Monday, August 20, 2007

When will Ken start helping the people of Edgware?

In February I explained how I had received the support of Barnet Council and Matthew Offord, the Barnet Cabinet Member for Envrionment and Transport to request that Ken Livingstone the Mayor of London and Transport For London consider re-zoning Edgware Station from Zone 5 to Zone 4. By being in Zone 5 commuters to and from Edgware Station are penalised with a higher cost of travel compared to customers using similar stations in the suburbs of Londo, while also receiving a poorer service as trains often don't go to Edgware but instead terminate at Golders Green and Colindale stations.

I therefore recently wrote to Transport for London to see if they had considered my request for an improved service at Edgware Station and for the re-zoning of Edgware to zone 4. If you also want to see improvements to services at Edgware Station you can contact TfL at
020 7126 4071

I will keep you informed of any responses I get from TfL.

Below is a copy of my correspondence.

Dear Sir/Madam

Last February I received support from Barnet Council to lobby Transport for London to move Edgware Station from Zone 5 to Zone 4. By being in Zone 5 commuters to and from Edgware Station are penalised with a higher cost of travel compared to customers using similar stations in the suburbs of London. At the same time as having to pay more to travel to and from Edgware Station, these same customers also receive a lower quality service. This is because many trains terminate at either Golders Green or Colindale stations and so have to change trains and have their journeys delayed, which is becoming an increasing occurrence.

As I have still not heard whether Transport for London have considered the request from Barnet Council to move Edgware station to zone 4 I hope that you have not forgotten about this request and I look forward to a favourable decision.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Weider
Cllr for Edgware Ward

83 Highview Avenue, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9TY Tel - 020 8958 0640


Dear Councillor Weider

Thank you for your recent enquiry, about whether Edgware Station might be re-zoned for charging purposese, from Zone 5 to Zone 4.

This issue was , as I am sure you are aware, raised with the Mayor by Leo Boland, Barnet's Chief Executive, earlier this year . The Mayor replied on 15th February - a copy of that letter is attached.

As the Mayor explains, we need to bear in mind that if some fares go down, as would be the case if we re-zoned Edgware to Zone 4, other fares must go up to maintain London Underground’s revenue overall. This revenue is essential if we are to continue to invest in the modernisation of the Underground.

As promised in the letter, we have looked at the zoning of Edgware station in comparison to other stations in north London, on the basis of distance from Zone 1. This showed that, overall, the allocation of Edgware within Zone 5 is correct . As a result, the level of fares from that station are not such as to warrant other fares going up to make up the consequential revenue loss were it to be re-zoned. Therefore, we do not intend to re-zone Edgware to Zone 4.

I am sorry this response is not what you were hoping to hear.

Yours sincerely

Chris Widgery

Borough Liaison Manager
10th Floor, Windsor House
42-50 Victoria Street
020 7126 4071


Dear Mr Widgery

Thank you for your response to my email. While I can understand TfL's desire to maintain the overall revenue of the underground, what I can deduce from this is that TfL does not care about the concerns about the residents of the outer suburbs of London, as much as it does those residents living in the centre of London.

While you have addressed the issue of why Edgware Station can not be moved to Zone 4, you have not addressed my other concern about trains regularly terminating at Golders Green and Colindale stations. As a result, while commuters travelling to and from Edgware Station have to pay a higher price, these commuters leaving from Edgware Station have fewer trains per hour leaving from Edgware Station than further up the line, despite it being a busy station. While when travelling northbound trains often terminate at Golders Green or Colindale stations, many times unexpectedly, meaning that commuters travelling to Edgware have to wait for another train and than struggle to get on to what is already a crowded train.

I look forward to you letting me know that TfL will be providing a better service of trains to Edgware, if given your argument the price of the journey can not be reduced.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Weider
Cllr for Edgware Ward

83 Highview Avenue, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9TY Tel - 020 8958 0640

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Science in Barnet

As I have previously reported over the past year I have chaired a working group examining the quality of science teaching in Barnet schools. Last week I was pleased to present a report to the Education and Children Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Over recent years there has been lots of controversy that fewer and fewere students are studying science beyond GCSE's as it is seen as too difficult a subject to study at A-Level and university. As a result some university science departments were shutting and there have been worries that we will have a lack of science graduates to work in Britain's scientific industries and to teach science at school.

In Barnet other councillors and I were worried that if the excellent pupils of Barnet were not studying science beyond GCSE, where would the future science graduates come from in this country.

One way in which the Government has tried to reverse this trend is to introduce a new GCSE science curriculum. Therefore, as part of our review into how science is taught in Barnet's schools the committee decided to look at how successful the new curriculum had been.

We carried out a number of interviews with science teachers and pupils across Barnet.
What was heartening to see was that in Barnet the state of science does not seem to be as bad as some news reports have suggested. In a number of schools there is already a high take-up of science courses at A-Level and many schools also offer more vocational science courses. In addition all schools which we went to had a full compliment of science teachers who had science degrees.

We also found that exam results were also high and so the subjects may not be as hard as the perception that may exist.

In producing our report we found that schools in Barnet were happy with how Barnet Local Authority had helped them in preparing for the new GCSE science curriculum.

An interesting area of our findings were that pupils and teachers found the new GCSE curriculum more interesting than the previous traditional curriculum. This was one of the aims of the new curriculum to open pupil's up to the real world nature of science, by showing how science affects our diets, our climate, nuclear power and many other interesting areas.

However, we found that this change in style compromised the success which our more able pupils can achieve. We found that the more able students were not being challenged by the new curriculum and so may struggle to have a strong understanding of scientific theories if they are to carry on to study science at A-Levels and university. We therefore called on the local authority to offer support to science teachers to provide a challenging curriculum for all pupils particularly for the more able pupils. We also called on the Cabinet Member of Children's Services to write to the Secretary of State for Schools to advise that in Barnet we feel the GCSE science curriculum need to provide a more challenging option for the more able pupils.

In working on this report I found it very interesting looking at how science is taught in our schools and the hard work that the local authority employees and teachers put into helping our pupils to achieve to their potential.

It was also important to note know that it is important to make subjects enjoyable to encourage students to work in school but at the same time, theories and issues must be taught properly so that they also get a full understanding of the subject.

The full report can be found at: