Did Union strike at failing school?

I READ with dismay the ongoing saga regarding the allegations submitted by past and I do believe some present members of staff at Cardigan Secondary School.

I do not pretend to be an educationalist but have nearly 50 years experience in the local private sector.

I am unsure as to what is trying to be achieved here by those who are disgruntled by their treatment from the governing body and more specifically, I would imagine, by the head of this school. Is it a personal vendetta or an attempt to sabotage the growing respect for the school?

In the private sector, certain targets have always to be met to maintain the viability of the businesses. Managers have to manage and employees have to perform.

There is no easy way to try to get an employee to improve his or her performance.

You can be blunt, or you can discuss it over coffee and chocolate brownies. The result is the same.

As in any team, some players need a stern warning and some need a softer approach.

The challenge for the leader is for the team member or employee to improve their performance otherwise it is to the detriment of the team, in this case the school, and of course to all the pupils in their care.

Cardigan Secondary School has over the last five or six years come out of special measures and its performance is now up there with the best in Ceredigion and is on a par with Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych, which, for decades, has been one of the outstanding schools in South Wales.

Surely an amazing achievement and a credit to all responsible, the governors, all the teachers involved and specifically the head.

The school is now full to capacity and that in itself surely indicates the confidence that parents now have in the school.

This in turn is a great boost for Cardigan town itself, for the old established businesses and all those investors in the new businesses springing up. Local estate agents now include this information in their sales brochures promoting the town.

The school plays its part as we try to encourage young families to move back into the area and live rather than those who move into the area to die.

No good will come out of this continued attempt to smear certain individuals. It can only be an upsetting distraction to all those concerned in carrying out the most important role in our society.

For the teachers union to call a strike at one of the most successful schools in the area is extraordinary.

Please remind me if the union attempted to call a strike when the school was in special measures?

By email

Name and address supplied

Dangerous HGV report ignored

CAN dashboard cameras be used as evidence? According to the information I have had from the police, the answer is no.

I am a coach driver employed by a local company carrying school children and college students.

I drive around 500 miles per week along the Teifi Valley and also travel some 10 miles each day down the A487 coast road.

A few weeks before Christmas I was travelling home to Felindre along the A484 after dropping off students at Ceredigion College.

Approaching Croes-y-llan (Llangoedmor) I came up behind a lorry which I believe had just left the builders’ merchants situated close by.

On following this vehicle down through Llechryd I knew something was not right regarding his driving.

He was way over to the right of the white line and when other lorries etc were approaching he was slowing to a mere 10mph even if there was enough room to pass comfortably.

On passing the sawmills towards Cenarth a tractor and trailer carrying timber was forced to stop travelling in the opposite direction and the lorry driver turned his tractor unit towards the nearside bank, leaving the trailer way over the white line.

But worse was to come. On approaching Cenarth bridge he positioned his lorry way too far to the right and I knew he would never negotiate the bridge.

Bearing in mind that this lorry was a 44-ton gross vehicle over 50-foot in length and having a tri-axle trailer, he would need all the road to make this manoeuvre and nothing was coming to meet him.

I stayed well back and true to what I guessed, the rear axle of the trailer came into contact with the right-hand side of the bridge.

The only way out of this situation was to reverse right back a fair distance and re-position his vehicle but all he did was to reverse back some three or four metres by opening his driver’s door to look back and not use his mirrors.

I was now quite concerned at what he was going to do next.

To my surprise he just edged forward and this time he collided with the wall of the bridge and forced the trailer round using the wall as a buffer. In doing so the rear off-side wheel twisted from side to side at least four inches each way and I was almost sure that the rear axle was damaged but he kept going.

I followed him at a distance through Newcastle Emlyn and on approaching roadworks and traffic lights before the petrol station he just drove straight through a red light and by now I knew I had to have him reported and stopped.

I was home in a few minutes from there and I immediately telephoned 101 and gave all the details to the person on the other end of the phone.

I told this ‘operator’ that I suspected this driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that he did not have a licence and needed to be stopped. I gave details of which road he was on and also the approximate time he would reach Carmarthen.

Most importantly, I told the operator that I had a dash-cam in my coach and had recorded the 30 minute drive and gave my mobile number and address.

I was very sure they would get back to me but guess what – nothing.

About a week after this incident, I spoke to a local officer in Newcastle Emlyn and expressed my concern and was told that because it was only me that witnessed this that they would not be able to do anything.

So really my dash-cam is useless in a situation like this but always thought ‘the camera never lies’.

If a police car had been following this lorry he would have pulled it over, no doubt about it, but obviously they don’t take information given by a member of the public seriously and did not even bother asking for footage of the incident.

If they had, this driver would have been looking at a charge of driving without due care and attention or even dangerous driving.

Considering he was driving a 44-ton vehicle, he could have seriously injured or killed someone.

This was the worst case I have seen of reckless driving in almost 50 years as a PCV and HGV driver and it is sad that no-one took notice of this.

Therefore, will I bother to report such an incident in the future?

I don’t think so.

If I come across something like this again, I will pull into the first available parking spot and stay clear and only use my dash-cam to protect myself should an incident occur.

John Crossley


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