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LETTER : Giving children the best

BRITAIN will not be able to "make a better fist of educating what schoolteachers used to call the tail" until we recognise the extent to which primary schoolsare contributing to our problems. Large numbers of children in England continue to leave primary school barely able to read and write, thus giving secondary teachers an impossible task.

This problem did not exist in South Africa where I taught until 1970 When I later began teaching in Surrey and saw the standard required for O-level English language, I was surprised that more students were not reaching it.

The Surrey youngsters were not stupid, but they had been taught, from primary level, by methods that emphasised accuracy far less than is usual in our competitor countries.

Jennifer Chew