Letter: Ministers' children give clue to our unfair school system

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your election report "Heseltine seeks state schools fit for Tories" (16 April) struck a chord. Mr Heseltine asserts: "The important thing is that we are setting targets nationally for this country to be at the top of world education levels". Thus, presumably , all state schools will provide education of such excellence that the private sector will wither on the vine.

The chord which struck was school fees. The information on the fees cabinet ministers pay to keep their children out of the state system for which they have responsibility will be alien music to the ears of the parents of the school in which I teach. Our school, serving areas of high unemployment and multiple deprivation but high in teacher commitment and parental esteem, is about to close as a consequence of government cuts. The cost of each pupil's education is pounds 800 per term.

We are deemed uneconomic. Ours is the uneconomic cost of addressing the needs of the seriously disadvantaged. Cabinet ministers are paying fees between pounds 1,500 and pounds 4,600 per term to address the needs of the already significantly advantaged. If they are genuinely interested in setting targets of excellence ministers might begin by setting funding targets for the disadvantaged at levels closer to those of the advantaged.

DANIEL McDONALD

Dundee

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