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From Mrs Sue Courtney Madam: Has John Major lost touch so far with the people of this country that he is unaware of the anguish the latest round of local authority spending cuts is causing in our schools?

It is all very well having a wonderful curriculum, but how will it be taught to the children as class sizes rise above 40 and teachers are stretched to the limit keeping control of their overcrowded classrooms? It will be a miracle if they actually manage to teach to the prescribed standard as well.

Criticism has already been levelled at the standards of teaching in junior schools by the schools inspectors; more subject specialist teachers are required. How? We cannot afford to retain the numbers of teachers we already have, let alone give them extra training or employ more specialist teachers.

I write as a parent of three children at our local primary school, experiencing with horror the effects of lack of adequate funding.

The cost of a generation of under-educated citizens ought to be reckoned now; lamentations and recriminations in 10 or 15 years' time will never give back to these children currently in our schools what the Government is taking away now.

Yours faithfully, SUE COURTNEY Tiverton, Devon 31 January From Mrs Fenella J. Strange Madam: Studying your recent coverage of the attack by the Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead ("Schools chief attacks progressive methods", 27 January), I was intrigued to learn how far he has moved from the views he held 25 years ago as a teacher, and 20 years ago as a teacher of teachers.

I first met Mr Woodhead when I was in the sixth form, and he must have been a very newly qualified English teacher. He used to come to the sixth-form block during lunchtime to share his worries about the dreadful disclosures of the second and third years. As their elders and betters, we knew that the bad little girls were simply leading him up the garden path.

I encountered him again during my PGCE year at Oxford. As a proposed plan for a secondary school mixed-ability English lesson, he brought in a box of apples. Handing them round, he exhorted us to smell them, feel them, encounter them and relate to them. I'm ashamed to report that the bad boys of that particular class simply ate them.

Yours faithfully, FENELLA J. STRANGE Llandeilo, Dyfed 27 January From Mrs C.M.F. Knight Madam: When the Government introduced local management of schools (LMS), it failed to "ring fence" the money provided to schools specifically to support children withacknowledged special needs.

A school near us supposedly has a unit for children with moderate learning difficulties. When LMS was introduced, three of the unit's four teachers were discarded and the children "integrated" into normal classroom lessons with some withdrawal to work occasionally with the remaining special needs teacher. These children receive little or no extra help in the classroom.

The school still receives the same amount of money from the local education authority as before to fund the unit, but has chosen to spend it on something else. This is common practice.

As a teacher and the mother of a special needs child, I find it amazing that no national body working for disabled children has yet taken up this issue.

Yours faithfully, MARGARET KNIGHT Salisbury, Wiltshire 31 January We welcome your views on education. Please send letters marked `For Publication' to the Education Editor, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL and include a daytime telephone number. Fax 0171- 293 2056.

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