Letter: A one-track mind

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Sir: Leslie Wilson (letter, 26 March) seeks a new Isambard Kingdom Brunel to sort out Britain's railway engineering difficulties. The search is unlikely to be successful.

I. K. Brunel's formal education ended when he was 17 years old; he went into his father's office. Current educational practice is to stifle genius with a slow, protracted progress, so that a fully qualified engineer is almost ready to settle down in retirement. The national curriculum, with its demand for 'broad education' to the age of 16, would have prevented Brunel, and many another British genius, from flowering at the age of passion. Educationists don't know it, but life rewards exceptional ability in one subject.

Yours faithfully,


King's Lynn, Norfolk