TALKBACK

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The Independent Online
From Mervyn Benford

Madam: This mindless commitment to educational testing surely has to stop. The fallibility of youn-ger children in test situations is known to all who deal daily with them, and the sheer unfairness of insisting on an absolute definition of performance on a single occasion is well documented.

Now we would take this process down to the tender age of five: What madness!

The greatest single contribution to educational quality comes from small classes and a caring, supportive environment. The fee-paying system has long valued this, and parents everywhere are flocking to smaller schools.

Our major competitors know the worth of this, but politics in this country is centred on the pursuit of personal spending power. We have failed to realise that it is in our own best interests to have high-quality public services.

Testing is just a blind alley on the way to another decade of neglect.

Yours faithfully,

MERVYN BENFORD

High Street

Shutford

Oxfordshire

5 April

From Jacky Tonge

Madam: Fran Abrams states in her article ("It's always been cheaper before 11", 6 April) that Haringey spends only 57 pence per primary school pupil for each pound spent on secondary pupils, while authorities like Camden and Durham spend 90 pence.

While I do not dispute the figure, which comes from theAudit Commission's Performance Indicator comparisons, I am concerned that it has been taken out of context.

The article seems to indicate that Haringey does not spend very much on primary education. In fact, the tables show that we put more money into primary schoolsthan two-thirds of London boroughs (more than Camden and Durham) as well as investing more in secondary education than every council in London but one (Kensington and Chelsea).

Yours faithfully,

JACKY TONGE

Director of Education Services

Haringey Council

London, N22

6 April

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