Letter: Grammar schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Professor Warner (letter, 4 September) makes the mistake of assuming that what was once true must still be true. Grammar schools may once have provided the route to academic success for working-class children. They no longer do so.

In Kent we have the largest remnant of grammar schooling in the country. A mixture of class prejudice, private coaching and even private 11-plus preparatory schools has ensured that very few children with any kind of deprivation get selected for grammar school. Ofsted has reported that the social mix among high-flyers from comprehensives is far more balanced than it is at grammar schools.

By turning their back on the honourable tradition of educating the "poor of the parish", written into many of their foundation charters, the grammar schools have invalidated the only forceful argument for their retention.

MARTIN FREY

Appledore, Kent

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