Letter:No, Melanie

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Sir: Melanie Phillips ("Not just an educated guess", 14 September) cannot get away with replying to my review of her book All Must Have Prizes by using the same techniques as she used in the book itself.

She accuses me of being dishonest, not engaging with her arguments, and defending the indefensible (or "teachers" as some people prefer to call them). She must have missed the references to Dewey, Adorno, examples of her mis-stating of people's positions, and arguments against her position.

I stated that I had never met a teacher who believed, as she claims the profession does, "that no value or activity can be held to be any better or worse than any other". She replies that some teachers neglect mathematical and grammatical rules - not the same thing. The naughty bit of innuendo, "It is a great pity Professor Wragg felt unable to accept his invitation to take part in Thursday's Observer debate", won't do. Not "felt unable", but rather "was unable". I had been committed for months to lecturing at a national conference of special needs teachers at the very same hour.

Professor E C WRAGG

School of Education

University of Exeter