EDUCATION: A TEACHER told a student he had six marks out of 20 for a project. The student said it was worth more.

The teacher agreed, saying that it was worth 18 marks, with the parent getting 12. Another student got 17 marks and explained how helpful his parent had been.

When asked to develop points arising out of the work, the first student needed assistance to do so, whereas the second used the work as a springboard to develop in-depth aspects of the subject.

Before the examination both students were coached in the approach that the chief examiner required and both got A passes.

The teacher reported that the first student had completed the course with assistance and the knowledge gained would help him through life.

The report on the second student said that he had completed the course with the minimum of assistance and demonstrated ability to study in depth.

The teacher's report does not accompany the results. That is why some universities are setting their own tests to establish the ability of students to study at degree level. - Bill Morehead, Darlington.


WITH the current level of interest in how our food is produced, I am sure readers will want to know of the scale of suffering faced by broiler chickens reared intensively for meat.

New scientific research shows more than a quarter of chickens have moderate or severe lameness that impairs ability to move. This means more than 200 million broiler chickens, of the total 800 million reared annually in the UK, suffer from leg disorders. Some have difficulty reaching the food and water points in the broiler sheds; in the worst cases they can barely move at all.

A key factor in the high level of lameness is that modern chickens have been pushed to grow quickly and so reach slaughter weight in about 40 days. The birds' legs fail to keep pace with the rapidly growing body and often buckle under the strain.

The latest scientific study shows that, despite industry claims to the contrary, the level of suffering caused by lameness in factory-farmed broiler chickens continues to be high.

As consumers, we can help avoid this suffering by choosing free range, organic or Freedom Food chickens produced to high standards of welfare. - Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive, Compassion in World Farming, Petersfield, Hampshire.


AFTER a long ban, the trade in live calves to the Continent, an ugly and cruel business, has been resumed.

Thousands of British-born "unwanted" male calves are once again being subjected to excessively long journeys the length and breadth of Europe, inadequately cared for, to face short lives in veal crates before being slaughtered.

It is unnecessary because acceptable alternatives exist which could be of considerable benefit to British consumers. For more information, readers can visit www. ciwf. org or telephone Compassion in World Farming on 01730 237 360 to ask for the full facts on this issue. - Patricia Ramsay, East Cowton, Northallerton.


I AM appalled at the reported opposition by some obscure Labour backbenchers to a proposed state funeral for Baroness Thatcher.

These same people would willingly hold a state funeral for the Cuban dictator Castro if they thought they could get away with it.

Baroness Thatcher put the great back into Britain. She transformed a stagnant economy and re-established Britain as a world power. She liberated the country from socialism, liberated industry from abuse of union power, and liberated the Falklands from fascism.

Sadly, treacherous men brought her down before she was able to liberate us from Euro federalism.

She undoubtedly made some hard, and even unpopular, decisions. However, these were necessary decisions that transformed the country, making Britain a more vibrant and prosperous society.

Her crime, in the eyes of the fascist left, was not being brought down by union bosses or strikes against the country like Heath and Callaghan before her.

Hopefully, she will not be leaving us any time soon. - Des More, Darlington.


I WAS disappointed to see the front page headline, "Gunmen bikers in cash raid" (Echo, Aug 22).

While it is proper to report the details of the robbery, I question why their mode of transport should be headlined.

I have yet to see the headline "Gunmen drivers (or motorists) in cash raid", even though cars are usually the preferred getaway vehicle.

During my 40 years of riding motorcycles I have encountered "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" but am pleased to note the good outnumber the rest.

Of course, there is a hooligan element in motorcycling, as there is in most walks of life, but, as obtaining a licence for a motorcycle now is so complex, these are very much in the minority. - William Gibson, Hartlepool.


THERE is now a strong possibility that Labour will burden the taxpayer further with the bill for the security of Tony Blair and Cabinet ministers when attending political functions.

Labour now has a cash crisis following the last General Election and a lack of donors in the wake of the "cash for honours" scandal. Is it now no money, no honours?

Labour already receives a government grant for this (via the taxpayer) but it is not enough.

The chairman of Labour's National Executive stated that Labour is now £27m in the red. If any of us are in the red, we tighten our belts - no luxuries, smaller cars. We cannot ask our fellow taxpayer to bale us out.

A Labour Party spokesman stated: "Nothing has been decided yet." Watch this space. - L Patterson, Norton, Stockton.


REGARDING Tony Kelly's letter (HAS, Aug 16). To defend the German cities against Bomber Command it took 900,000 troops to man the anti-aircraft guns, radar and searchlights.

Just imagine, when Hitler was a few miles from Moscow, how that number would have helped to take the city. Also, just think of D-Day when the Allies landed in France if there had been 900,000 extra defenders.

So no matter what Allied bombers (American and British) did, it reduced the German army.

- E Reynolds, Wheatley Hill, Co Durham.


IN my garden, the buddleia bush is supreme. From July, on sunny days, I enjoy 20-plus butterflies and dozens of bees gorging the nectar. At dusk, they are replaced by moths and other insects.

The bush is fairly large, and in a pot. In October, I cut it back anticipating the summer bounty the following year. - NA Hare, Darlington.


YOUR article about redeveloping the City of Durham and reference to BT's building at Providence Row (Echo, Aug 21) has raised questions about its future.

I would like to make clear that this is an important operational BT building and it will remain so. - Eric Barr, Head, BT Regional Media Relations.


REGARDING the possible takeover of Newcastle United by the Jersey investment consortium, the Belgravia Group (Echo, Aug 21). It might be just the tonic if new investors did take over after all the years of winning nothing. Having a change could mean things only get better for the fans. - N Tate, Darlington.