Letter: Education for a rich elite

Peter Pool
Monday 21 April 1997 23:02 BST
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Sir: Your correspondents (Letters, 19 April) rightly point out how all the political rhetoric about the education system can be undercut by observing where government ministers send their children to be educated and how much they are prepared to pay.

But before jumping to the conclusion that abolition of private education is the key to improving state schools, let us be cautious. The last 10 years of the National Curriculum (this does not apply to the private sector) have seen a remarkable shift in perception of what schools are all about. Both Labour and Conservatives see education as having an overwhelmingly economic purpose. There are levels of attainment to be reached, norms to be met. Testing, assessment, measures of value are the new language. Where have the liberal values of education gone? If they are thriving anywhere it will be in the private sector, albeit a small part of it.

A healthy education system needs more than an equitable distribution of resources; if it is to be worth having, it needs room for dissent and variety. Education is too important to be left in the hands of the Government.

PETER POOL

Shipley

West Yorkshire

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