It was sad to read of the trouble at Edinburgh College (News, November 4).
It would appear that the merger, which was supposed to be the next best thing in educational reform, has been handled very badly if basic administrative practices such as student enrolment and funding have been plagued with errors. Without the students and their funding there will be no college.
This college was formed from three smaller ones, all of which were successful, long-term facilities. How on earth have things gone so wrong? There must be plenty of people employed there who are old hands at sorting out student enrolment – or have all these people been made redundant?
It is the students who suffer from the lack of organisation. Those who drop out might not get a second chance at their chosen career path.
Previously the scandal surrounding this college was to do with bullying. Now students are having to pull out due to lack of funds. Someone needs to get to the root of the issues and sort this place out before it collapses completely.
Veronica Noble, Morningside, Edinburgh
Calling on customers to keep their cool
This week is Respect for Shopworkers Week which, at the start of the very busy Christmas shopping period, aims to remind shoppers that retail staff are real people who do not deserve to be abused, threatened or assaulted.
Usdaw is the union that represents shopworkers and our retail crime annual survey shows that every minute of every day another shopworker is verbally abused, threatened or physically attacked. We are asking customers to keep their cool and show respect for shopworkers.
Usdaw is campaigning for a change in the law to provide more severe punishments for those who assault workers serving the public. We are concerned by some of the lenient sentences given to criminals guilty of some pretty awful attacks. This would not just apply to shopworkers, but all public-facing workers, including NHS staff, transport workers, bar workers and many others.
We were disappointed that this proposal was recently rejected by the House of Commons, but we are hopeful that it will be backed by the House of Lords and the government will be forced to think again.
Finally, a message to all who work in retail. Our surveying reveals that one in six shopworkers who have been physically assaulted did not report the incident to their employer or the police. We are shocked that so many are suffering in silence and I would urge you to give us and your employer the chance to sort the problem. Abuse and physical attacks are not part of a shopworker’s job.
John Hannett, general secretary, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Can I claim for cycle slip six decades ago?
Regarding the story about cyclists slipping on tram tracks (News, October 23), I will be furious if those cyclists get compensation from our money. They know the rails are there, no-one is trying to hide them.
60 years ago when I was cycling along to Coatbridge Main Street to school, my wheel caught in the rail and I fell off – in front of a bus.
But I just had to get up and walk on to Albert Street Secondary School.
Should I now put in a claim?
Name and address supplied
Coalition has lost the trust of UK workforce
Cuts. There are many ways of reducing overheads and it seems that the government has fallen into the trap of opting for the wrong way.
I fail to see why the men and women who help to defend our country should be made the scapegoats for government blunders. The parties were warned 50 years ago they were heading for trouble but chose to ignore the warnings and once again the coalition has opted to lose the trust of the nation’s workforce.
If there is a better way of solving a problem let’s try it and MAKE the government listen.
CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh
Don’t mix religion with sex education
There can be no more inappropriate a manifestation of religious privilege than the Scottish Government and schools having to tiptoe around religious sensibilities on sex education.
This is especially problematic with issues of same sex equality. Does anyone really believe that young people choose to be gay simply because they catch the merest glimpse of a positive attitude? Or that denying teenagers access to proper information on sexual health and relationships will somehow prevent their interest in sexual experimentation?
The alternative is discrimination, unhappiness, unwanted pregnancy and sexual ill-health at great cost to both the individual and the state.
Religious “conscience” must not be allowed to prevent young people learning how to respect others and protect and support themselves sexually and emotionally as they enter adult life.
Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive
Christmas thoughts with homeless kids
It’s really sad that almost 5000 children in Scotland will be homeless this Christmas, as a charity has warned (News, November 4).
Shelter Scotland said the figure will be over 80,000 across the UK because the number of families in emergency housing stands at a ten-year high.
What an awful shame. I truly hope something will be done to help those poor children and families who are homeless and in much poverty. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian