Letter: Fast track, but to where?

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From Professor Joan Freeman

Sir: Acceleration or fast tracking (to use the American term) of bright children in schools ("Blair fast track scheme for schools", 29 January) is rare in continental Europe, where the academic success of the children does not appear to have suffered.

Acceleration is often a sad move for the children. European research shows they lose the companionship of their own age group, feel themselves to be undersized, are not as frequently picked for the sports team, and so on.

Acceleration is just what it says, speedier learning, without time to round out understanding or to experiment with different approaches. It is a sticking plaster to cover up for a poor basic system. Our children deserve better.

Yours faithfully,

Joan Freeman

London, W1

29 January