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Let private sector help all pupils

Fran Abrams refers to the "dangers of more and more parents turning to private education" ("Comprehensive exodus?", TES April 20).

Danger? We are in a new era of partnership between the two sectors of education which the Department for Education and Employment and Independent Schools Council are vigorously fostering together.

The old language of mistrust and suspicion must be discarded for ever. Like so many other heads of independent schools, I longed for the day when the barriers would start to come down. Now we want o ensure that our schools make the fullest possible contribution to enlarging opportunities and raising standards - with pupils (and teachers too) moving freely between us.

That is why we want the fullest possible debate, as the election draws near, about our proposals, summarised recently in The TES, ("New assisted places scheme", TES, March 23) to enable lower-income families to obtain places at our schools.

Ian Beer Chairman Independent Schools Council Grosvenor Gardens House Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1.

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