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From Judith Harvey Rogers Madam: In Education on 13 October, I found the piece 'Goodbye . . . we're going to miss you' interesting, and comforting. I had thought myself a failure as a parent in that I had been too preoccupied, exhausted, or poor to do for my daughter what I felt I should have done. But I now I think I have failed no more than others.

I believe that one should not make such a big deal about this time of life.

Life is a progression from the beginning. Parents who fuss about missing their offspring are, it seems to me, clinging. Bringing up children involves letting go all the time, from cessation of breast feeding, first day at school, on and on. Those who stand back and let go wisely are often rewarded surprisingly: the children come back. It is the children who do not want to let go.

Yours sincerely, JUDITH HARVEY ROGERS, Ipswich, Suffolk 13 October From David Hornsby Madam: For a supposedly 'independent' newspaper, Judith Judd's article 'The Trouble With Boys' (18 October) was depressingly orthodox. No schoolboy over the age of five is unaware that conformism is not merely uncool, but often brutally punished by his peers. If boys don't fulfill their potential at school, it just might be because they don't feel they're allowed to.

Yours faithfully, DAVID HORNSBY, Canterbury 19 October From Marian Darke Madam: The Prime Minister appears to be on a collision course with the Treasury over his promise to provide nursery education for four- year-olds .

. . or is he?

The suspicions are that the pledge is going to be redeemed by admitting yet more 'rising fives' into already over-stretched reception classes, where they will not get the specialised nursery teaching they need.

It will be nursery provision on the cheap, at the expense of the development of a comprehensive nursery education system for all three- and four-year-olds. Research in the US has shown that for every pounds 1 invested in quality nursery education, there will be a pounds 7 return in savings on costs of juvenile delinquency, remedial education, income support and joblessness.

Nursery education has measurable advantages for children and for society - but the returns won't come without the investment.

Yours sincerely, MARIAN DARKE Ex-President, National Union of Teachers New Malden, Surrey 16 October From Judy Matheson Madam: Did Ms Underwood look at any comprehensive schools before writing her diatribe seeking to justify her children's public school education ('Places at the Ritz for the Favoured Few', 20 October)?

I have just returned from visiting our local comprehensive. Apart from the choice of 22 GCSE subjects, (how many, I wonder, did her children have to choose from?) there are clubs too numerous to list here.

During the past year the rugby team visited three European countries, there were French and German exchanges, work experience in France - in a nursery, riding school and other venues - a school trip to Florida, and an expedition to Sri Lanka. There were many theatre visits; pupils have their own two bands and an orchestra - I could go on.

The point is, nothing she mentions in her article to justify Public School education cannot be enjoyed at our local comprehensive.

Yours faithfully, JUDY MATHESON Richmond, Surrey 22 October

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