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Golden age that never was

Biddy Passmore, in the opening paragraph of a piece about standards (TES, June 2) declares that "in the golden, olden days", children at grammar school, roughly the top 25 per cent of the ability range, would get seven or eight O-levels"as the norm''.

In 1961, 7.4 per cent of leavers obtained five or more O-level passes.

The purpose of the prelapsarian mythologising was to set up a damning comparison with contemporary Islington, where "just six out of 10" of the top 25 per cent "achieved five or more higher grade GCSEs last year". I make that 15 per cent of the cohort.

James Alexander 8 Trinity Avenue Northampton

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