Slam Final in Formby
IN recent weeks Year 5
students from across Formby have been taking part in an innovative
literacy programme lead by Curtis Watt.
Performance poet, musician and author Curtis has been working with
Mrs Clark, Formby High School's literacy coordinator and seven local
primary schools on a series of poetry slams to encourage them to
express their thoughts and feelings creatively.
A poem from each of the schools was chosen to go forward to the
grand final which was held last night, Monday 8 July, at Formby High
The students performed their poems based on the theme of 'achievement'
for their teachers, parents and friends and the overall winner was
chosen by a panel of independent judges.
Michael Jacques and Anthony Howe both aged nine from Our Lady of
Compassion Primary School won the slam with their poem entitled:-
not to be told', in which they explored the importance of
friendship using rhyming couplets.
Their teacher Mrs Crowe expressed her delight on the night saying:-
"I am so proud of Michael and Anthony. The slam offered a very
different approach to poetry by grasping the children's attention
Curtis Watt said:- "It takes a lot of technical ability,
confidence and trust to write a good poem then get up and present it
in public. Overall I think we had lots of fun and I would like to
thank Formby High School for their commitment to this amazing
project. It was great revisiting the schools I worked with last
Mrs Clark, Formby High School's Literacy Coordinator went on to
say:- "Poetry slams encourage students to read, write
creatively, listen and perform. The benefits are immediate and
tangible. I'd like to congratulate all the schools and performers
that took part this year. Hopefully we have planted the seeds of a
love of literacy and poetry that will blossom in the future. Thank
you to all the Year 5 teachers who have allowed us to visit and work
with over 250 students, enabling all involved to achieve such
Stephen Beattie, chair of the judging panel commented:-
"I was amazed at the standard of poetry and performance on show this
evening. Perhaps we have witnesses a performance from a star of the
The poetry slam phenomenon originated in Chicago in the 1980s.
To find out more about Formby High School and the work it does with
other schools and the community please visit:-
magistrates urged to stop jailing women
MAGISTRATES on Merseyside
are almost twice as likely to send a woman to prison as courts in
other parts of England and Wales, figures reveal. The Howard
League for Penal Reform has released for the first time data which
shows how sentencing rates for women vary from county to county.
The figures suggest that, while many magistrates' courts are making
good use of community sentences which help cut crime and turn
women's lives around, other benches are imposing prison terms
unnecessarily in some cases. Merseyside courts imposed
custodial sentences in 1.3% of the cases they heard in 2011 – almost
twice as often as benches in criminal justice areas such as
Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumbria and Wiltshire.
The figures were discussed at the annual general meeting of the All
Party Parliamentary Group on women in the penal system. The group
was set up in 2009 under the chairmanship of Baroness Corston and
with administrative support from the Howard League.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal
Reform, said:- "We are concerned that it remains the case that
a woman convicted of a non-violent offence is more likely to go to
prison than a man.
Women who find themselves in court often need a lot of support. They
are often victims of crimes themselves such as domestic abuse or
pimping. Sending these women to prison for a few weeks is not the
answer to the complex issues in their lives.
We are concerned that legislation currently going through parliament
may make the situation for women worse. The Offender Rehabilitation
Bill extends short prison sentences with a year of supervision in
the community but it is unclear how specialist services for women
will survive as the government seeks to privatise probation using
large regional contracts that will squeeze out small local
Magistrates' courts in England and Wales handed down almost 287,000
sentences to women and girls in 2011, imposing immediate custody in
more than 4,300 cases (1.5%).
4 in 5 women were fined, and about 9% of cases resulted in a
On average, magistrates' courts reduced their use of custody for
women by a 3rd between 2001 and 2011. But there were 9
criminal justice areas where the rate of imprisonment increased over
that period. They were Avon and Somerset; Cumbria; Derbyshire;
Hampshire; Northamptonshire; Surrey; Thames Valley; Dyfed-Powys; and
The maximum sentence that a magistrates' court can impose is a
6-month prison term, or up to 12 months in total for more than one
offence. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice published
statistics which showed that short-term prison sentences were
failing to cut crime, whereas community sentences have a far better
Only 36% of adults who began community orders between April 2010 and
March 2011 went on to reoffend within a year. In contrast, 58% of
adults went on to reoffend after completing a prison sentence of 12
months or less during the same period.
Green Party has condemned
the plans to sell-off Royal Mail
RESPONDING to the
announcement, on 10 July 2013, by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary
Vince Cable, that a majority stake in the Royal Mail would be sold
off by the government, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said:-
"The privatisation of Royal Mail is the latest ideologically driven,
disastrous step by this government which is doing nothing to start
the essential reshaping of the British economy, but is determined to
hand over the last bits of the family silver to multinational
companies. The approach of privatisation has proved disastrous for
our water system, disastrous for our electriCity and gas supplies,
and particularly disastrous for our railways. Yet still the push
towards it, from Margaret Thatcher through Tony Blair to David
Cameron continues. Green MP Caroline Lucas, with her private
members' bill to bring the railways back into public ownership is
leading the way to reverse this trend. What we need is for the
Labour Party to show that it has broken with its New Labour past and
back it. That would add a sense of verisimilitude to Labour's
criticisms in parliament today of the Royal Mail move."
Bennett offered congratulations to the CWU and the Royal Mail
workers, who are resisting the government's attempts to buy them off
with a share handout to staff. "They understand that
privatisation is a devil's pact that inevitably results in damage to
staff pay and conditions, cuts to services, and profits stuffed into
shareholder's pockets, all too often through the conduit of tax