SIR - The private sector company SERCO, which has been given £360 million to run educational support services for Bradford schools, also appears to have been awarded weekly if not daily free T&A publicity by using schoolchildren to gain press coverage.

In last Wednesday's T&A we have a pupil from Miriam Lord School holding a "physio ball", a small red sponge ball with the company logo printed on the front - the same ball that was given out to a thousand Bradford Council employees on the day they became Serco employees, then described as stress balls!!

Also in Wednesday's T&A we see Mark Patterson, managing director of Serco-QAA/Education Bradford with a number of pupils who have designed greetings cards for the management team to use!

Bovis, the private company in charge of rebuilding our schools, use the same technique.

Bradford folk are not impressed by glossy brochures and pictures of children grouped around company managers.

If the T&A want to print photographs of children, please print more photographs of pupil achievements alongside their teachers and teaching support staff to give some credit for the hard work carried out in the classrooms of our schools.

Mrs D Eland, Beacon Road, Horton Bank Top

EDITOR'S NOTE: The items we have published involving Education Bradford and local children are normal coverage of legitimate news items. They pale into insignificance next to the hundreds (if not, thousands) of pictures and stories we publish every year involving local schools, pupils and teachers.

SIR - Regarding Mike Stocks's letter of February 27. Throughout the whole period of debate on Stock Transfer he has deliberately sought to discredit its opponents with false accusations of "political motivation".

As readers will know, the letters he refers to have in the majority been written by Eileen Allen, of Defend Council Housing Campaign. Eileen, myself, and fellow campaigners are ordinary council tenants fighting for the right to remain so.

Mike Stocks likes to portray himself as the voice of the tenants. Has he walked around any estates other than his own and spoken to residents to find out what they really want, as we have done?

He and his Council cronies have utilised massive amounts of public money to drive forward a powerful campaign of blackmail and bribery, in the name of 'consultation'.

Now, on reading his latest letter to the T&A (March 4), I am disturbed to note that someone so capable of innuendo and vindictiveness has been allowed into Odsal housing office, sticking his unqualified nose into the confidential affairs of other tenants.

V Howarth, Burneston Garden,s Buttershaw.

SIR - May I thank you for printing the report in the T&A (March 4) highlighting the problem in Frizinghall of abandoned cars that have been blighting the area for the past few months.

Having contacted the Council to request the immediate clearance of the offending vehicles, I am delighted to say that both cars have now been removed.

Vanda Greenwood (Shipley Constituency Labour Party secretary), West Lane, Baildon.

SIR - I echo M Watson's doubt about Bradford being able to become 2008 European Capital of Culture (Letters, March 7).

Bradford has many sites of cultural and tourist interest, some of worldwide importance. But it's not just the buildings that matter, it's the surrounding environment that puts the sites into context and makes them special.

I came to Haworth a year ago. Almost daily I see coachloads of foreign visitors and feel ashamed of the neglect and squalor surrounding the famous street and Parsonage.

Weed-ridden paths, broken pavements, shanty town allotments, rusty signs, litter, vandalised lights and an abandoned graveyard - all within a few yards of what should be the jewel in the Bradford tourism crown. Similar criticism can be made of all the other Bradford sites.

We do not deserve the status of Capital of Culture unless we address the years of neglect and the need for funding to bring our sites up to European standards. We have six years to get it right - but I fear that is too long-term for our politicians.

Paul Haywood, Melton Mews, Haworth

SIR - A city of culture? I don't think so. A city of crime culture? Yes. Instead of trying to paint this city into something it is not, the powers-that-be should be working to put it into order.

The older Bradfordians are sick of seeing their beloved city running into a bed of crime and filth, and ending up like a ghetto.

New York, has been cleaned up, so why not Bradford?

Barbara J Rudd, Roger Court, Undercliffe.

SIR - Mr Bean (Letters, March 6) seems to be cross about "Government interference" in stopping people tearing wild animals to pieces, such as deer, hares and foxes.

No doubt his predecessors would have worried about such "interference" in bear baiting, otter hunting, cock fighting and badger baiting.

If we go back a bit further, of course, there was "interference" in child labour, women working underground in coal mines, pure foods and drugs legislation, slavery and even estate agents - all designed to help the vulnerable.

Sid Brown, Glenhurst Road, Shipley.

SIR - Supporters of hunting with dogs tend to refer to their activities as "sport".

I don't know of any other sport where the same side always wins, and where one team has 50-odd players, and the other team only has one. Even Spanish bullfighters balk at describing their ghastly spectacles as "sport".

But you never know. One of these days, some unfortunate huntsman might be torn limb from limb by a super-fox.

Peter Wilson, Thornhill Grove, Calverley.

SIR - I should be grateful if you would let your readers know that Alan Dalton, the former Environment Agency Board member for the North East, intends setting up a national body to check on the Environment Agency's work with regard to landfill sites and incinerators. He can be contacted by e-mail at

I've heard that at least two landfill action groups have been featured in the T&A and they might be interested in the next Environment Agency Board meeting at Doncaster on March 20.

Michael Ryan, Gains Avenue, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury.