Letter: Selected by wealth

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You show ("Selective schools feeling the heat", 21 August) that 23 grammar schools do better than any comprehensive in their A-level scores. You say that is because grammar schools have high entry standards.

Did you mean high living standards?

In January 1998 comprehensives had six times the proportion of their students on income support as had state-funded grammar schools (Ofsted PANDA Annex tables for Secondary Schools).

Translate that income advantage for grammar pupils into heated bedrooms suitable for study, with computers, up-to-date books and journals; transport to theatres, museums and libraries; private tuition when needed; parents driving to evening school meetings; not to mention trips abroad, a healthy diet and someone at home demonstrating that a steady job, whatever the drawbacks, is preferable to mere survival.

Are grammar schools more than exclusion zones for the poor? Perhaps we readers of expensive dailies like a bit of exclusivity, but not when the remaining grammar schools feed on creaming off the intake of neighbouring schools.


London, N7