Wednesday, 3 January 2001


From the Herald Express
07 May 2007

A former Torquay school head has warned colleagues that bad parents are turning their children into bullies who abuse their teachers.David Gray, who retired last year as head of Babbacombe Primary School but is a life member of the National Association of Head Teachers, was speaking at the union's annual conference in Bournemouth.Mr Gray retired at Christmas after 22 years, saying he hoped to find part-time work as a lorry driver instead.He said at the time that the dramatic job swap would be a welcome change from the daily stresses he faced.At the conference he said that by failing to instil discipline at home, parents are giving their children the green light to target teachers with abuse. Youngsters who are allowed to stay up late watching television in their rooms come into school too tired to work or behave properly.Delegates passed a series of motions warning of a rising tide of violence and disruption in the classroom.Mr Gray said: "More and more parents, rather than punishing pupils for swearing at staff, are colluding with them."Teachers have come to expect that parents will constantly refer to their "rights" and their children's rights when schools discipline pupils for bad behaviour, he said.And they fail to discipline their own children or set traditional rules at home."This lack of discipline at home is leading to a growing number of pupils, and especially girls, intimidating their teachers with sexist taunts."Boys don't just try to peer down young women teachers' fronts, they make comments on what they see," he said.If a young male teacher is single, he is labelled as having "something wrong with him".Mr Gray added: "This is a horrible form of bullying. This is the meltdown of society's civilised values."He said increasing numbers of children were turning up to school too tired to concentrate because they had been up watching television late at night.Some were hungry because they had not had any breakfast - or occasionally any dinner the night before - because no-one thought to make them any food."Many children live in their bedrooms and are allowed to stay up as late as they like as long as they do not disturb the rest of the family," he said.Schools are trying to pick up the pieces of a "dysfunctional upbringing" for many children, he said.Rona Tutt, former NAHT president, said the number of attacks on pupils and staff was "increasing substantially"."The extreme end of behaviour has not had the attention it deserves," she said.The union passed a motion which called for more specialist facilities for teaching the children with serious behavioural disorders.

Tuesday, 2 January 2001

From Herald Express re Bus Passes

Angry Bay pensioners have again lambasted the council's new bus pass scheme after hundreds faced a second day of queuing - this time in the rain.
Torbay pass holders have been given two weeks to change their Devonwide card to a new 'Around Torbay' scheme.The big queues began on Wednesday - when 4,000 people turned up - and continued yesterday, with many frail and elderly residents again joining the lines waiting outside Connections and other offices.Pensioners say the swap has been badly executed and have called mayor Nick Bye to account, saying he should have made contingency plans because the Bay has a high population of retired people.One 70-year-old Torquay pensioner said: "All over the country people have the free bus pass. You only have to go up to Exeter where pensioners are being given the full free pass. Mr Bye should have asked central government for more money. There should not be this inequality for residents in Torbay."The Devonwide bus pass expires on April 1, leaving pensioners little time left to collect the new card.Torbay MP, Adrian Sanders, said: "I think the decision to restrict the concession was taken in haste. It was not thought through. My constituents have had problems getting the new card and it has caused confusion and inconvenience to older people."The council panicked and were trying to reduce costs, but they were aware of the costs involved at the beginning of the year."Torbay Council changed to a partly concessionary travel scheme after fears of mounting costs because holidaymakers were accommodated under the free scheme.Peter Carroll, from Paignton, said: "My wife waited in a long queue at Paignton Bus station. She is asthmatic and had to suffer fumes from several smokers. When she eventually got the pass the picture was so dark it was beyond recognition."Another Torquay pensioner, who did not want to be named, said: "I have been into two places and the queues are enormous. They have a machine which takes the photographs and this is holding everything up. I think it's appalling that elderly people are being treated like that, it's disgusting."According to Torbay Council around five per cent of pensioners who went to collect their new pass did not bring the required identification.They say information was communicated through local media coverage, various leaflets and posters detailing the new scheme.Geoff Coleman, senior transport planning co-ordinator said: "We have endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for people to collect their new Around Torbay passes."We could not envisage that over 4,000 residents would choose to collect their new passes on the first day and inevitably this did cause some delays, however, most people were good humoured and very reasonable."We did reiterate to those in the queues the passes were being issued for the next two weeks and not just for one day. But the majority of people chose to continue waiting."Following the initial rush, yesterday was much quieter with the majority of locations issuing passes experiencing no complications or long queues. We have also extended the opening times of the Connections offices and libraries."Under the scheme nearly 30,000 Torbay residents can travel for free on 30 bus services around the Bay. Passengers can also take advantage of a £1 'bolt-on' fee for journeys to Exeter and Plymouth.

Monday, 1 January 2001


From the Herald Express
11 April 2007

Police riding 'shotgun' on a Paignton bus - re-instated more than a month after being suspended in the wake of vandal attacks - sprang into action on its first day.
Officers were ready for trouble when the No 2 Stagecoach service in the resort's Maidenway Road returned on Sunday night.Bus chiefs had withdrawn the town centre to Foxhole service early last month after repeated attacks on their vehicles in the Marldon Road and Colley End Road areas of the town.But after five weeks off the road the bus returned for business over the Easter weekend, taking in an amended route in the hope of by-passing bother.Instead it ran into a group of 10 youths who had congregated in Maidenway Road near its junction with Lammas Lane.But this time the bus company was prepared, as an officer in uniform was one of six passengers on board the vehicle when two youths broke away from the gang to allegedly kick the side of the vehicle.And reinforcements were close by in the form of a trailing police patrol car.The No 2 service had only been back in business for four hours when the bus was attacked just after 10pm. No one was hurt.In early March a Stagecoach driver was lucky not to lose an eye after his bus was allegedly attacked by yobs.The man was driving the No 2 bus in the Stanley Gardens area of Paignton when a gang on an embankment hurled a heavy object down at him.That attack, at 7.20pm on a Tuesday, was the seventh on that service in the previous three weeks.Yesterday Stagecoach's operations manager, Richard McAllister, said the precautions taken in tandem with the police were a measure of the determination to stamp out the menace of anti-social behaviour."This was very swift action on the first evening of the service's return."It sends a clear message we are not messing about. We are putting the route back for the community who had to make do without a service for some time," he said.He revealed the operation had been organised by the police and the company in a bid to thwart those intent on disrupting a valuable public service.He promised Stagecoach would continue taking such action as long as the deterrent was needed.Paignton's neighbourhood beat sergeant, Steve Rook, said: "It's worth some knowing that we will be riding shotgun, as it were, on buses in the area."If people do target buses in such a fashion they might like to know the risks involved."He said police were more than happy to support Stagecoach in their efforts to deal with the nuisance.A 15-YEAR-OLD boy spent the night in police custody before being charged with a public order offence and one of obstruction.He is due to appear before the Bay's youth court on April 18.