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Case for the bog-standard

"Hurrah! I went to a bog-standard comprehensive - it was brilliant!".

As a slap in the face to Alistair Campbell, this enthusiastic retort from Sarah Dulhanty, takes some beating. Ms Dulhanty was a pupil of George Tomlinson secondary, Bolton, during the 1980s. Now she works as a public affairs manager for Barclays Bank.

But it is just one of around 100 testimonies to the power of non-selective state education running on the Campaign for State Education's website.

Since February, CASE has been getting former comprehensive pupils from all walks of life to support its drive to transform public perceptions of non-selective state schools.

Its Comprehensive Champions site features powerful contributions from teachers, doctors, lawyers, lecturers, management consultants, students and many more. There are offerings from across the spectrum of public life, ranging from celebrities like the author Zadie Smith and footballers Gary and Phil Neville to Simon Buckby, director of the Britain in Europe campaign.

Politicians include Home Office minister Hilary Benn and Glenys Kinnock, plus David Miliband, the new school standards minister and a product of Haverstock comprehensive, north London.

He writes: "Haverstock could not overcome my weakness for A-level physics, but it gave me a good start in life!"

Will Straw, son of foreign secretary Jack who went to London's Pimlico school, writes: "The level of teaching was clearly as good as that at Eton or Westminster as I got a place at Oxford just like the public school lads and lasses."

With comprehensives once again in need of support this week, CASE's campaign looks timely.

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