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Independent sector is too elitist

The point raised by Ian McCalman in last week's TESS in relation to the position of private, selective schools has to be taken further.

Ninety per cent of those in leading positions in British society are educated at schools which almost 90 per cent of British pupils cannot attend. Studies in recent years have shown that private sector pupils dominate higher education: 49 per cent of pupils from the top 200 schools and colleges (virtually all private) go to the 13 top universities.

If you look at the figures relating to the professions, you will find that, in areas such as the law, journalism, television, the arts and finance, there is a heavy bias towards the private education sector. Of the "top 100" UK journalists in 2006, 54 per cent went to independent schools. In England, the upper reaches of the legal profession sees 70 per cent educated in the independent sector.

The independent sector is about ensuring that the most influential and best-rewarded jobs stay in the hands of a small, well-connected and powerful elite.

James Waugh, Nether Currie Crescent, Currie, Edinburgh.

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