own words:

- It could affect the population of Lennoxtown.

- We will lose contact with our friends, they might not come to after school clubs in Lennoxtown anymore. Then there might be less clubs as less children can go.

- We will lose our nursery and playgroup too, that’s not fair on my wee brother/sister.

- Childminders will lose money, they have children from both schools.

- We are worried about our friends at LPS, we would not get chances to share fun times together, like the Christmas panto at the Campsie Hall and joint choir singing at the Christmas lights.

- It’s not very “green” to take a bus or car to school. We all walk just now.

- School staff will lose their jobs and the lollipop lady.

- How do parents with no cars get their child to school if she/he is sick, lots of our friends don’t have cars.

- It makes us sad that our friends might need to move and they may not have money to.

- Lennoxtown will lose part of its history. We love our school, it’s a very old building and beautiful in the summer with its cherry tree.

- We like walking to school and going on the bus will be longer and we would need to be out earlier and there would be more traffic jams.

- Closing LPS will affect the Co-op, Post Office and chemist because parents won’t be walking past it and people won’t go into the Co-op on their way to school to get their play piece.

Clearly the children have their own views of proposed changes in the Primary School Estate, in Lennoxtown. Yhe Brownies are clear that it will affect their community outwith the school and wish their voices to be heard. I am sure you are as touched by their “responsible citizenship” as we are who volunteer to run Brownies in Lennoxtown.

1st Campsie Brownies.

Community spirit

IN these times of doom and gloom, of economic recessions and widespread UK bad weather, it is heartwarming to know that Kirkintilloch has a great community spirit.

On January 9, I fell heavily outside and was taken by ambulance – accompanied by friends Mrs Doreen Shaw and Mrs Betty Allan – to the Royal Infirmary A&E department where it was confirmed by x-ray that I had fractured the neck of the humerus of my upper left arm (I am left handed).

My friends stayed with me and returned me home. Thank you both very much.

I’m also grateful to my next-door neighbour and friend Mrs Trisha Fulton, a night shift coordinator who has regularly visited me before going on duty and on days off. Thank you.

Thanks to Robert Gorman who weekly places my wheelie bin, etc., up at the collection point. Thanks also to David Craig who has cleared by path of snow and delivered a daily Metro.

A big thank-you to everyone who phoned and sent get-well cards and to Mrs Margaret Strang for the beautiful Kirkintilloch calendar.

I take great pleasure in praising Paul Reilly and staff of Paul’s Fine Meats Ltd, Townhead, Kirkintilloch, who cheerfully accepted my phone request for groceries (I don’t have a computer to go online).

He said if he did not stock any item he would still supply it from other retail shops.

On house delivery he places the messages on the kitchen table and then uncaps the milk cartons and removes the seal then lightly recaps.

He also loosens all bottles and releases the vacuumed jars for my easy access.

On the last icy delivery he salted my sloping path on his return to his van.

Paul – you personify the community spirit BIG TIME. THANK YOU.

Kirkintilloch is a wonderful town to have so many caring people with community spirit.

Margaret MacRae,

Westergreens Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

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