LETTER : Selection of skills in schools

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Sir: Your leader rightly reflects the very different approaches to education of Labour and the Conservatives ("Tories select a loser", 29 March). But Tony Mooney ("Is selection good for kids?", 29 March) claims there is a "systematic attempt" by the Tories and Labour to undermine comprehensive education.

Had Mr Mooney read the text of my speech to the Social Market Foundation he would realise that it offered both an historical perspective on the development of comprehensive education and a programme to renew its original ideals in order to ensure that it delivers the high standards envisaged by its pioneers.

The Government's schizophrenic commitment to increasing parental choice and increasing selection will not be countered by simply claiming that everything is fine in the state sector. Mr Mooney extols the virtues of "setting" by ability, as I do. It should be part of a programme of renewal for comprehensive education, recognising that diversity can and should exist within schools.

David Blunkett MP

(Sheffield Brightside, Lab)

House of Commons

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