LETTERS : We must pay for the best

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The Independent Online
From Mr Win Griffiths, MP Sir: In his article "Schooled in hypocrisy" (9 January), George Walden states: "There is only one solution I can see: make the best available to everyone." However, he then develops his solution by arguing that the state should offer to finance public schools on condition that they were opened to all the talents (but with the possibility of fees being charged on a means-tested basis). This would force "their upper-class dross" out of public schools, make them academically superior and tighten competition in the private sector.

This does not "make the best available to everyone"; only the few who pass the entrance exam benefit. The only real way to make the best available to everyone is to ensure that all schools in the state-maintained sector receive the funding necessary to provide the high-quality education our children deserve and our country needs.

There are, of course, a host of issues surrounding the means by which schools become, and remain, effective providers of high-quality education and the most effective way of achieving this. One thing the brief history of grant-maintained schools and citytechnology colleges tells us is that the massive aid through funding they have been given has not provided a commensurate return in raising educational standards.

Yours faithfully, Win Griffiths MP for Bridgend (Lab)

House of Commons London, SW1

10 January The writer is Shadow Minister for Education and Local Government in Wales.

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