Comprehensives, if they are to work, must create a community of talent in which the less able never feel excluded. Pimlico offered all the support necessary to the bright and determined children but was struggling to cope with the marginal ones who needed focusing. These children could benefit from extra tuition and a whole variety of extra-curricular activities. Sadly, comprehensives, because of their comparatively low-income parents, are rarely able to raise enough money from the PTAs. Hence the private sector wins. That is where the Government should be directing the money.
By endorsing Tory marketing concepts which encourage us all to scrutinise the league tables, the Government has fallen on its face. It is unrealistic to expect that those middle-class parents whose sole concern is their own child's prospects, and who are locked into the relentless scramble for selective secondary school places, will be converted to comprehensive education by this offering.
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