Letter: Grammar schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leader of 2 September seeks to perpetuate one of the major inconsistencies of this government's education policy - diversity.

All state secondary schools are required to teach the National Curriculum; their pupils are subjected to SATs at age 14, to GCSEs at 16 and to A- levels at 18 and their results are presented publicly in league tables. All state schools are subject to Ofsted inspection according to exactly the same framework. (Pupils in independent schools are not protected by any of these requirements). So how can there possibly be any diversity?

Or do you, and perhaps the Government, mean that there are specialist schools which are allowed to exclude the children of less affluent or less committed parents; and there other schools which take these children? This is the reality of the "choice and diversity" which was set up by the last Tory government and which has been perpetuated by Mr Blunkett.

In reality there are schools where middle-class parents send their children to keep them away from the "rough kids" and there are other schools for those children whose parents cannot afford or are unable to get them into these "good" schools.

The implied curriculum diversity of specialist technology, languages, arts and sports schools is no more than a sham; as was the supposed curriculum diversity of the "technical" school that I worked in in the 1970s.

HUGH RITCHIE

Ware, Hertfordshire

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