Letter: Choice of schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: If Gerald Kaufman's article "Grammar schools are the breeding ground of privilege" (2 September) is representative of the quality of argument being deployed by the opponents of these schools, their defenders must be breathing a sigh of relief.

The main justification for grammar schools is that they provide an opportunity for children from all social backgrounds - and not merely the sons and daughters of the wealthy - to pursue a rigorous, academic education.

As someone whose parents both left their elementary schools in south- east London at the age of 14 and who was brought up on a council estate, I shall be eternally grateful to my grammar school for helping me to win a scholarship to Cambridge and to pursue a career in higher education. I dare say that other schools, including good comprehensives if they had then existed, could have done the same, but my grammar school actually did do it for me and, moreover, is still doing it for others today.

I fail to see, therefore, why any energy should be wasted in trying to abolish or restructure the grammar school in accordance with an outdated educational dogma.

Far better, as your own sensible leading article argues ("Forget selection: diversity is the key to good education", 2 September), to encourage variety and provide adequate resources to raise standards in all schools.


Didcot, Oxfordshire