Letter: Not all bad news

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a senior examiner and recently retired deputy head, I have read the recent educational articles and leaders in your newspaper with increasing exasperation. From them, who would have thought that the past decade has seen substantial increases in pass rates at both GCSE and A-level, similar startling advances in the staying-on rate post-16, and a much greater number of young people gaining university places?

All this, it would seem, is failure because we have not caught up with Germany, France and Japan (after having, in England, at least, until very recently thought that only the top 20 per cent of the school population were really worth educating, a belief that appears to die hard in the continuing nostalgia for grammar schools).

It is small wonder that many teachers in state schools look upon politicians and journalists, particularly those who are London-based, with cynicism. A debate about perceptions of the London educational scene - and no doubt of pressing concern for those politicians and journalists as parents - is being transposed to the country as a whole, and very real advances are being dismissed as retreats.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Roberts


30 January