WHY DOES Michael Mansfield compare a high-achieving, fully comprehensive education authority with a low-achieving selective authority? It would be more valid to compare Cheshire with Buckinghamshire, remembering that Bucks is also creamed off by the independent sector, and for a shire authority contains an above-average number of pupils with English as a second language. Bias in choice of statistics can prove anything. A far better rule is to leave successful authorities alone and concentrate the push for improvement on the rest.
Too many people forget that the very high achievement in Bucks is 70 per cent to the credit of our secondary modern schools. The media talk about the "grammar schools", as if the selective system works only for the most able: an insult to the dedicated staff in those upper schools such as the one where I was privileged to serve on the PTA for several years.