Letter: Schools injustice

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jack Field (letter, 24 August) refers to grammar schools as "exclusion zones for the poor". It is good to see someone drawing attention to this problem. New Labour and all those who are happy to buy and accept selective education for their offspring without caring about the consequences for the rest simply don't want to know about it.

In this area, Greater Manchester, there is an extensive "creaming off" - first by the independent schools (Manchester Grammar, William Hulme and others); then by the local grammar schools; then by the more favoured voluntary-aided schools. "The rest", of course are shown up in the exam league tables, criticised by Ofsted and generally written off as problem schools with falling rolls (and, therefore, funding) without any reference to the pernicious effect of creaming off.

Neither David Blunkett nor Labour councillors are prepared to confront this injustice and the associated issues - the charitable status of public schools; parental choice (for those who can afford it ); schools for pupils with special aptitudes (another exclusion zone); the divisive nature of the voluntary aided sector; freedom versus the survival of the fittest.

C SAUNDERS

Sale, Cheshire

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