A New Adventure

Archive for the ‘Hook Published Articles’ Category

More Students Take Mixed Pathways To Uni

While A levels continue to be the traditional route into higher education, over a quarter (26%) of students accepted for study in 2015 were accepted from a BTEC qualification according to a study by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

ucas logo






The Progressions Pathways project was developed by UCAS to address the challenges faced by teachers, students, parents and universities in understanding the range of newer, non-traditional study routes into higher education. Learning programmes may now comprise a mixture of A levels, International Baccalaureate and Applied General qualifications (e.g. BTEC).

Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive said: “The aim of the project was to look across the whole landscape and provide information and advice for both learners and universities on the issues they should respectively consider to secure appropriate, fair and transparent progression to higher education for those holding less traditional qualifications. While all pathways can lead to university, an apprenticeship or employment, each has its own strengths and challenges in helping young people fulfil their aspirations.

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of Sixth Form Colleges Association said: “Although Sixth Form Colleges deliver around one fifth of the A levels sat in England each year, BTECs are growing in popularity. Our latest analysis shows that 88% of Sixth Form Colleges are now offering BTEC qualifications.





“Study programmes that combine BTEC and A level qualifications are becoming increasingly common and have proved to be a highly effective way of helping young people to progress to higher education and employment. Overall, we think the take up of applied general qualifications and the new Tech levels is likely to increase as schools and colleges adapt to the introduction of the new style A levels.”

UCAS is a registered charity. They manage applications from around 700,000 people each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 370 providers across the UK.


I am not a huge fan of American television and I make no apology for that. I am a traditional Brit. I like British humour; dark, lavetorial, dry, ironic and sarcastic. I am also quite fussy when choosing a documentary to watch. I have to be in the right mood. With precious little free-time for self-indulgence I am very selective about what I watch, unless it is a programme on pandas – I always have time to watch pandas.

Making a Murderer, a new documentary released on Netflix would not usually have ticked the right boxes for me from reading the programme summary but I decided to give it a go. An hour later I was captivated. I could barely wait the required 15 seconds for the next episode to start. With ten compulsive episodes in this series, the sun was rising by the time I got to bed.

In 2002, Steven Avery was released from prison after serving 18 years for a crime he did not commit. The law enforcement authorities of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin had apparently been telling untruths. It appears they may have known who committed the heinous crime, a sexual assault on a local woman, but rather than follow those leads they chose to prosecute Avery as they did not like this man or his family.

Steven Avery arrested in 1985. Photo source: www.ibtimes.com

Steven Avery arrested in 1985. Photo source: http://www.ibtimes.com


The alibis and timelines proved that Avery was nowhere near the crime scene. However, an unfortunate resemblance to the actual assailant and the bias of the law enforcement authorities saw Avery incarcerated. Eventually, developments in DNA technology and support from his legal counsel saw Avery released. But he was not to live happily ever after.

Within two years of his release and while pursuing a case for compensation against Manitowoc County which could have seen Avery awarded $30,000,000, a local woman Teresa Halbach disappeared. The discovery of her vehicle on Avery’s property and a range of incriminating evidence see him accused of murder. Or was this another frame-up by the law enforcers?

Filmed over a ten-year period, every episode is packed with twists and turns and ends on a cliff-hanger making it as compelling as a blockbuster thriller. Although, the key characters are not glamorous Hollywood types; they are the simple and real country folk of the Midwest states of the USA.

The filming of courtroom scenes and candid interviews with Avery, his family and legal representatives enable this true-life drama to expose weaknesses and possible corruption within the American justice system and the manipulation of vulnerable people, those who the constitution should be protecting.


Watch a trailer here.



Cornwall Council Rejects Falmouth Housing Plans

Revised plans to build a housing estate off Bickland Water Road in Falmouth were rejected by a Cornwall Council planning committee this week by 11 votes to 2 with one abstention.

In a report prepared by Cornwall Council’s planning officer, the new submission, which reduced the number of houses from 153 to 94 and included a landscaped corridor to maintain views of Budock Church in the distance, was recommended for approval.

Councillor Grenville Chappel of Falmouth Town Council spoke to object to the development and recommended the revised plans be refused stating: “Budock Church is a significant heritage asset and the impact of the development will affect the setting and change the character of the land and the current views of this iconic grade two star church will be lost.”

Steve Russell, director of Midas Developments said: “Since our previous scheme was dismissed at appeal, we have reviewed the decision and the commentary of the panel inspector and worked closely in our professional team to fully address the previous reasons for refusal.”

Mr Russell added that the revised proposal had addressed the two main issues of concern: “The planning inspector confirmed that the development did not adversely affect the character and appearance of the area when viewed from Bickland Water Road, nor would any development be visible from Budock Water.”

Revised plans for the Bickland Water Road housing development. Picture source Julia Conway

Revised plans for the Bickland Water Road housing development. Picture source Julia Conway


Councillors raised concerns about the road junction at the proposed site believing it to be on a dangerous bend and that schools in the area were nearly full to capacity. There were also concerns about drainage and flooding with a recent photograph of the site known as Bull Field showing it to be waterlogged after the recent rain. In addition, it was raised that the development would cause the loss of greenfield separation between Falmouth and Budock Water village.

In summing up reasons for refusal, a committee spokesman said: “The proposed development by reason of its location and localising effects would result in a highly adverse impact on the rural setting of Budock Church, a grade two star listed building which relies on the protection of its wider rural setting.”

Youth service secures funding for another year

The town council has agreed to provide funding for Penryn Youth Service to enable them to continue running for another year.

The service, run by the Dracaena Centre, was piloted in Falmouth last year to help improve young people’s lives and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

dracaena logo


At a previous meeting in October 2015, it was decided that £6,750 would be needed to continue the service and a suitable venue was being sought for meetings in Penryn.


The council agreed that the Old Gentlemen’s Shelter on Quay Hill was available and a suitable venue for the Young Women’s Café.

Other services provided by the youth service include drop-in sessions offering advice on housing, relationships and finances.



Let’s dredge to transform our waterfront

Retired businessman and former Falmouth Town Centre Manager David Pollard has outlined his vision to regenerate the waterways of Penryn and Truro.

In his presentation of The Jigsaw Project at the Penryn Town Council meeting on Monday, Mr Pollard explained that by dredging a two-metre-deep channel in the centre of the Penryn River, the estuary and waterway could be opened up to river transport. This would enable more waterborne recreation and possibly provide a ferry transport link which are currently restricted due to the build-up of silt.

Penryn waterfront. Photo source Alice Shelock

Penryn waterfront. Photo source Alice Shelock


Demonstrating photographs of Penryn harbour at low tide, Mr Pollard said: “Penryn has the most to gain from it… there is great potential, if you reawaken that wonderful asset, that is water, just outside your front door.”

Mr Pollard added: “Regenerating the waterfronts would be an asset for residents, businesses and tourists.” He also explained that a lightweight catamaran could carry up to 300 passengers and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to travelling by car.

Falmouth Housing Development Recommended For Approval

A controversial new housing development scheme on the outskirts of Falmouth has been recommended for approval by Cornwall Council planning officers.

Midas Commercial Development Ltd submitted revised plans for the construction of 94 houses off Bickland Water Road on land adjacent to St Budock Church. The plans include the provision of 33 affordable houses.

Although the original proposal for 154 houses was recommended for approval by the planning officer in February 2014, the planning committee objected on the grounds of the harm that the development would cause to the character and appearance of the area and that it would have an adverse impact on the setting of the church.

In December 2014 Midas Commercial Development Ltd appealed against the refusal by Cornwall Council to grant planning permission but the appeal was dismissed. The main issues were the effect of the proposed development on the setting of St Budock Church which is listed grade II* and the effect on the character and appearance of the area.

Since then the building company have scaled down the development and made the most recent application in September 2015 which takes into account the impact of the development on the views of the nearby church.

Midas director Steve Russell said: “We’ve worked hard to take on board the Inspector’s concerns and have come up with a scheme which we hope councillors will feel able to support.

'Bull Field'  the site of the proposed development. Photo source Julia Conway

‘Bull Field’ the site of the proposed development. Photo source Julia Conway

“We have significantly reduced the number and density of homes to create more open space, and are maintaining the historic footpath to the church. Crucially, we are proposing to gift two fields next to the church to the town council which has been identified by them for use as a cemetery. This would be legally binding on us as part of any planning permission and would not only protect the rural setting of the church, but also maintain separation between Falmouth and Budock.

“We believe this scheme would make a valuable contribution to Falmouth’s future housing needs including 35 per cent affordable homes, for which there is acute demand in the area.”

Falmouth resident Steve Tribes said: “I strongly object to these plans. The rural landscape around Falmouth is in danger of being systematically destroyed. Budock Water is in danger of becoming engulfed by the spread of housing estates. If this development goes ahead it will join Falmouth and Budock Water together.

“The proposed site is the buffer between Falmouth and Budock with the ancient little church town, which consists of St Budock Church and former old farm buildings at its heart. If building is allowed on this site it will destroy a quiet, peaceful, rural landscape, with lovely views across the field to the church, forever.

“The increase in traffic along Bickland Water Road would also be a major problem. It’s already a problem, due to the nearby school, industrial units and existing road junction. The building of 96 new houses on the proposed site would make matters much worse.”

Alison Goodman said: “I would really like to show my support for the new housing scheme. I have always rented and if the market stays the way it is, I will do so for the rest of my life. This is really disheartening, so it’s great to hear about affordable housing being proposed locally.”

Funding Secured For Glasney Playing Field

Work will soon be underway to improve the poor condition of Glasney playing field in Penryn as up to £165,000 funding has been made available.

Glasney Greenspace Regeneration Project (GGSRP), a volunteer organisation, have been working with Cornwall Council and Penryn Town Council to secure Section 106 funding.

GGSRP representative, Pip Carlton-Barnes said on their website: “In its current state the water-logged playing field is barely accessible for the larger part of the year and in recent weeks we have seen the removal of the dangerous goal posts.

“To date we have managed to get the poor drainage investigated and then funded by section 106 money…We have cleared many loads of fly-tipped rubbish from the valley and uncovered beautiful old hand built follies from beneath 30 or so years’ worth of vegetation. We have even planted 5000 daffodil bulbs to bring 5000 rays of sunshine to everyone who passes through.”

The old BMX track at Glasney Field. Photo source Julia Conway

The old BMX track at Glasney Field. Photo source Julia Conway

Cornwall Council’s Public Space Officer, Donald Martin told Hook: “What we are doing at the moment is working very closely with the Town Council and the GGSRP group and money has been earmarked for that site.


“There are a number of priorities; one is drainage, another is tree works and there are footpath improvements to be done. The BMX track is a priority as well to repair it and bring it up to standard.

“The next part of the process is looking at the extent of the tree works and working with engineers to come up with a suitable plan for the footpaths and the main playing field. We are also working with a contractor on how we bring the skate park up to standard. When we have all that we together we will go back to the Town Council with costings. Then we will agree a programme of works. We are pushing to get that through this year.”