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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 135

Date:- 17 January 2004

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EDUCATION may have been one of the landmarks of the Labour party manifesto in their return to power in the mid-nineties, but the message has certainly proved to have rung home in Liverpool after a stunning transformation of the city's education service since its last inspection.

Liverpool has been ranked as "a good LEA" - grade 2 - just five years after it was ranked amongst the worst (grade 7) in 1999 and faced the possibility of privatisation.

The outstanding Ofsted report, revealing the incredible changes, was released to the media today at Kensington Community Primary School, Liverpool - the city's most modern school, and opened last year by the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Blair.

Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, David Henshaw, said:- "The report speaks for itself and it is a credit to the work of everybody involved. 

I am particularly pleased that in a number of areas we are amongst the best in the country." 

The Ofsted report comes just a month after the Audit Commission named Liverpool as the most improved Education Authority in the country.

Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education, said:- "The turnaround in Liverpool's education service has been remarkable. Not so long ago, the service was failing the city's children.

Now, the people of Liverpool can be really proud of the progress that has been made in improving education in the city."

There is clear evidence that the progress made by the education service, which consists of 203 schools and 4,000 teachers, is having a positive impact on the city's 80,000 schoolchildren. 

There has been a massive increase in the number of pupils gaining top marks; in 1998, 31% of youngsters were achieving five A to Cs at GCSE. The figure has now risen to 42.5%, the equivalent of 700 more of the city's pupils gaining top marks.

The success story has also seen schools taken out of special measures; from 16 in 1999, there are now none. Ofsted inspector, Barry Jones, said:- "The transformation is a model of good practice. It is a tribute to the efforts of elected members, officers, schools and pupils alike."

The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Mike Storey, a head-teacher, said:- "This is a wonderful achievement, particularly for the children of Liverpool. 

We are now giving them a better education and a better chance in life. I am really thrilled by the incredible transformation of our education service and the independent Ofsted endorsement of what we have achieved, along with our future plans for the service.

We all know it can take five years to turn around just one failing school. We have turned around an entire education service in the same amount of time. It is a massive service, with one per cent of the country's schools in Liverpool, and this is a massive achievement."

Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, David Henshaw, said:- "The report speaks for itself and it is a credit to the work of everybody involved. 

I am particularly pleased that in a number of areas we are amongst the best in the country." 

Suspicious Man In Crosby

MERSEYSIDE Police is appealing for witnesses after a report was received that a man tried to entice a young girl into his car in Crosby on Monday morning (12th January). 

At about 8am the 14 year old girl was walking to school, along Kimberly Road, when a small red car stopped beside her. The driver, a man, asked the girl for directions. He then ordered the girl to get into his car, but she ran away. The girl was not touched by the man.

The man is described as white, about 30 years of age, with short hair and wearing a short sleeved shirt which was possibly grey in colour.

Officers would like to offer the following safety advice

to parents and schoolchildren and have asked local people to report anything suspicious. 

If possible take your child to and from school

If your child makes his/her own way to school encourage him/her to walk with friends.

Children should always take a known route home along well lit, well used roads. Don't take unfamiliar short cuts or routes.

Children should not talk to strangers or get into cars with people they don't know.

Outside of school hours, know where your child is. Don't let them wander off to unfamiliar areas. Make sure they are back at a reasonable hour.

If you do see someone acting suspiciously report it immediately to the police or the free, anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111. Don't tackle the person on your own. 

Police are asking anyone who witnesses any such incident to call them on 0151 777 3838 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 


RNID TYPETALK, the national relay telephone service for people with communication difficulties, is offering free on-site training to businesses in the Wirral area to bring them into compliance with the
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA).

Wirral businesses failing to meet the DDA's requirements could be unable to reach the 51,000 people in the region who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or deafblind. 

The DDA aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face on a day-to-day basis. The final provisions in the staged programme will come into force in 2004, so time is running out for businesses to make the necessary changes.

But while most companies are making changes such as improving access to their buildings and providing large type and Braille literature, a large number are still failing to make adequate provision for telephone access for people with hearing or speech difficulties.

The Act states that all service providers must make reasonable adjustment for disabled people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way they provide their service.

Under the provisions of the DDA, it is unlawful to treat a disabled employee or client less favourably than anyone else by not making reasonable adjustments, without justification.

Lorna Hammerstein, Head of Customer Services at Typetalk, said:- "A disabled person could make a claim against a provider whose services are impossible or unreasonably difficult for him or her to access."

"This not only covers the more visible access, such as access to buildings but also invisible access, which could include something as simple as ensuring that all your customers have access via the telephone to your goods and services. RNID Typetalk can make this possible. Staff training and education can be the first step to becoming DDA compliant"

Typetalk Outreach Officers provide the training to businesses to advise staff how to make and receive calls through Typetalk. So far Typetalk has noticed no increase in companies looking for training despite it being a move that meets the DDA's requirements.

The Typetalk service allows deaf, deafened, deafblind, hard of hearing and speech impaired people to communicate with hearing people over the phone.

A person with hearing difficulties will need a textphone to make and receive calls, but hearing people do not need any specialist equipment. Training is the most important asset the service provider can access. 

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2004.