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No doubt questioning the details of a "seismic shift in culture" (TES, November 17) lays one open to accusations of l`ese-majeste.

However, I find it impossible to read Professor Michael Barber's twin assertion of an acceptance by all political parties that everyone is entitled to high standards combined with a claim that the Labour party has stated "its intention to argue for success for everyone and mean it" (sic), without wondering how this uniformly high standard will be mediated through the new two-tier system of "foundation" and "community" schools being proposed by the next Labour government.

Comparisons with the present voluntary-aided category are meaningless as the latter status is purchased through a 15 per cent contribution to the upkeep of the external fabric, a mechanism which is conspicuous by its absence in the Labour party's plans.

Just why do we need two categories of comprehensive schools, and how can the Labour party and its principal advisers argue for a new separate-but-equal type of provision in our present society, which is already chronically class- riddled?

JAMES SCOTT 29 Lady Margaret Road Crawley Sussex

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