While I agree with his general sentiments, I find the following statement not only offensive, but almost certainly inaccurate:"I doubt whether, from what I know of their schools, more than a couple of dozen 18-year-olds will be leaving Hackney for university this month".
I can think of more than "a couple of dozen 18-year-olds" from Hackney who are at university this year, without even trying very hard. I am an 18-year-old student, currently attending Middlesex University. I was born, and educated in Hackney, and I feel myself to be better equipped than many people to attend university. Not only had I the benefit of the teaching of committed, innovative teachers but I have also learnt by being exposed to a wide range of cultures, attitudes and opinions. I have learnt to stand up for myself in a way that I feel would be impossible given any other educational experience.
DORRIE YOUNG Hackney student 75 Mayola Road London E5