LETTER : Struggling with basic skills

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Sir: Literacy and numeracy are vocational skills and no school leaver should be without them. The current law obliges children to attend school (or receive an appropriate education) until the age of 16. If they were also required to pass GCSE English and maths before leaving then the problem would be solved.

The attitude in schools that relatively trivial subjects - the sciences, history, foreign languages - are entitled to a specific proportion of the pupil's time, rather than a share of the remainder after maths and English, must disappear. If it does, innumeracy and illiteracy will go with it.

EDMUND KEOHANE

London SW12

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