Letter: Let teachers get on with their job

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The Independent Online
Sir: Following Tony Blair's announcement on Labour's commitment to dismantling mixed-ability education we are writing to condemn this amazing attack on the key teaching strategy for raising achievement for all pupils.

Mixed ability has nothing to do with political correctness or utopian dreaming. It is the foundation for the proven success of the comprehensive system. More pupils leave school today with qualifications than ever did under the old systems. Illiteracy levels have gone down as the comprehensive system has developed. The comprehensive system developed because of the failures of these past systems, which grouped pupils on the basis of flawed tests and flawed philosophies. Mixed-ability teaching challenged selection, streaming and setting, strategies which automatically led to examination failure for the majority of school leavers. Mixed-ability teaching is based on a real understanding of how children learn.

Mr Blair's announcement came as no surprise. The actions of senior members of the Labour Party in sending their children to selective and grant-maintained schools spoke volumes. We have no intention of sitting back and allowing a Labour government to take us back to a system that meant mainly working- class children were condemned to failure.

H GWYNNE WILLIAMS

and 21 other trade union members

Crofton School

London SE4

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