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Fast buck was not on the menu

I was entertained by your Diary piece on the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre dinner at Haberdashers' Hall (TES, November 25). However, there were a few points on which I hope you will allow me to comment.

The Grant-Maintained Schools' Centre could not make a fast buck in "profit" out of the presence of Gillian Shephard as it is a non-profit company limited by guarantee. The dinner made a small surplus (Pounds 151.50) which must go towards the centre's work for grant-maintained schools, more than 80 per cent of which subscribe to the centre and value its services.

The Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation, also a non-profit company, does not, however, provide services to GM schools, but information and help to those LEA schools considering GM status. When this year its directors received the good news that it would be fully funded by Government, they decided that it should not be a charitable body.

Garter King of Arms has confirmed that the Coat of Arms refers to the Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation in its new form.

Finally, my father was not a "steelmaker", which makes him sound like a kind of post-war Victorian ironmaster, but started work as a welder.

He would have been amused to see his son described as a "grandee" in The TES and would have hailed it as a triumph for selective education!

BOB BALCHIN.

Chairman.

Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation.

36 Great Smith Street.

London SW1.

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