Letter: Longer at school

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The Independent Culture
Sir: According to your report "Prep pupils get three times state funding" (8 November), David Hart of the National Association of Head Teachers attributed the performance of independent preparatory schools, compared with state primaries, to their superior resources.

He does not appear to have mentioned the factor which, more than any other, explains why state schools fail to "get the curriculum quart into the current pint timetable": that is shorter teaching time.

The teaching day in most prep schools is one hour longer than the minimum recommended in state primary schools; the prep school teaching year is more than 100 hours longer than the recommended minimum, and at key stage 3 it is 140 hours (or 15 per cent) longer.

DAVID WOODHEAD

National Director, Independent Schools Information Service

London SW1

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