University has so much to celebrate

SIR - I realise newspapers use headlines to attract readers and that it is always a challenge to dream up a headline that will attract attention when interpreting detailed data on Higher Education.

However, it is unfortunate that the T&A decided to focus on the one negative aspect of performance at the University of Bradford following the release of this year's HE performance indicator statistics, and not to celebrate the outstanding success that the information contained (T&A, September 22).

The stats released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency indicate we are the most socially inclusive university in the UK - providing more opportunities for young people than other universities, that the number of students completing our degrees is at the nationally-expected level, and that as the University with the second best ratio in the country at securing graduate employment, our students get jobs!

Surely this is an issue for celebration, not a cause to hunt through detailed tables to find one negative point to conjure up a shock-value headline.

The T&A has a responsibility to report news and say what it believes, but that includes good news as well.

Professor Geoff Layer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford.

l EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm not sure "shock value" is quite the right phrase - and I've never yet found a reader who turns to Page 18 (where the story appeared) to look for an attention-grabbing headline before deciding whether to buy the paper. Our report also went into detail about the University being identified as the most socially inclusive in the country and about a student satisfaction survey which placed Bradford joint second in Yorkshire. A quick glance back through our files shows a whole string of positive stories about the University, from new courses to ministerial visits, from awards for former students to it being named one of the best in the country for graduate job placements. In fact, we struggled to find another negative one.

Missing the point

SIR - Further to G Dean's letter (T&A, September 30), while on the telephone to New Zealand, my friends mentioned they had heard that Bradford had become a suburb of Leeds.

When I expressed my indignance, they said they understood the people of Bradford went to Leeds to shop and also that Bradford was trying to encourage people from Leeds to live in Bradford and commute to Leeds!

These days, rarely shopping in Bradford myself, I had to concede they had a point!

Councillor Val Slater commented that she can buy everything she wants in Bradford. Surely she misses the point.

Many, many people go shopping as an "outing" not just to purchase necessities. They can get these at the supermarket!

At present you cannot say Bradford's shopping centre offers much in the way of a day's outing with its boring shops situated on a steep hill. How degrading for the city having to offer people card discounts to shop here!

So I guess the negative publicity has no option but to continue until the regeneration of Bradford kicks in and Bradfordians can once again enjoy a 'shop till you drop' day's outing - hopefully!

Joan B Cooper, Holborn Court, Low Moor.

l EDITOR'S NOTE: Even Harvey Nichols runs sales and offers bargain discounts! The problem is that if local people don't support the shops that are here while we're waiting for the new Broadway, there's no incentive for retailers to stay - and, as the supporters of Buy It In Bradford attest to, you can get everything you need in Bradford, as well as being able to park easily and cheaply and enjoy some of the best Victorian architecture in Britain while you shop.

Let's be positive

SIR - Regarding Sheila Ognissanti's letter (T&A, October 1), I think her comments were a bit harsh.

OK, Carlton Bolling College has had problems in the past, but don't tell me other schools don't have truancy and latecomers.

If a child is persistently late, letters are sent home and they receive detention. If lateness persists the child is monitored and parents are asked to attend school, the same as in cases of truancy.

If a child is absent, parents must ring school. If a phone call is not received then school rings the parents to ask why their child is not in school.

I have four children - two teenagers who have done very well at the school and one son presently there. My eldest daughter left recently to study law after five happy years there. They have had wonderful support from the dedicated teachers. All credit to Nigel Jepson who has done a brilliant job turning this school around.

It annoys me that people look at the negative, not the positive issues. Why don't we highlight the students that went to this school and moved on to gain degrees and are now doctors, lawyers, teachers etc!

Ms P Deeks, Edderthorpe Street, Bradford.

Is this a cover-up?

SIR - It is interesting to see our Government's endorsement of Jamie Oliver's views on school meals resulting in the consequential ban of these cheapest of the cheap offerings, chicken nuggets, beefburgers and sausage. Is this what they call 'spin'?

While this apparent concern is highly commendable, one wonders if this is in fact a cover-up regarding the recent outbreak of e-coli in school children traced back to school dinners.

While the outbreak has been traced I have not heard any reference to its source. Could it be chicken nuggets, beefburgers or sausage?

Perhaps Jamie Oliver could divert his attention now to our hospitals and old people's homes instead of swanning over the Atlantic to repeat his success with his American audiences.

Elaine Neale, Sherbourn Road, Idle.

Big is brute-iful

SIR - Your T&A Drive supplements on Fridays concentrate properly on the technical capability of cars but they often imply that bigger and faster is to be applauded.

A recent article enthused about a car, a practical compact saloon with four-wheel drive, that had a top speed of 151mph and did 18 miles to the gallon, so it wasn't a surprise that the table of specifications omitted the CO2 emissions per kilometre.

Such vehicles help to explain why emissions from traffic are still rising in the UK and why the country is set to miss its Kyoto reduction targets.

Indeed such profligacy could be described as emission-littering with the gas out of the tailpipe being the equivalent of the cigarette packet out of the window.

Keith Thomson, Heights Lane, Bradford.

My kind of fuel!

SIR - Congratulations to Sally Clifford on her timely article on bio-diesel (T&A, September 29).

As someone with a small diesel car, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this green fuel for several years now.

Perhaps she would consider a follow-up article providing more details, in particular the Government's stance on the issue.

I recently heard on the Jeremy Vine show a couple of farmers saying they would like to use their spare capacity to grow bio-mass, but are being prevented/discouraged by Government legislation.

One question I haven't heard answered is: Is the fuel tax on bio-diesel less than a conventional diesel? And if not, why not?

Finally, does Iain Barker intend to set up an outlet in Bradford, as driving to Horsforth could offset any advantage?

If not, Bradford Council should consider letting their contract to a local entrepreneur. After all, 80p per litre must still represent a considerable mark-up considering the raw material is virtually free.

Eddie Bennett, Duchy Drive, Heaton.

Take good aim!

SIR - Is there anyone else out there harbouring the same desire as me?

The hope that one or two of the storks currently reputed to be flying over Bradford might "accidentally" drop their load of bricks on the heads of certain people, particularly those so obviously hell bent on disposing of the New Vic/Odeon.

Happy hunting boys!

Sheila Walker, Beacon Road, Wibsey.