Letter: Children can see adult hypocrisy in the education debate

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The Independent Online
JOAN FitzGerald is, of course, right (Letters, 28 January). By definition, there cannot be comprehensive schools where 25 per cent of children are "creamed off" to selective schools. Our preference has always been to choose a comprehensive but Kent had and still has a selection procedure (first the 11-plus and now the Kent tests).

Twenty-four years ago our elder daughter was "selected" and went to the grammar school. Seven years later our younger daughter (just as bright) was "rejected" (it was a "good" year). Our "choice" for her was between one school which had to take her and another which might take her if it had room.

We were urged to fight the decision on the grounds that our second daughter's test results were better than her sister's and since she had obtained 8 O-levels and was doing 3 A-levels, we challenged and eventually won. We think we were right to do so (daughter two is just completing her PhD in genetics at Cambridge University).

Selection, leaving aside the percentage errors in the actual process, is unfair to all children. However careful parents and teachers are, children still consider they "pass" or "fail" and the effect can last a very long time.

Twenty-four years on our granddaughter, bright but dyslexic, awaits her Kent test results. One can only hope that staff and children are not too dispirited to give her the stimulus she will need to achieve her potential.

J Smith

Canterbury, Kent

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