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Education a hot topic for debate

THE future of education in the county was debated during a pre-election hustings event.

A five-strong panel featuring Karen Usher from the Hereford University project met at the Kindle Centre in South Wye as part of a series of debates held by Hereford Civic Society.

A hot topic for discussion was the number of free schools, with Diana Toynbee, parliamentary candidate for the Green Party in Hereford, the only panel member wishing to see local authority education departments strengthened and academies brought back under local authority control.

Also on the panel was Sue Woodrow, the head of Aylestone Business and Enterprise College, Cllr Jeremy Millar, Herefordshire Council's Cabinet member for Education, and Cllr Sebastian Bowen from the Independent party.

All those on the panel felt Herefordshire had been treated badly by central government.

Tonight's meeting - the fourth and final meeting of the civic society's hustings - will cover the subject of work, including the city's Enterprise Zone.

It takes place at The Kindle Centre from 7pm and will feature Cllr Tony Johnson, the leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr Liz Harvey, the deputy leader of It's Our County and Cllr Bob Matthews, the Independent group leader.

Also on the panel will be John Jones, who is behind the fledgling Hereford BID (Business Improvement District) project, and the Enterprise Zone's vice-chairman, Neil Kerr.

Meanwhile, the team behind a project aiming to increase turnout among Herefordshire voters at May's elections has sifted through its feedback sent to

Strictly Herefordshire is a project which works by asking the public which areas of Herefordshire life people want improved, including education, housing and transport.

Responses will be presented to election candidates who they hope will reply with their ideas which will be reported anonymously to those taking part.

The public will then be asked for their preferred response before project leaders reveal which politician gave which response, helping voters decide who to back in May.

The state of Herefordshire's roads cropped up during the early responses, along with more frequent after-working hours public transport. Another person wanted help for artists to make use of the city's empty shops at a reduced rate.

Ideas raised will now be put to candidates vying for Herefordshire’s two general election seats.

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Sylvia Hope not Hate says...
7:00pm Mon 5 Jun 17

Underfunding for schools means that there are teacher shortages, larger classes, fewer books and essential equipment. Instead , we unqualified staff put in charge ,more testing to exams for primary children who should be using initiative and creativity. The finest teachers are leaving the profession because Conservative cuts and insistence on Academies, "Free Schools" and more Grammar schools just ruin what can be the most exciting and inspiring beginning of a life-time of learning. All schools should offer this opportunity. How many eleven year olds should be denied the best chance,just by one selective examination. Blair had it right, the priorities should be "Education! Education! Education!"

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