Letter: Education in the real world of Lambeth borough

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The Independent Online
DOES AMANDA LIPMAN live in the "real" world ("Is private education really better or is it just an expensive con?", Real Life, 1 November)? I hugely resent the thought of having to pay for my daughter's education, but living in the London borough of Lambeth there is little choice. The profusion of private schools has inevitably creamed off the brightest children and much as I would prefer an egalitarian system, I am certainly not going to try to set some righteous example by gambling with my offspring's education. Sadly, in London at least, virtually the only way to ensure a small, well-behaved, academically motivated class is to pay for it.

However, what irritates me more is the argument put forward by Ms Lipman that, somehow private schools segregate children from the real world. Apart from the fact that the very quantity of private schools in this area means that they are just as much a part of the community as the state ones, as a white, middle class citizen I refuse to accept that I do not live in the "real" world, whatever that is. For some reason, this absurd suggestion is only ever put forward by white, middle-class people: it is noteworthy that significant numbers of Asian and Afro-Caribbean parents choose private schools, presumably for good educational reasons, unencumbered by notions of guilt about social or academic elitism. As far as I am concerned the most important job of the school is to educate. Surely parents are the main influence in helping their children to become decent, well-rounded citizens?

VERITY KALCEV

Balham, London SW12

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