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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 30 December 2010


THIS years Santa Watch Webcam was yet again a big hit, but sadly due to the icy conditions, some of the time the webcam was online, the image became very dark. Don't worry if you missed him due to the image not being as clear as it has been in previous years, as we have cleaned it up for you.   Watch above and you can see Father Christmas zoom passed!

Is 2011 the time to re-think the way we educate our children?

THE news headlines are sounding pretty familiar these days. Daily tragedies aside, it’s education, student protests and government cuts night after night, morning after morning. Not just one news outlet, but the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Radio 4, national and local newspapers of all political persuasions and readerships are singing from the same hymn sheet. Students are furious their university degree will cost them tens of thousands of pounds; teachers, analysts and academics all painting a dark, gloomy picture of illiterates running riot by the turn of the next century.

Let’s rewind, and get to the fundamental issue at stake here – Money. Dinero. D’argent. Oh, and education. So we need a solution. How about starting the hunt for a recession-friendly, top class education from an earlier age? Great idea! Private schools charge an average of £1000 per term for prep; for junior schools, you’re looking at £1400 to £4250 and for senior, a cool £4000 to £6000 per term.

There are assurances of a good education, but no guarantees. What’s guaranteed is that your bank account will be significantly emptier. If you compare the costs of a state school (free!) combined with a private tutor, as and when they need it, you’re paying an hourly rate, from £35 in the North of England to £50 in London and the South.

Tutor Doctor, an international private tutoring company, operational throughout the UK and Ireland, guarantee success with their students, and believe it’s down to several revolutionary concepts that they use.

Dominic Stone of Tutor Doctor Lancashire and Merseyside, says:- “The main barrier to learning and asking for help in the classroom, whether it’s a private or state school, isfear. The fear of everyone thinking you’re “thick” or “slow” or “not getting it.” The fear needs to be diminished and students need to gain the confidence and self-assurances to ask for clarification on areas they’re not comfortable with, before confusion sets in. Our tutors also use a student’s homework as the core curriculum for helping them succeed in the classrooms, as opposed to overloading them with additional studying.”

Surely the optimum educational environment is a smaller teacher to pupil ratio, be a paying customer, have more control over what your child learns and ensure their progress is closely monitored? Hang on, are we talking about a private school education here or the benefits of a private tutor?

There’s no doubt that private schools provide not only a sound education, but also focus on extracurricular activities so their pupils are more “well-rounded” individuals, and can add academic trips abroad, drama, music and sports specialism to their university applications. But with the state of the university system currently resembling an apple crumble in a tumble dryer, I’d say it’s an expensive gamble to take.

Do you agree with this?  Let us know your views by emailing us at:-

Business expert on-board to boost enterprise

LIVERPOOL Council’s newly appointed business advisor is pledging to put enterprise at top of the city’s agenda. Entrepreneur David Wade-Smith has been named as the business advisor to the city council’s cabinet, a unique new role which aims to create stronger links between the council and the business community.  David will provide expert business guidance to the cabinet. He will give businesses a voice at the heart of the Town Hall, share the views of local firms and let council chiefs know how policies will impact on the private sector.  Council Leader, Councillor Joe Anderson, came up for the idea for the post after making it a key priority for the council to work more closely with businesses to revive the local economy, drive forward regeneration and increase job opportunities.  The appointment means that, for the first time, the city council’s cabinet has an expert in the field of business to put the views of the private sector directly to the leadership of the council when it is making important decisions. The role is unpaid, but with appropriate expenses. As an unelected member of the council executive board, or cabinet, Mr Wade Smith will not be able to vote.

David said:- “I’m delighted and truly honoured to be taking on this new role and providing a more direct link between the council and business. Liverpool as a city – and as a brand – is famous all over the world, and it’s vital we capitalise on that. The public and private sector have to work as one to sell this city as a leading global destination to live and work in, to visit and to invest in. I’ll be making it a priority to work closely with the council and the business community to further boost our visitor economy, as well as looking to the future by promoting our creative, digital, and science industries. There are so many strengths within our business community and there’s so much more we can do to promote traditional areas such as financial services, professional services and manufacturing.”

Mr Wade Smith was born in Yorkshire and began a career in retail in the 1980s. He played an instrumental role in the strategic development of independent retailer Wade Smith, culminating in its sale to Arcadia Group in 1998.  He is the founder and Chairman of Livesmart Ltd, a provider of web-based lifestyle solutions, delivered via smart cards, ticketing, loyalty and membership products.  A Board Member at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce – and Chairman of the Board from 2005 to 2008 - David has played a primary role in the regeneration of Liverpool. In addition to his work with the Chamber of Commerce, he served as Chair of Tourism for Merseyside at The Mersey Partnership from 2004 to 2009.

David is also a founding member of the Board of Liverpool Vision. He served on the successful Board of the Liverpool bid team for European Capital of Culture, and has served as a Board member of TATE Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. The idea for the business advisor post received a fantastic response from the business community, with the city council inundated with expressions of interest. John Flamson, Liverpool University’s director of strategic partnerships was appointed as an independent adjudicator, tasked with assessing the candidates and overseeing the appointment.

City council leader, Councillor Joe Anderson, said:- “This is a hugely important appointment which sends out a strong message that we are committed to working closer than ever with the private sector. It’s about making sure local businesses have the opportunity to shape and inform policy and that the city council takes their views on-board at every step of the way. David is an excellent appointment. He will bring a wealth of experience, first-class business acumen and a real passion for this city. As a well-known figure in the sector with the respect of his peers, I’m positive he will be able to inspire some really constructive dialogue between the council and local businesses. If we want to get out of the recession, the public sector can’t do it alone. The recovery of our economy needs to be led and guided by the private sector. The appointment of David as business advisor is just one part of our plans to become more business-friendly.”

The appointment of David Wade Smith as business advisor to the cabinet is the latest move in the city council’s drive to transform the way it works with the private sector. The city council has just launched the ‘One Plan’, which will draw on the strengths of the public and private sectors to sell the city internationally; and has recently announced that it will be establishing The Liverpool Embassy in London, to secure vital investment for the city.

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