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C-grade pledge gets Burnham A for arrogance

The Labour party's "aim for every child to leave education with a grade C or above in their GCSEs" in English and maths appears to dismiss all those youngsters who, due to a range of special needs, would never attain such levels as not being part of the education system ("Labour to 'guarantee' C in English and maths", 11 March).

Labour education spokesman Andy Burnham digs himself in deeper with the arrogant comment that "with more 'focus and rigour', it should be possible to see 100 per cent of pupils hit the benchmark". This is another slap in the face for teachers who bend over backwards to ensure as much focus and rigour as possible, often in very challenging environments.

Those teachers who work with lower-attaining mainstream youngsters or with students with learning difficulties in the special- needs sector must feel as if their work is completely worthless in the eyes of Labour politicians, that their students do not count for anything in the bigger picture of society. Maybe one should not expect sensitivity from politicians, but to be as dismissive as this about the considerable number of individuals who cannot reach such academic heights shows utter disrespect.

Denise Knight, Recently retired from SEN sector, London.

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