Letter: A lesson for schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The latest grammar school debate ("Third of grammars under threat", 1 September) involves the usual thinly disguised mish-mash of social resentments which surface whenever selective and private education is discussed, but it reminded me that there are sensible alternatives which we scarcely consider.

Far-from-wealthy friends in in the Australian state of Victoria are able to send their children to a private school (Steiner, as it happens) because their fees are subsidised. The state government reasons that it is cheaper to pay part of the costs of educating a child privately than to bear the whole cost of keeping that child in the state system.

Everyone benefits; the state's education budget goes further, and it means private schooling is an affordable option for many more people.

I imagine that such a solution is far too reasonable for our hide-bound political system, but it seems to make perfect sense.

GEORGE BENNETT

London N19

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