Letter: A lesson for schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leader on the 11-plus ballots ("Forget Selection: diversity is the key to good education", 2 September) continues with the myth that the 11-plus is an open contest between equals in which the most academic pupils rise to the top.

If the examination was meritocratic in its achievements I could possibly agree with you. But your readers should be clear about the unfairness of the examination, especially in places like Trafford.

Children at state-run primaries cannot, by law, be coached to sit the exam, whilst the private prep schools in the area do little more than cram for the exam from the age of nine and before. As a result, the playing field is not level and the state sector children have to play up-hill and into the wind. Well-off parents know that an initial investment in private education up to the age of 11 should result in free schooling at one of the top institutions there on in.

I am all for academically bright children receiving a demanding and challenging education. The sooner we can arrange that through abolishing the 11-plus the better.

COLIN BURKE

Altrincham, Cheshire

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