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ARTICLE

You have read the extract below as part of a magazine article on the role of the
elderly in society today. Readers were asked to write articles for possible
publication in the magazine giving their opinions and expanding on the views
expressed. You decide to write an article responding to the points raised and
expressing your own views.

How can we even begin to talk about progress and civilization in a


society like ours, where the elderly are almost punished for having
reached an advanced age?

More and more, we neglect the older generation, or at best undervalue


the contributions they have made and could continue to make. Not
only do we have little or no respect for their opinions, but their physical
and mental health is also of little interest to us, and all too often they
end up in residential homes.

GROWING OLD TODAY


The medical breakthroughs and related advances of the last century have
extended life expectancy. Today, the percentage of the population who fall into
the third age category is ever increasing. The prospect of living longer has an
obvious appeal, but could the problems outweigh the benefits?

Society is often condemned for mistreating the elderly and ignoring what they
have to offer. Unfortunately, the idea of the extended family, with many
generations living in close proximity to each other, seems to be on the decline,
as so many people today are forced to move away in order to earn a living,
leaving their elderly parents to manage as well as they can. Furthermore, it
cannot be denied that there are some who view older family members as little
more than a burden, a potential drain on family resources. In such cases, the
frailer members of the family find themselves in residential care, looking forward
to increasingly rare visits from family and friends.

While for some, old age can be a lonely experience, there are still many
societies where the elderly are valued and appreciated for what they can offer to
the family unit. Grandparents have years of experience as parents, and of life in
general, and can, therefore, contribute greatly to the upbringing of their
grandchildren. They also make it possible for both parents to go out and work,
safe in the knowledge that their children are in the very best of hands. In many
parts of the world, this is the reality and the older members of society are not
only appreciated, but are also cared for when they are sick and so are able to
enjoy the prospect of growing old with dignity and love. What is so often
overlooked when the elderly have to be cared for in homes is that this is the last
resort of family members, who do, indeed, care about their well-being.

In conclusion, while it is clear that the aged may sometimes be neglected, it is


not the norm. Progress cannot be said to have made us less able to feel
compassion and respect for the elderly.
REVIEW
You are employed as a restaurant critic for a local newspaper. A restaurant in
your town has recently been renovated and reopened under new management.
Write a review of it for the newspaper, comparing it to what it was like before
and saying whether or not you would recommend it.

The Green Spoon


The Green Spoon reopened last night after having been closed for six months for
extensive renovations. The restaurant, which serves traditional English fare, is
now under new management and also has a new chef.

The Green Spoon has the advantage of being located on the river and, as it was
a warm night, I opted for one of the tables on the newly-opened but rather
cramped first-floor balcony, which overlooks the water. No doubt on a
weeknight it would be less busy there and perhaps the perfect place to enjoy a
quiet romantic dinner. On cooler evenings, customers can dine in the spacious
refurbished dining area. While the old-fashioned charm of the original restaurant
has been retained, there are now some rather interesting modern features such
as the new chrome and wood bar. In the winter, the best tables must be those
around the open fireplace which, despite being a new addition to the restaurant,
gives it a certain rustic charm.

Although the restaurant boasts a wide range of traditional English food, the
menu that night was, in my opinion, rather limited. I decided to try the Beef
Wellington, recommended to me by the waiter as one of the chefs specialities,
but the dish was not particularly impressive. The beef, while tender enough, was
rather tasteless and the accompanying vegetables did not seem very fresh.
Vegetarians, unfortunately, are hardly catered for. The red wine I chose to
accompany the meal, however, was both reasonably priced and of a high
quality. In fact, wine lovers will appreciate the extensive range of wines
available.

While it cannot be denied that the renovations are both tasteful and fitting,
unfortunately, the high standard of the food on the original menu at The Green
Spoon seems to be lacking. My recommendation to anyone wanting to try The
Green Spoon would be to settle for a bottle of wine at the bar or on the balcony
in the summer.
ESSAY
Your college tutor has asked to read the extract below, which is part of a letter
sent to a newspaper, and to write an essay giving your opinion on the subject of
changes to the school curriculum, explaining why you feel the way you do.

The school curriculum, in order to prepare young people for life today,
needs to be changed. There must be less emphasis on traditional,
academic subjects and more on those which teach the skills needed to
cope in the twenty-first century. After all, arent computer skills, for
example, more valuable than knowledge of history when we go out into
the world in search of employment.

Nobody would deny the importance of a good education, but definitions of


exactly what this consists of are apt to change. Perhaps the demands of life and
work in the twenty-first century justify a reassessment of today's education
system.

There was once a time when only the most academic subjects were valued.
However, the world has changed significantly and many top employment
opportunities today are to be found in the field of computer technology. I am of
the opinion, therefore, that schoolchildren who are capable and interested
should have the opportunity to study this subject. Anyone who is not computer-
literate has difficulty finding a good job these days, even those with more
academic qualifications. It follows, then, that basic computer skills and more
advanced studies for those interested should be taught in all schools and be
made more of a priority than they are at present.

Some would argue that by making radical changes to the curriculum, we are
likely to deprive learners of the opportunity to master basic skills such as
reading, writing and maths, but this is not the case. Putting more emphasis on
foreign languages, for example, which are necessary in today's global market,
does not mean that other core subjects would automatically be ignored. The
child who has no interest in maths and has already covered the basics should be
allowed to concentrate on something that might be of more use in the future, be
it computer studies, an extra foreign language, graphic design or cookery.

It is my firm belief that unless we prepare students for the demands of the
workplace as it is, we are doing them a great disservice and our national
economy will ultimately pay the price when we are unable to compete in the
European or global market.

To sum up, I would argue that schools have a responsibility to the young people
who attend them. On no account should we overlook the fact that they are the
workforce of the future and need to be equipped with the skills to compete in
the workplace.
REPORT
The History Society at your college arranges trips for local schoolchildren. You
are a member of the society and have been asked to visit a new exhibition (at a
museum, gallery, etc.) with a historical theme and to write a report describing
your visit, giving information about the exhibition and place where it is being
held, and commenting on whether it would appeal to a party of schoolchildren.

The Roman Britain exhibition


This report relates to my visit to the Roman Britain exhibition, currently being
mounted at the Archaeological Museum situated on River Street. The exhibition,
which runs until the end of June, aims to inform the visitor about the life of the
average Briton occupation.

Exhibits

I arrived at the museum when it opened at nine oclock and started my visit with
the reproduction, in miniature, of a typical Roman settlement. From here, I
moved into the main gallery, where scenes from the above-mentioned
settlement have been re-created using life-size models, some of them
automated. This realistic reproduction, in particular, seemed to appeal
especially to the younger visitors. It features a typical farmhouse with waxwork
models of members of the family going about their daily work, a Roman villa
with reproductions of the beautiful mosaics which we associate with that time,
and a scene from the village blacksmiths. Unfortunately, this part of the
exhibition was quite crowded and what it has to offer to could not always be
enjoyed in peace and quiet. On leaving this part of the gallery, visitors had the
opportunity to find out more information. For example, there was a video which
explained how the Romans heated their houses.

Facilities

The Archaeological Museum has a small self-service caf, which serves a


selection of sandwiches and is moderately-priced. During my visit, it was
extremely busy and the queue was slow-moving. Outside there is an attractive
picnic area, which seemed particularly popular with school groups. There is also
a souvenir shop, which stocks a wide range of educational toys as well as
postcards and posters. However, there were few things available that directly
related to the exhibition I had visited. On the plus side, the museum has easy
access for those in wheelchairs.

In general, the exhibition has a great deal to offer school-age children and would
undoubtedly encourage an interest in history. An attempt should be made,
however, to arrange a visit on a day when the museum is unlikely to be
crowded.
LETTER
You have read the extract below as part of a magazine article concerning
violence on TV. You decide to write a letter responding to the points raised and
expressing your own views, in the hope that your letter will be published.

The only way that we can hope to reduce the incidence of violent
crime is for there to be more control over what is being broadcast into
the nations homes every day.

Childrens programmes, especially cartons, contain scenes of violence


and children cannot always distinguish between what is real and what
isnt. Teenagers do not fare much better, as they cannot help but be
influenced by the horror films they watch so often. Finally, adults too
are being affected and even encouraged to commit crimes.

Dear Sir / Madam,

I read an article in your magazine about the relationship between violence and
television, and am writing to share my views on the matter. I am afraid I have to
disagree with most of what was stated.

To begin with, I fail to understand how children's programmes can be considered


damaging. While it might be true that there are violent scenes in some cartoons,
I think it is unlikely that children1 who watch them feel they should mimic the
behaviour of cartoon characters. I also disagree that children are unable to tell
the difference between reality and what they see on their television] screens. If
there is any truth in this, it can only apply to a small minority. Anyway, most of
what young children watch is both entertaining and educational.

Unfortunately, many young people today do watch horror films regularly, but
there is no proven link between violent crime and such films. Most teenagers
have enough common sense to understand that such films are not intended to
be lessons in how to behave. Although we do sometimes hear of cases where a
teenager has acted out a scene from a film and caused actual harm to someone,
the perpetrator undoubtedly had a psychological problem and would probably
have resorted to violence even without the influence of television.

My final point refers to the adult population. It is here that I have to voice my
disagreement most strongly. People commit crimes for many reasons such as
poverty, revenge and greed, but not because of what is aired on television. After
all, would a lawyer consider a violent scene in a television series an adequate
defence in a court of law?
It seems clear that television is not responsible for the high incidence of violent
crime in our country. While it would be a good idea to have less violence on our
screens, other measures have to be taken to make our streets safer.

I hope to see my letter in a forthcoming issue of your magazine.

Yours faithfully,

ARTICLE
An international magazine for young people has invited readers to contribute to
a special edition entitled A Great Time Was Had by All. Write an article
describing a memorable and enjoyable festival or celebration you once attended
while on holiday. Explain why you enjoyed it.

A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL


Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, St. Nicholas' Day is celebrated
throughout Switzerland. In the small village of Kussnacht, on the shores of lake
Lucerne, an enchanting procession take place on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to observe this magical procession. As


darkness fell, I joined the villagers in one of the streets running along the
lakeside and, full of anticipation, waited for the procession to begin. All of a
sudden, the glow of nearly two hundred lights could be seen in the distance. As
the procession got closer, the lake was lit up in a spectacular way and we could
see the snow falling in the soft light. I saw that each man in the procession was
dressed in a long white robe with a red sash and had an outsized bishop's mitre
on his head. These elaborate head-pieces, some of them six feet tall, were made
of cardboard and lit up from within by a candle.

The men in the parade are said to be accompanying St. Nicholas as he makes
his way around the village. But it is not a solemn occasion as following behind
came a rowdy group of men, some wearing heavy bells around their necks and
others holding horns. The village resounded suddenly with the clanging of bells,
the blowing of horns and the rhythm of a brass band that had started up.

We followed this noisy group around the streets of the village and drank in the
atmosphere. The sky was bright with a million stars and everyone, in keeping
with the season, was happy. As a visitor to the area, I felt lucky to be able to
witness and enjoy this traditional parade, which has not changed over the
centuries or been turned into a tourist attraction. It would enchant anyone who
wants to experience an authentic Swiss celebration in beautiful surroundings.

For anyone lucky enough to be in Switzerland at this time of year, a visit to


Kussnacht should not be missed. For me it was the perfect beginning to the
Christmas celebrations.
PROPOSAL
Your local newspaper has published a special supplement which looks at the
problem of unemployment in your area. You have read the announcement
below and have decided to send in a proposal in which you evaluate the
situation and make some recommendations.

Our town was once a thriving and prosperous place, but is now fast
on its way to becoming a depressed area due to the high rate of
unemployment. We are inviting readers to send in proposals
suggesting what can be done to solve this problem and build up our
towns economy.

___________________________________________________________________

This proposal suggests ways in which the unemployment problem in the local
area could be addressed.

Evaluation of the situation

The high unemployment rate is having a devastating impact on our town. It is


causing shops to close and the crime rate to rise. Families are finding it
increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Furthermore, with so few employment
opportunities around, those who are currently unemployed are not even left with
the hope that they could soon find a way of making a living. It is clear that
steps need to be taken. Some ideas are outlined below.

Recommendations

1. One obvious solution is job creation. This is the key to fighting


unemployment. Incentives need to be offered to attract new companies to
the area and I believe the local council has a role to play in this. If they
were to create a small industrial estate just outside the town and subsidise
any companies wishing to set up there, jobs could be created.

2. Another answer would be to concentrate on improving and developing the


town. As we all know, the more a town has to offer, the more likely it is to
attract new businesses. By investing in the new sports centre the townn so
desperately needs, or a cinema complex, perhaps, the council would not
only provide jobs but also improve the quality of life for people living here.

3. It is also essential that free training and educational schemes are set up.
These could be held at the local college and would be designed to offer
training for the kind of employment opportunities that do still exist in the
area. Those wishing to gain academic qualifications to secure a place at a
university would also be catered for. In this way, the town's unemployed
would be better equipped to compete for jobs.

If suggestions such as these are taken seriously, I am convinced that our town
can be saved. It is in the interests of all concerned that it reverts to being the
thriving place it once was.
LETTER
Your local library is going to have an exhibition honouring people form the area
who in their lifetime made an important contribution to society. Write a letter to
the library staff recommending someone you think should be included and
explaining why.

1st November 2003

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to suggest that you include Margaret Brown in your forthcoming


exhibition. Her contribution to society does, I believe, make her deserving of
such an honour.

Margaret was born in our town at the turn of the last century, the daughter of a
wealthy banker. She enjoyed a privileged upbringing but, unlike many of her
peers, grew up to have a strong social conscience. This can be partly attributed
to the influence of her aunt, who was involved in prison reform. When she was
only 21, both her parents died and she came into a considerable fortune which
she decided to put to good use. It was her intelligence and independence of
spirit, both so typical of her character, that made her refuse to listen to relatives
who were advising her to marry wisely and place her fortune into her husbands
hands. Margaret had other ideas and was determined not to abandon her plans.

Following a conversation with a family friend, Margaret decided she wanted to


do something to help local children whose parents couldnt afford a holiday or
even a shorter excursion. Her organisation was staffed by volunteers and it was
Margarets fortune that paid for transport, accommodation and anything else
that was necessary. She knew she had made the right decision, she said, when
she heard the first group of childrens cries of excitement as they saw the sea
for the first time. It is a comment consistent with Margaret altruism.

Since those early days, her organisation has expanded and now has branches all
over the country. As well as offering free holidays to children who might not
otherwise be in a position to enjoy one, the charity also works closely with
homes for children with special needs. Her achievements have brought
happiness to thousands of children over the years and, for this reason, deserve
to be remembered.

I look forward to visiting the exhibition and sincerely hope that part of it is
dedicated to Margaret Brown.

Yours faithfully,

John Williams
PROPOSAL

You are employed by a travel company that specializes in holidays for young
people, particularly school groups. Your manager has asked you to write a
proposal on how to attract more customers. Within your proposal you should
include ideas on how to improve the service the company offers and widen the
range of holidays.

The purpose of this proposal is to outline ways in which 'Youth Travel' could
attract more customers.

Publicity

Currently, our company advertises in a number of newspapers and magazines


whose readers are more likely to be adults than children. Rather than trying to
sell our holidays to the parents of the children they are designed for, we should
be targeting the young people themselves. In other words, we should be
advertising in publications read by teenagers today. Furthermore, we should
send a copy of our brochure to schools throughout the country, emphasising the
fact that we specialise in arranging holidays for parties of schoolchildren. By
increasing awareness of what we have to offer, I am convinced we will be able to
increase interest in our trips too.

Improving the Service

It is standard practice at 'Youth Travel' for any inquiries interested parties may
have about our holidays to be dealt with over the phone. We could vastly
improve our service if we opened offices around the country so some potential
customers, at least, would be able to come and visit us in person. We could also
employ representatives who could visit any schools which expressed an interest
in booking one of our holidays. Moreover, if we had videos made that showed
what some of our holidays involve, including the resort, the accommodation and
the excursions we arrange, these could be sent to interested schools to give
them a better idea of what our company offers.

Widening the Range of Holidays

At the moment, we offer adventure holidays in Scotland and Wales and skiing
holidays in the French Alps. While these appeal to young people, it would
certainly payoff to find new locations and offer new activities. I feel that tours
with an educational focus would probably be popular with schools, for example,
a coach tour of the archaeological sites of Greece. Within Britain, we could add
to our list of destinations, thus widening the appeal of our holidays.

I feel certain that by adopting some of the suggestions outlined above, the
company can increase the number of customers it attracts.
PROPOSAL
You have read the extract below, which comes from a guidebook and comments
on the place where you live, in a local newspaper where it was reproduced.
Readers were asked to send proposals outlining the implications of the problem
and making some suggestions.

This once lovely city has been ruined, it seems, by progress. The
exciting sights and sounds of a busy city have been replaced by
pollution and noise. It is impossible for any visitor to the area to
enjoy what it has to offer, assailed as they are by the realities of life
in an overcrowded city. Its best to give it a miss and head straight
for the countryside.

The purpose of this proposal is to look at the problem our city is facing regarding
its popularity with tourists and to make some relevant suggestions.

The Problem

Unfortunately, our city is no longer the charming, popular place it used to be.
There was a time when visitors from all over the world were drawn here by its
historical and cultural heritage, but recent. years have seen a dramatic drop in
the number of tourists spending time here. They are put off primarily by the
polluted atmosphere, but the overcrowded streets and constant noise are also
contributory factors. This problem is having a serious impact on the economy of
this city as small businesses which rely on the tourist industry are being forced
to close. In addition, lower ticket sales for admission to archaeological sites,
museums and galleries means that less money is available for their upkeep and
the restoration of exhibits.

Suggestions

1. As the main problem is that of pollution, it is necessary to address this


first. In order to reduce pollution levels, there needs to be some kind of
effective restriction on the number of cars that are allowed to circulate in
the city centre. The creation of pedestrian zones, especially in those areas
popular with tourists, would be one way of alleviating the problem. This
would mean that small businesses catering for the tourist industry that are
being forced to close due to' lack of business, would be able to stay open,
generating more income for those involved. Thi6 would benefit both the
residents of the city and the visitors to it.

2. The public transport system needs to be improved. If this were done, the
advantages would be twofold. Firstly, residents would be more likely to
leave their cars at home and travel into the city on public transport.
Secondly, tourists would be able to explore the city with more ease and
comfort. This would increase revenue from admission to places of
historical and cultural intere6t and improve our city's image abroad.

These two suggestions would, I believe, make a significant difference. Not only
would they increa6e the number of visitors to our city but als9, be of benefit to
the economy.
LETTER
A new shopping centre is currently being built by a private company close to
your home. When the work began, local residents were promised they would
only be inconvenienced by noise for a few months but a year has passed and
the neighbourhood is still being disturbed on a daily basis by the noise of lorries
and heavy machinery. Write a letter of complaint to your local authorities
explaining the situation and asking them to take action.

28 February
2003

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to express my annoyance concerning the new shopping centre


currently under construction just outside Bingford. The noise levels are
unbearable and the problem urgently needs to be addressed.

When work started on the project, the company responsible, 'Carter


Developments', informed local residents that the construction of the shopping
centre would take no more than six months. That was a year ago and there
seems to be no sign that the work is nearing completion. The only conclusion to
be drawn is that the company was not completely honest with us when
embarking on the project, probably to avoid any objections on the part of local
residents.

For the past year, the lives of the people living in close proximity to the building
site have been badly affected by the work being done. The worst problem
obviously concerns noise levels. From early in the morning until late at night, six
days a week, we are subjected to the noise of heavy machinery and that of the
lorries that seem to be continually passing our houses transporting building
materials to the site. At times, the noise is deafening and simple things like
making a phone call are out of the question. There is also concern among the
local residents that noise pollution of this magnitude could be having an effect
on our health.

Apart from the constant noise, we are also troubled by the lorries passing
through the area every day, often at extremely high speeds. In a quiet
community such as ours, children have become accustomed to there being little
traffic on the roads and we all share the worry that a tragic accident could occur.
In addition, the atmosphere has become increasingly dusty since the building
began with the result that some of the people who live in the area have
developed persistent coughs.
REPORT
You are employed as a researcher by a consumer magazine. The editor has
asked you to try out some new camping equipment. Write a report about a new
tent you tried out on a camping weekend. Mention the claims the manufacture
made about it, whether it lived up to them and say what kind of
recommendation the magazine should make about it.

To : The Manager
From : Karen Johnson
Subject: The All Weather Supertent by Sport and Leisure
Date : 15th June, 2003

This report concerns The All Weather Supertent, which is part of the new range
of camping equipment from Sport and Leisure. The tent was assessed on a
short camping trip.

Description

The All Weather Supertent is an extremely compact tent, which fits into a
backpack and can, therefore, be easily carried. This backpack comes in a range
of bright colours, as does the tent itself, which, according to the manufacturer, is
made of a lightweight but durable waterproof material. The All Weather
Supertent is available in two sizes and sleeps either one person or two, and the
manufacturer claims that it is extremely simply to put up even in adverse
weather conditions.

The Test

The one-man tent was tried out in the Lake District. The weather forecast was
for high winds so it seemed the ideal opportunity to put the manufacturers
claims to the test. Having arrived at my chosen spot, I set about pitching the
tent. On my first attempt, a gust of wind whipped it out of my hands. The
second attempt was more successful, however, and once the groundsheet had
been put in and fastened to the sides of the tent by means of a zip, I rolled out
my sleeping bag and stowed my equipment away. Although design for one, the
tent was extremely roomy and could easily sleep two. That night it rained
heavily, but inside the tent it was surprisingly warm and dry.

Results

All in all, The All Weather Supertent lived up to the claims made by the
manufacturer although it did prove a little difficult to put up. On the plus side,
however, it is extremely light and easy to carry when in the backpack and, once
pitched, has plenty of room. Furthermore, it proved to be completely
waterproof, offering adequate protection from the elements.

Recommendations

In my opinion, The All Weather Supertent is and ideal choice for anyone who
enjoys combining hiking and camping as it is so lightweight and compact. It
would be a good idea, however, to practise putting the tent up beforehand to
avoid any problems when on a camping trip.

PROPOSAL
You read the following extract as part of a letter published in your college
magazine. As a member of the students union, you decide to write a proposal
to the college dean, discussing the need to do something about the problem and
outlining some suggestions.

Living away from home for the first time is difficult enough, without having to
worry about being attacked while returning from the library in the evening, or
getting back to you hall of residence to find your room has been ransacked. Im
seriously considering transferring to another college because I feel my safety is
threatened here and Im being deprived of the right to go out alone at night. Im
sure many of my fellow students share my concerns.

To : The Dean
From : Fiona Ball
Subject: Safety on Campus
Date : 16th May 2003

The purpose of this proposal is to discuss the safety of students on the college campus
and to suggest some measures that could be taken to improve the situation.

The Problem
All over the country, high crime rates are having an impact on peoples lives and our
college, unfortunately, is no exception. Every member of society has the right to feel
safe. Sadly, many members of this college are being deprived of this right and this
could mean that some will end up missing out on a college education. If they do not
feel safe walking through the campus after dark, or have the worry that every time they
go to a lecture someone may break into their room, doesnt it follow that they may feel
forced to give up their studies? Unless the students concerns are taken seriously,
enrolments may fall and this will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the college.

Suggestions
Outlined below are some suggestions which should reduce crime on campus.

1. The college security team is obviously not performing well enough and therefore
our first priority must be to improve this. This could involve further training and
the hiring of more staff. Regular patrols of the campus, in particular after dark,
would be an adequate deterrent to many would-be criminals.

2. Many students feels that the campus is not lit well enough at night. While there
are enough lamp-posts along the main pathways, there are a number of badly-lit
paths leading to faculty buildings and halls of residence. Better lighting in these
areas would ensure students felt safer when returning to their rooms after dark.
3. Students would benefit from knowing how to protect themselves against attack.
For this reason, I believe that the college should run self-defence classes. Having
some basic instruction in these simple techniques would leave people feeling less
vulnerable to attack.

Something urgently needs to be done to ensure the safety of the students of this
college. The implementation of the suggestions above would, I believe, make a
significant contribution to this.

LETTER
You have read the extract below as part of a newspaper article on public
transport. Readers were asked to send in their opinions. You decide to write a
letter responding to the points raised and expressing you own views concerning
the proposed changes in your area.

Whats the point in improving public transport when its crystal clear it is only of
benefit to the minority such as teenagers and pensioners? We are a nation of car
owners, who will go on polluting the environment whatever anyone says. So why
spend money on new schemes such as the proposed introduction of trams into our
town centre, aimed at improving public transport, when the money could be better
spent on extending our motorways instead?

Dear Sir or Madam,

I saw an article about public transport in a recent edition of your newspaper and
decided to respond giving my views. I am afraid that I have to disagree with the
opinions expressed.

My first objection concerns the assumption that public transport is only of


benefit to certain members of our society. Even if it is true that those who take
advantage of it are in the minority, it does not justify reducing the services or
doing away with them altogether. Young people and senior citizens cannot be
restricted in their movements by a poor public transport system, while the rest
of us enjoy the luxury of being able to get from one place to another with
relative ease. Surely such an idea is against everything our society stands for.

I also feel I must point out that, even though most of us do own cars, we do not
always choose to use them. This is because it has been proven that this means
of transport is responsible for polluting our urban centres and causing damage
to the countryside, with areas of outstanding natural beauty being destroyed to
make way for new motorways. The last thing this country needs is for there to
be more of this kind of destruction. As for out town centres, if public transport
were improved, I believe that, on occasion, many car owners would choose to
leave their cars at home.

As far as the proposal to introduce trams to our town centre is concerned, I


would like to express my wholehearted support for this scheme. It will definitely
be a major improvement to the town centre; one which will make life easier for
those who at present have to live with the inadequacies of the existing bus
services. In addition, the air will be more pleasant to breathe both because
there will be fewer cars and also because trams are an environmentally friendly
means of transport.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that public transport in our country requires
greater investment, especially with regard to those forms of transport which do
not pollute the environment.

Yours faithfully,

Graham Hornby

PROPOSAL
You are a member of a sports society and have been asked by the other
members to write a proposal for the local authorities asking for financial help in
developing the sports facilities in the local area. The other members of the club
have suggested you include the following:
Poor quality of existing sports facilities
How money could be spent
The benefit to the local community

With this proposal, the sports society would like to outline reasons why financial
assistance should be given so that the sports facilities in the area can be
improved, which would ultimately be of benefit to the local community.

Existing facilities

At present, the sports facilities in the area are limited. There is one poorly-
equipped stadium which is shared by all the schools in the town. As a result,
anyone else wanting to use the facilities there has very little opportunity to do
so. The nearest swimming pool is situated about twenty miles away and is only
a feasible option for those with cars and adequate time. The needs of a
significant proportion of the community are not, therefore, being met. Finally,
while there is a private gym in the town, it is rather expensive and many
members of our community cannot afford the membership fees.

How the finance made available would be spent

Should funding be forthcoming, the first priority would be the construction of a


sports centre, which would consist of a gym, a swimming pool and possibly even
tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. Admission would be free for pensioners,
children and the unemployed, and affordable for other patrons. We would also
recommend that the existing stadium be renovated and an additional one built
so that the needs of the whole community, including the schools, could be
better served.

Benefit to the local community

At the moment, most residents are being deprived of the positive effects
exercise has on both our physical and mental well-being because of the lack of
facilities. A sports centre would offer people of all ages and backgrounds an
opportunity to keep in shape as there would be a range of activities to choose
from. It would also provide the lonelier members of the community with the
chance to get to know more people in the local area. The incidence of crimes
such as vandalism, could also be expected to drop as young people would have
something constructive to do in their spare time.

The sports society is confident that, should funding be made available, the
suggestions outlined above would benefit the whole community.

ARTICLE
You have read the extract below as part of a magazine article on the distribution
of wealth. Readers were asked to send in articles expressing their opinions. You
decide to write an article responding to the points raised and expressing your
own views.

There are people who believe it is inevitable, natural even, that


there should be an unequal distribution of wealth. Some of us, they
argue, get paid more because of the demands of our professions in
other words, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What
justification is there, though, for the fact that within one country
there can be a minority living in luxury and, at the other end of the
scale, a significant proportion living in a poverty?

Is the distribution of wealth fair?


It is an undeniable fact that all over the world there are some people who enjoy
great wealth and others who have to struggle to survive. Yet can this gulf
between rich and poor be justified in any way?

A common argument is that some people deserve to be paid more because of


the nature of the work they do and the contribution they make to society. If you
have worked hard to gain the qualifications essential for a responsible and
demanding position, the argument goes, doesnt it follow that you deserve a
higher salary? The knowledge that qualifications are likely to bring financial
gain is one reason for going to the effort of obtaining them.

However, while it may be true that some people, such as doctors, do practise
difficult professions which require years of study and much dedication, a
significant proportion of those earning huge sums actually contribute very little.
For example, how can we justify the high salaries of football players, when there
are people putting in long hours in factories to produce essential goods, who are
earning ridiculously low salaries in comparison? We could also take the case of
teachers and nurses. These are both jobs which require high levels of
commitment and professionalism, but are, nevertheless, not particularly well-
paid.
It seems, therefore, that the arguments which seek to justify the unequal
distribution of wealth, in terms of the demands of a profession, fall short.
Anyway, it is not only salaries which provide some people with wealth and
deprive others of it. There are many individuals who have privileged lifestyles
simply by virtue of the fact they were born into wealthy families. They enjoy
their good fortune despite the fact that they are hungry children, families relying
on state benefits and many thousands of homeless people living in the same
country. Clearly, the situation is both unfair and unjustifiable.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, is a saying which seems to reflect
reality. But wouldnt the world be a better place is the gap between the two
could be reduced?

LETTER
You have read the announcement below in a magazine published by a charitable
organisation. You decide to write a letter in response, making some
suggestions.

HELP US HELP STRAY ANIMALS

Hungry and homeless stray animals live on the streets of many


European cities without anyone to care for them. Finding food and
water every day can be a challenge, and many abandoned animals
suffer ill-health. Send us your suggestions as to what we can do to
help strays.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing this letter in response to the announcement published in the last


edition of your magazine regarding the problem of strays. There are a number
of initiatives which I believe could help.

Unfortunately, there are large numbers of stray cats and dogs in many European
towns and cities desperately in need of shelter and immediate medical
attention. Without the latter some of them will inevitably die. One solution to
this problem is to set up shelters where stray animals can receive the care they
need and be given a temporary place to live. Funds would have to be raised to
achieve such an aim but I feel sure that there are many animal lovers around
who would be happy to contribute.
Stray animals, as already mentioned, are in need of a home, preferably with a
loving owner. One effective way of alleviating the situation would be to
encourage people who were looking for a pet to take a stray from shelters such
as those described above. After all, not everyone is looking for a pedigree
animal. The criteria for most people is that the animal be healthy and good-
natured. The pets would be offered free, naturally, but perhaps small donations
to the shelter could be encouraged.

The main reason why animals find themselves abandoned in the streets is the
attitude of the people who once owned them. Perhaps changing this is the real
key to solving the problem. The best place to begin would be with campaigns
aimed at children. A series of television programmes could be devised that
would make young people realise the responsibility they are taking on when
they get a pet. Educational programmes in schools could have the same effect.
Adults also need to be made more aware of the situation and television is
undoubtedly the best medium for this.

Measures urgently need to be taken to reduce the numbers of strays or better


still to eradicate the problem completely. I hope that some of the above-
mentioned ideas contribute to this.

Yours faithfully,

J. Johnson

ESSAY
You have been discussing crime and punishment during one of you college
lectures. Your professor has asked you to read the extract below, which is from
a book on the subject, and write and essay responding to the points and giving
your views.

Unless we reform our prisons radically, they will


continue to be ineffective and inhumane institutions
which do not properly prepare prisoners to enter society
again. Whatever their crime, prisoners have rights and
do not deserve to live in crowded and dirty cells. Nor
should they be deprived of the educational opportunities
or psychological support they need. Also, rehabilitation
is highly unlikely when young people in prison for the
first time come under the influence of more hardened
criminals.

The prison system is primarily a means of punishing people for the crimes they
commit. Most prisons also undertake to provide opportunities for rehabilitation.
Yet to what extent is this aim being achieved?
Firstly, we need to examine the conditions in which most inmates live. The
majority of prison are overcrowded, which can lead to a variety of problems.
Arguments, for instance, are inevitable when so many people co-exist in such a
small space. To compound the problem, the cells are far from hygienic; in fact,
they could be described as squalid in many cases. Such conditions are more
likely to cause outbreaks of violence among the inmates rather than contribute
to their rehabilitation. This does not mean, however, that criminals should be
accommodated in luxury.

Secondly, the educational programmes which should help prisoners find


employment on their release are often understaffed and ineffective, if they exist
at all. Furthermore, many offenders are in need of psychological support. Given
the appropriate help, some prisoners may decide to turn their lives around on
their release. Surely they shouldnt be denied the chance, whatever they have
done.

Finally, prisoners willing to improve themselves may be undermined in their


efforts by other inmates. For example, hardened criminals serving long
sentences may seek to corrupt young offenders. For this reason, it is vital that
different categories of prisoners are kept in separate wings.

To conclude, it is clear that something must be done to make our prisons more
effective. Once someone has served their sentence, they should be able to
make a contribution to society, not simply return to a life of crime.

ESSAY
Your college tutor has asked to read the extract below, which is part of a letter
sent to a newspaper, and to write an essay giving your opinion on the subject of
changes to the school curriculum, explaining why you feel the way you do.

The school curriculum, in order to prepare young people for life today,
needs to be changed. There must be less emphasis on traditional,
academic subjects and more on those which teach the skills needed to
cope in the twenty-first century. After all, arent computer skills, for
example, more valuable than knowledge of history when we go out into
the world in search of employment.

Nobody would deny the importance . a good education, but definitions


exactly what this consists are apt to change. Perhaps the
demands life and work the twenty-first century justify a
reassessment today's education system.

There was once a time when only the most academic subjects were valued.
However, the world has changed significantly and many top employment
opportunities today are to be found the field . computer
technology. I am .. the opinion, therefore, that schoolchildren who are
capable and interested should have the opportunity to study this subject.
Anyone who is not computer-literate has difficulty finding a good job these days,
even those . more academic qualifications. It follows, then, that basic
computer skills and more advanced studies for those interested should be
taught .. all schools and be made more .. a priority than they are
present.

Some would argue that . making radical changes . the


curriculum, we are likely to deprive learners . the opportunity to
master basic skills such reading, writing and maths, but this is not the
case. Putting more emphasis .. foreign languages, example,
which are necessary today's global market, does not mean that other
core subjects would automatically be ignored. The child who has no interest
. maths and has already covered the basics should be allowed to
concentrate . something that might be . more use .. the
future, be it computer studies, an extra foreign language, graphic design or
cookery.

It is my firm belief that unless we prepare students . the demands


. the workplace .. it is, we are doing them a great disservice and
our national economy will ultimately pay the price when we are unable to
compete .. the European or global market.

To sum .., I would argue that schools have a responsibility . the


young people who attend them. no account should we overlook the
fact that they are the workforce .. the future and need to be equipped
the skills to compete .. the workplace.