Letter: Limits of GCSEs

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The Independent Online
Sir: The educational wisdom of Helen Williams is highlighted in your leading article and the letter from Dr Flint (19 August). Her plans were to increase both the scope and the depth of learning at the expense of collecting inordinate numbers of GCSEs for the academically selected pupils of St Paul's Girls' School.

The policy of the school to make provision for individual A- level pupils to study science subjects and the humanities is in line with this. Together, such steps go towards ensuring the literacy of those who specialise in science, and enable those who study other subjects to have some knowledge of science, which inevitably today touches every corner of our lives.

Part of Mrs Williams's achievement is to have raised the level of debate about what constitutes education, to include knowledge of a broad spectrum of subjects studied for their intrinsic interest, but also to allow time to enjoy the pleasure of reading. Her resignation deprives St Paul's Girls' School of an educationist of the highest calibre.

Yours sincerely,

ELIZABETH SIMPSON

London, N1

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