Letter: No right turn

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You report that the Education Partnership is introducing "ideas pioneered in the US by Edison" ("Firm to bid for hundreds of schools", 14 January). This is misleading. The Education Partnership's ideas are based on those at Brooke Weston CTC, which introduced, for example, the five-term year, the extended school day, open access to computer resources, home-school computer links, all long before the Edison Project started operating.

Contrary to the impression you gave, our ambitions are not in anyway opposed to those espoused by the Secretary of State, David Blunkett, and Doug McAvoy, General Secretary of the NUT, that "schools will not be run for profit". Whatever the Edison Project does in the USA, our company will be seeking management fees from LEAs and schools, and this will not be "a problem" for New Labour at all.

I have never said that IQ tests should replace A-levels and GCSEs. I did once suggest that the school-leaving age should be lowered to 14, but only in the context of all children being given individual learning accounts from which their educational opportunities would be funded post- 14 at schools, colleges or wherever suited them best.

The Education Partnerships is seeking to improve educational opportunities, particularly for those children who currently find themselves in schools which are not effectively nurturing and challenging them. The notion may be radical, but there is certainly nothing "right wing" about any of the ideals.

Professor JAMES TOOLEY

Chairman

The Education Partnership

Coventry

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