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Dear Madam,

In the current debate over the education budget, all the attention seems to be directed at schools.

The Government has made much of the huge expansion in higher education with no acknowledgement that this has been brought about with virtually no increase in resources, let alone reward for increased staff productivity.

By the Government's own criteria, productivity is paramount in justifying a case for increased resources and salaries in the public sector.

Can schools claim the same increase in productivity over the same period? I would imagine not, so why is the debate centred on schools? Do I smell the scent of pacifying the parents and teachers in the run-up to the general election?

Yours faithfully,

David Baxter,

Chief Experimental Officer,

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics,

University of Southampton

An open letter to Mr Chris Woodhead, Chief Inspector for Schools: "I was delighted to read your most recent assertion that class size makes no contribution to exam success, but I am not as ecstatic as all members of the Tory party must be.

"At a stroke, you have given them all the ammunition they need to force private-sector schools to double the size of their classes and HALVE THEIR FEES.

"When this happens, you will have achieved a double whammy: increasing the availability of independent education, and saving millions of pounds from Tory parents (and millions more from tax-payers) by the abolition of subsidies under the assisted places scheme.

"I wait in eager anticipation of the rush to join the independent sector when it doubles its class sizes in order to reduce fees."

Yours in moonshine,

G Kellett,


Manshead Grant-Maintained School,


Ofsted inspectors should regularly be expected to teach a full timetable in a school local to them. This would widen their knowledge and understanding in an ever-changing world of education. In effect, they need to go back to school if they are able to cope with the rigours of everyday teaching. I suspect that their comments on value for money and quality of learning in large classes might be tempered and, indeed, their views as a whole would be more highly regarded by the rest of the profession.

Yours sincerely,

Philip A Blewitt

Market Bosworth,


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