January-June 2014

‘A very happy day’ as Standbridge Community Centre opens

THE TEAM behind the new Standbridge Community Centre, which opened its doors to the public for the first time on April 5, was delighted with the response to the special day-long inaugural event. Hundreds of people poured in to see a huge variety of stalls, crafts, art workshops, musical events and demonstrations, while information about services was also available.Coun Monica Graham said: “We were delighted with the interest and positive feedback about the facilities we have on offer, and we had lots of enquiries about room hire and suggestions for new projects. The disability access works are starting in the next two weeks so we can offer more services to groups.“It was a very happy day for us all  on the trust after three years of  really hard work. Thanks so much to all the volunteers. Without them we wouldn’t have been ready to open.” The event raised about £400.The centre, successor to Kettlethorpe Community Centre which closed on March 31, offers refurbished facilities and a new home to groups in what used to be Standbridge Primary School. There is a boxing club, judo, dancing, playgroup, library facility, youth club and even an indoor model helicopter club. Room hire is available for organisations which already include Aged Welfare, a walking group, Alzheimer’s Society and Guides.The boxing club – the Kettlethorpe 299 Guardians – got off to a fine start with its new facilities. An informal opening ceremony included the presentation to Guardians’ leader Mark Roberts of a photo montage of a charity boxing night in which he was involved last year. It was handed over by Staff Sgt Duncan Bateson, permanent instructor and boxing coach with 299 Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers, at the George Street TA centre where the club was based when it opened in  2012.The former primary school closed five years ago and two years later ward councillors expressed an interest in opening it up as a community centre. A trust was formed with councillors and local residents and it became a registered charity in 2013. Coun Graham said: “Funding was applied for to help make the centre suitable for community use. There has been backing from Wren, the Coal Regeneration Trust, Sported, and some lottery funding has been awarded to assist with the refurbishment. On behalf of the trust, many thanks to Wakefield District Housing and Streetscene. We appreciate the help from Wakefield Council with the granting of the lease and legal support.” The trust has produced its first newsletter and the centre is now online at http://slcdt.org.uk.

TOP PHOTO: Coun Monica Graham with coaches and boxers from the Kettlethorpe 299 Guardians boxing club.  RIGHT: Emma Sutcliffe and family enjoy picking tombola straws sold to them by Barbara Senior (left) in aid of the Aged Welfare group.

Bank Holiday clear-up at new centre

A SMALL group of Rotarians – some of them SCA members – turned out on May Bank Holiday Monday morning to help with a clear-up at Standbridge Community Centre, which opened up the previous month at the former primary school. The team filled a skip with rubbish and broken furniture and Rotarian Peter Clarke’s van was packed with scrap metal, ready to be sold for cash. Cardboard boxes were broken up for recycling and some of the stronger Rotarians used their muscle to demolish a covered area once used for storing bins. Coun Monica Graham, from the trust that runs the centre, was on hand to make sure the Rotarians did what was required while fellow councillor David Hopkins waded in, too. As well as providing hot drinks, Monica took the volunteers, all from Wakefield Rotary Club, on a tour of the centre. PICTURED: The clear-up team (from left), Peter Clarke, Neale Clark, Monica Graham, David Hopkins, William Smith and Dennis Edwards.

Sandal Endowed headteacher hits back at Ofsted report

HEADTEACHER at Sandal Endowed School, Mrs Nichola Russell, vented her great frustration at the latest Ofsted inspection which has led to her school being placed in special measures.          In a press statement Mrs Russell, who is a  National Leader of Education, said: “It is frustrating that that the inspectors’ two-day ‘snapshot’ does not accurately reflect the quality of the work, progress and achievement or the teaching and outcomes of our school.” The Ofsted report, which can be read in full here, said: “The school’s effectiveness has declined considerably since the last inspection. Leaders have not tackled the weaknesses in teaching, and arrangements to check and improve the quality of teaching lack rigour.” The previous inspection, in June 2011, judged the school to be ‘good’ and concluded: “It is improving rapidly under the skilful and determined leadership of the recently appointed headteacher and assistant headteacher. It has successfully consigned all of its earlier difficulties firmly to the past.” But now, following their visit in February, the inspectors say actions by school leaders and governors to improve pupil achievement have been ineffective. In their summary they say: “Pupils’ work fails to provide the right level of challenge to ensure they achieve what they are capable of achieving… Too much learning fails to motivate or interest pupils. Some pupils become bored and disrupt the learning of others.” Mrs Russell said: “It is unfortunate that during the inspection the inspectors noted a small number of premises issues they felt to be unsafe. Due to these reasons they deemed the school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure as inadequate. This therefore meant that the other areas for inspection were recorded as inadequate although observed teaching and learning prior to this had been recorded as good.” She added: “We are committed to continual improvement and we are taking immediate positive action to move forward and get the judgement that we feel our children, parents and community truly deserve.” The inspectors criticise the school’s governors for failing to hold the school’s leadership to account and failing to ensure pupil safety. Sandal Endowed became federated with Castle Grove Infant School in 2009 under one headteacher. The two schools are to be amalgamated in April 2015 and the Ofsted report notes that building work was taking place on site at the time of the inspection.

Les and Steve share a good yolk!

STEVE SHEARMAN (right) gave a fascinating insight into his life as a poultry farmer – and the life of hischickens - when he talked to the SCA’s February cheese and wine night. The event, voted one of the most popular evenings organised by the SCA, was at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club, the other side of the railway line to Steve’s Church View Farm at Agbrigg. Steve shared his enthusiasm for poultry and eggs, explaining how one of his farm’s specialities is producing eggs that are naturally different colours from different breeds of chickens. They provide major talking point for Steve and here he shares a laugh with SCA chairman Les Goddard. Steve, who with his wife Julie is a familiar face at farmers’ markets in Yorkshire, told the Yorkshire Post last year: "I’m a self-confessed poultry nut and I can’t put into words properly just how much I enjoy talking to the general public about hens and eggs.” He even takes his hens into schools to explain the variety of breeds and types of eggs. To read the newspaper feature, click here

Coffee morning raises £1,000 for Belarus disaster victims

SANDAL Methodist Church’s ‘Home and Away’ fundraising event for Belarus made £1,000, another excellent effort by organisers Elaine and Jack Cooper. The coffee morning with a variety of stalls, held at the church on January 25, was enjoyable and well supported, with a strong presence from a team from the Stockport-based Belarus Fund, including its founders, Alan and Janet Bridgewater and Carol Hartley. They first visited the country in 2002 to work at a summer camp for young people affected by the Chernobyl radiation. Their website explains that the Fund was formalised in 2006 and gained charity status in November that year. It is a small charity and all the money raised goes into the project; there are no administration charges or salaries.  A similar event at Sandal Methodist Church last year raised only £600 because of the blizzard that struck that day. This was a great disappointment, especially as the previous year’s event had made £1,200, a staggering amount for a coffee morning. Jack said: “I went to Belarus in 2002 and we’ve been running this event ever since. The first coffee morning was at my home so it’s come a long way since then.” This year's event included stalls selling soft toys, bric-a-brac, books, non-alcoholic bottled drinks, cakes, pies, jars of food and much more.

Our picture shows event organisers Jack and Elaine Cooper with the team from The Belarus Fund: (from left) Carol Hartley,  Alan and Janet Bridgewater and Brenda Stopford – plus an eye-catching display of painted dolls from Belarus. For more pictures go to our Facebook page .

Sandal fundraisers make £1,400 for Wakefield Hospice

WITHIN the space of a few days Sandal Fundraising Group for Wakefield Hospice made almost £1,400 with a coffee morning and later a fashion show.                          The May fashion show was organised by the group in conjunction with Horbury's Number 10 fashion shop and boosted funds by nearly £900. The group's chair, Denise Armstrong, is pictured here (centre) with mother-and-daughter shop owners Lynn and Gemma Roberts. Denise commented: "It was a very good day for us!" Three members of the group were among the models; numbers of fashion-seekers from Sandal came to watch the models and enjoy themselves at the show. Some of the visitors are pictured on the right. The coffee morning at the Walnut pub on Barnsley Road on April 30 made a profit of nearly £500.

For more information about Number 10 Fashions click here. The business was established more than 40 years ago and presents an extensive collection of hand-picked designer labels.


Trio of new owners at FortyThree coffee shop

SANDAL’S popular FortyThree coffee shop on Standbridge Lane has changed hands – but the promise to the café’s loyal customers is that nothing else will change. The new joint owners are Wendy Bolger, 48, who lives in Crigglestone, her daughter Nicole, 20, from Netherton, and Nicole’s partner, Mark Etherington, 25, one of the managers of the café and coffee shop at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. They have taken over the business from Nicola Lingard, who launched the café in November 2011 and turned it into one of Sandal’s most successful ventures. Wendy moved from her homeland of South Africa eleven years ago when her husband Grant, an electrical engineer, found work in the UK. She is currently a part-time dental nurse and receptionist in Sandal and she will now be dividing her hours with the coffee shop where Nicole will be working full-time. Mark will devote the time he can spare from his duties at the sculpture park. Wendy said: “The coffee shop has been run so well we don’t plan to alter anything. All the staff are staying on so customers will see many of the familiar faces. Nicole and I were customers, too, and she was the one who egged me on when the business came onto the market. She’s always enjoyed baking and she did a cake decoration course at the Slattery School of Excellence in Manchester.” Nicole added: “It won’t affect what happens in the café but one area we hope to expand is outside work, supplying cakes to businesses, private functions and, of course, children’s parties.” Our picture shows Mark, Wendy and Nicole.

Secretary of State has 'no powers' to get involved in club move

The Association’s appeal to Secretary of State Eric Pickles to take a look at Wakefield Council’s decision to move West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club from Sandal to Walton has fallen on stoney ground.                                                                                                                                                                 Our protest to the minister was passed to the National Planning Casework Unit. Casework Officer Tina Ford responded, saying that Mr Pickleshas no powers to review the case and consider fresh representations’. The text of her letter can be read here and the SCA's follow-up here. For Ms Ford's further response, which was received very quickly, click here. Our original request to Mr Pickles was sent by SCA deputy chairman Ray Watson, who said: “This is a disappointment but no great surprise. We will seek out other ways of continuing the fight to retain the club in Sandal.” The plan is to relocate the club from its present site in Sandal Hall Close to one off Shay Lane, Walton. The SCA expected the scheme would have to be referred to Mr Pickles as it is development in the green belt, but the council’s planning department said this was not the case. Despite this, the Association will use every opportunity to keep pressing Sandal’s case, hence the letter to Mr Pickles protesting at the decision. The planning application for housing on the existing site (already allocated for homes in the Local Development Framework) has not yet gone to committee and the Association will continue to highlight detailed concerns on behalf of its members. The Community Association was formed nearly ten years ago to oppose a similar proposal and many Sandal residents believe the two schemes will adversely affect the quality of their lives with loss of green space, further traffic congestion from new housing development and the removal of an important community facility. The report of the planning committee’s decision on the SCA's Facebook page attracted more than 300 'hits'. Despite local feeling, when the vote was taken on the club move at the committee meeting on February 27, only three members voted against. Councillors had deferred consideration of the plan when they met on January 16. They said further consultations were needed to assess the impact on other clubs in Walton, and on the Neighbourhood Plan being drawn up by Walton Parish Council. The February meeting was told by council officers that the parish council’s concern about the impact on the village’s other clubs was not a planning consideration. The WYSSC representative said there would be negligible impact on those clubs, a statement which South Ward councillor Nadeem Ahmed disputed. He unsuccessfully moved that the plan should be rejected or deferred again for further consideration. The Association, which had previously made written objections to the proposal, is particularly worried about the loss of an important community asset and green space. In January Sandal’s case was argued in person by Coun Monica Graham, who founded the SCA in 2005 and remains on its committee. She reinforced the objections that she had previously made in writing, when she stated: “The club has existed in Sandal for more than 50 years and is a popular and well used facility. In my ten years as a local councillor residents have consistently raised concerns about the future of the club and their wish to retain it on the present site has never diminished. The loss of this green space of 7 hectares, sports pitches, plus the community facility, will be detrimental to the residents as there is no other similar facility within the area.The site under discussion is approximately two miles away from the current location, therefore members will have to access the sports facilities by car, increasing traffic and air pollution. This proposal to relocate the club on the outskirts of Walton village will have a serious impact on the sustainability of the other sports facilities in the area, and I fully appreciate their fears and concerns. To expect three sports facilities within a small rural area to be financially viable is not a   constructive and fair plan. The need for housing is a top priority for all authorities; the need for  accessible sports facilities for all residents and young people is also a  top priority and a fundamental right for our future citizens. To create new football and cricket pitches takes years. Why go to the trouble and expense when there are other sites suitable for housing developments?  I ask the Committee to consider these points when making their deliberations and decision and refuse this application.”  

Poet and writer John launches his first novel

SANDAL author John Irving Clarke has drawn on twenty years’ experience as a teacher in Yorkshire for his first novel, ‘Who the Hell is Ricky Bell?’, which was launched in May at the Mocca Moocho Café in Wakefield.             John, who lives at Sandal Cliff, writes poems, short stories and educational articles but now plans to concentrate on writing young adult novels. He says that although the characters and the setting of his first book are fictional, the tone of the novel is true to the experience of teenagers everywhere: “I did not want to pull any punches. I wanted to paint a realistic picture of the bumpy journey through life faced by young people. The book touches on peer group pressure, bullying, fragmented families, violence and grief, but essentially it is a love story.” In 2001 John launched Currock Press, publishers of ‘Who the Hell is Ricky Bell?’ which is available on Amazon, price £6.99. He is founder of the weekly Mocca Moocho Poetry group for reading, writing and enjoying poetry, and is co-organiser of the Red Shed Readings, a lively spoken word event which attracts established figures such as David Peace, Sophie Hannah and Ian Clayton but also promotes local talent. John is also the former chairman of the Black Horse Poets, Wakefield’s longest established poetry group. Armed with a degree in English from Leeds University and a teaching qualification from St Martin's College, Lancaster, he embarked on a teaching career which took him into five secondary schools where he held two heads of English posts and one assistant headship. He now tutors adult creative writing classes, visits reading and writing groups and leads workshops on a variety of topics. Close to home, he heads the tuition and practical writing exercises at Agbrigg Writers’ Group each Thursday. His first poems were published by Raven Magazine in 1980 and his first short stories were broadcast on Radio Sheffield and then Radio Leeds. PICTURE: Signing a copy of his book for another Sandal poet and writer, Michael Yates, with his wife Pamela. To learn more about John and his work, go to the Currock Press website here

Newmillerdam project wins Civic Society top award

THE Lawns Dike Trail, conceived and created by the Friends of Newmillerdam  Country Park, has won Wakefield Civic Society’s top annual design award in the Best New Project category, beating the £14million Westgate railway station refurbishment into second place. The award is a prestigious accolade, acknowledging the creative, environmental and community-led elements that make up the criteria. The Friends’ chairman, Jeff Stimpson, who lives in Sandal, and the group’s secretary, Don John, were invited to the awards ceremony in the Mechanics Theatre at Wakefield College where the mayor, Coun Janet Holmes, presented them with a bronze plaque. The Friends hope to mount this at the start of the trail and also put the accompanying award certificate on display at the boathouse. Jeff said: “We were very proud and delighted to receive the Civic Society’s award for the best designed new project in Wakefield District in 2013.It is very encouraging for the whole group of volunteers  as we move forward to tackle more projects in the park.” The trail is proving very popular with visitors to the park, with many using the boardwalk to venture into the valley where they can make use of the new picnic site. Following the official opening by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh last year, the volunteers, who devote each Tuesday to the project and include Sandal workers, have been making further improvements. The removal of trees and scrub from the strip of land between Bushcliffe Beck and the lake has opened up the views from the picnic site.  The on-going maintenance of the pathway and the regular cutting of grass ensure the area is attractive for visitors. Future plans include the replacement of the wooden section of boardwalk with non-slip plastic, if the necessary money can be raised. Many Sandal Community Association members will be aware of the details of the Lawns Dike Trail – even if they don’t walk around the lake – because Jeff and Don made a presentation to one of the Association’s meetings when a raffle raised £100 for the project.

TOP PICTURE: Sandal Strollers on their April walk pause at the dry stone wall that marks the start of the trail.

RIGHT: A typical view of the new walk


City's first life-saving equipment for public use round the clock

WAKEFIELD has its first life-saving defibrillator available to the public 24 hours every day – and it’s in Sandal. Wakefield Rotary Club, Tesco Express and Yorkshire Ambulance Service have teamed up to install a defibrillator on an outside wall of the Tesco premises at Busy Corner. The £1,872 cost of the machine and its high-security installation has been met by the Rotary club.
The project has been the brainchild of retired Sandal doctor Neale Clark, who said: “It’s those golden moments immediately after someone suffers a heart attack that are so important.” Neale, who is joint chairman of the club’s community service committee as well as being an SCA member, explained that anyone can get a person suffering a cardiac arrest immediate life-saving treatment simply by ringing 999. When they do this they will be told that a defibrillator is available at Tesco Express and the emergency services will tell them how to use it. They will be given a code number so that they can open the safe and take the defibrillator to the patient.
A defibrillator is a piece of medical equipment designed to give a controlled electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat after a cardiac arrest. If it can be attached to a patient within the first two or three minutes, then their chances of survival are around 85 per cent but every minute of delay will cost about 7-10 per cent of that chance.
Dave Jones, Community Defibrillation Officer at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “For those who might be worried about using a defibrillator, there is no risk of causing any further harm to a patient because the defibrillator is designed to recognise only certain shockable heart rhythms. Therefore, if it doesn’t detect a shockable rhythm it won’t allow the shock to be delivered.”
The Rotary club, together with the ambulance service, will arrange training for anyone from the Busy Corner community shops – or any other local residents – who would like to take part in this initiative. For further information call Neale on 01924 253975 or for general information on defibrillators contact Dave Jones on 07917 053604 or email Dave.Jones@yas.nhs.uk
Our top picture shows Dr Neale Clark with Tesco Express store manager Hayley Hirst and Dave Jones, YAS Community Defibrillation Officer, at the official handover on Friday, March 14. The lower photo shows Dave leading the first defib training session held at the New Brookhouse Club in April, attended by staff from Busy Corner shops and Rotarians.

Daisy the brave Labrador wins through at Crufts despite leg injury

A BRAVE dog which suffered a nasty injury only months ago has gone on to earn honours at Crufts. Daisy, owned by SCA member Claire Spencer, was first in the class for Labrador bitches - and she was also exhibited in a Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog class.Four-and-a-half year old black Labrador Daisy – or Cujo Daisy at Blackmine JW to give her her Kennel Club registered name – lives on Mountbatten Avenue, Sandal, with Claire and her family. Daisy has earned nearly 40 rosettes at dog shows across the UK, half of them for scooping first places. This has been more than enough to gain her a Kennel Club junior warrant, which means that she qualifies for entry into Crufts for the rest of her life.But despite all this show success, Daisy remains a family dog and last June she was out for a walk chasing a ball when disaster struck. Claire said: “I was with a friend with another dog at Swillington when I called to Daisy to fetch her ball, not realising it had gone into the road. She ran after it and was clipped on her leg by a passing car, rupturing a ligament in her hock. It was a terrible day and it was all my fault. I'll never forget it.” Extended rehabilitation, including hydrotherapy sessions that are still not over, means that Daisy is largely recovered but not yet fully mended. But this did not stop her going to Crufts where she was shown by Claire's friend, dog breeder Tracey James. Claire said: “Daisy has done extraordinarily well and it's taken a lot of hard on her part as well as mine to get her to the standard she's now at.” Daisy's first award came in February 2010 when she was best puppy in show in Northumbria, but Cruft's has so far been her crowning achievement. There were 548 Labradors in the show, including 298 bitches, which gives the measure of her success.Daisy won her Good Citizen bronze award at the Birmingham Championship Show when she was just a puppy which, along with her wins in the breed classes and her junior warrant, entitled her to be exhibited in the Good Citizen breed class at Crufts. Claire's final comment: “She doesn't let the success go to her head. She's a truly wonderful dog and a great family pet and friend.”

TOP PICTURE: Back home in Sandal, Claire proudly displays Daisy's  latest rosettes

LEFT: An uncomplaining Daisy with her colourful bandaging


'Mad Mike' struck down by food poisoning in Nepal 

MIKE WEBSTER'S planned five-month volunteer project in a remote part of Nepal was cut short when he was struck down by a serious form of food poisoning. Now back home in Stillwell Drive, Sandal, he looked fit and well when he attended a charity pancake lunch in March with friend Roland Mold (left) from Attlee Crescent, Sandal. Mike is 75 next birthday and his friends told him he was mad when he set out for Nepal. He said: “The first month I did exactly what I expected and wanted to, but then I was hit by food poisoning and I finished up on a drip in hospital in Katmandu.” Out in Nepal, Mike was a volunteer with the Tilden Project which aims to improve the lives of children and families in the mountainous village of Aruchour. His job was to help Nepalese teachers with their spoken English. “Their accents are so bad,” he said, “the children’s English finishes up being incomprehensible, too.”  Mike, a member of Birstall Luddites Rotary Club, is the son of Wakefield grocer, the late Guy Webster, who was mayor in 1955. For 16 years Mike worked in the family business, established in the city in 1862. He then spent another 16 years in the plumbing and heating industry before working for a similar period for Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland in their investment and insurance departments.  He is currently a volunteer at Dane Royd Junior School, Hall Green, where he assists pupils on a one-to-one basis with their reading skills.  Previously he spent three years in a similar role at Sandal Magna Junior School. “I’m sure the experience I gained there is going to help me when I get out to Nepal,” he said before he left.  This was not his first visit to the Nepal. In 2006 he went Katmandu and set off trekking in the Everest region, something he aimed to repeat in the mountains around Aruchour, a town of about 4,000 inhabitants in the Syangja region. There is limited sanitation and electricity has only just begun to be introduced into the area. The origins of the Project lie in the tragic death of teenager Tilden Revell in a road accident in August 2001. His friends Chris and Zarina, working with VSO in Nepal at the time, dedicated a school library to his memory. The original donation sent by Tilden’s family to buy books founded a small but effective organisation, providing a range of development projects in Aruchour. For more information, go to http://www.tildenprojectnepal.org.uk/

Sandal businessman helps youngsters plan their lives

SANDAL businessman Adam Pugh has given away thousands of individual planners to pupils through his not-for-profit company Free School Planners. Among the latest to benefit are students at Hendal Primary School at Kettlethorpe.Adam’s work was highlighted in the Wakefield Express and he is pictured here with Hendal pupils by one of the newspaper’s photographers. The planners, which have been approved by Wakefield Council, are ‘homework diaries’ designed to improve home-to-school communication. They include useful information on subjects such as bullying and internet safety. Adam, whose background is in printing and publishing, was quoted as saying: “I am a local man and this scheme is only for Wakefield because I want to give something back to the community. The response has been great and schools are really pleased with the planners, which Ofsted has praised in inspection reports.” Schools can secure planners by calling 07967 166007. For more information click http://freeschoolplanners.org/

Young Chef Emily is in the top three

SANDAL’S Young Chef hopeful, 13-year-old Emily Orr, was up against some stiff opposition when she took third place in the Rotary district final at Betty’s cookery school at Harrogate in February. Emily, a student at Wakefield Girls High School, was sponsored by Wakefield Rotary Club. She became one of seven finalists at district level after scooping the local competition in November. Rotary’s Gill Poole said: “As usual they pulled it out of the bag. They were determined, focused, calm, creative and the results they produced were exceptional. This was not only noted by the judges but also the head of school at Bettys who could not believe the high standard.”  First place was taken by Aimee O’Connell, another 13-year-old, sponsored by Knaresborough Rotary Club, while second place went to 15-year-old Desideria Sardelli, who was backed by the Ilkley club. These two go through to the next round of the Rotary Young Chef competition in Derbyshire. Philip Platts, chairman of the Wakefield club’s youth committee, offered his congratulations to Emily for her achievement in earning a place at the Harrogate event.         Photo by Brian Souter

Go to the July-December 2013 News Archive page to read how Emily earned her place in the district final.

Becket's headteacher 'delighted' at Ofsted report

ST THOMAS a Becket Catholic Secondary School was judged to be ‘good’ in the Ofsted report published in June, following a two-day inspection the previous month. Described as satisfactory two years ago, it is said be “an inclusive school where achievement is good because of the good teaching…” The behaviour and safety of students is judged good with attendance above average. Children are described as “helpful and polite”, co-operate with each other and work well together in a litter-free environment. The report comments: “Standards have continued to rise over the last few years. The starting point for good achievement is the excellent relationship between staff and students amidst an atmosphere of trust.” Support for all students is considered good, particularly for those with special educational needs anddisabilities. The gap between their achievement and of other students has closed rapidly over thelast three years. The Ofsted inspectors’ report says that the governors contribute effectively to the direction of the school and that leadership at all levels is good. To read the report in full, click here. Headteacher John Rooney commented: “We are all delighted with the report. Very many people have worked very hard to create a Catholic school we can be proud of. The report shows that we are on the right track. The lead inspector said that we are on a journey to outstanding; I agree. The report usefully identified ways we can continue to do the best we can for every child in our care.” The inspectors gave four reasons for the school not being judged outstanding, including an observation that careers education and guidance is still a ‘developing aspect’.

Neighbourhood Watch? We'll get it right, police commander tells Association AGM

CHANGES in the structure of local policing were described at the Community Association's annual general meeting by Inspector Ian Williams, who commands the Wakefield Rural area, which has brought all the existing neighbourhood policing teams under his wing. He apologised for the lack of support that had been given to Neighbourhood Watch in recent months but promised that communications would be restored and gaps in NHW coverage identified. "Neighbourhood Watch can be our eyes and ears. We want to hear from you," he said.
Annual reports were presented to the meeting at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on July 23 by chairman Les Goddard and treasurer Phil Carter. Both said the SCA was in good heart financially and appealed for ideas for projects in which the Association could invest to benefit the local community. Our picture shows Inspector Williams with Phil (left) and chairman Les.

Obadiah the Musketeer relives the Civil War at Sandal Castle

OBADIAH the Musketeer returned to Sandal Castle after some 370 years to relive the Yorkshire battles of the English Civil War at an event organised by the Friends on Saturday, May 3. Obadiah – also known as teacher Paul Mackintosh – transforms history with his role-playing and story-telling and he was previously at the castle centre last October in the guise of a highwayman (see below). This time the event was blessed by a gorgeous day so his audience gathered their chairs around him outside the information centre where they could enjoy both the sunshine and his presentation. He not only talked about the Civil War battles, he also described his weapons, in particular his musket and the way it was used. To learn more about Paul’s characters, go to his website at Visitors from the Past.

In our photo on the left Obadiah gives ten-year-old Theo Harmer some tips on how to handle a very heavy musket. In the other picture he is giving some of his audience close-ups of a cannonball and grenade.

Members' work goes on display at library

SANDAL Art Group members worked hard to get together material for their two-week May exhibition at Sandal Library.  Group leader Edwin Hirst said: “They produced some wonderful paintings many of which were on sale during the exhibition. We’re very grateful to the staff at the library for all their help and support.” Our picture shows Sharon Tepper, customer service supervisor at Sandal Library (third from right) with art group members Roger Brown, Joyce Stock, Derick Shaw, Diane Bates and Edwin.

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