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No easy start

It may be true, as you claim in your editorial "Of ratios and results" (TES, August 4) that the bottom 15 per cent of independent school pupils have "much higher prior attainment scores" than their state- school equivalents, but are you sure you could prove it? I know of no study comparing attainment scores at, say, 11 between pupils in the independent and state sectors or even between individual independent schools.

The fact is that independent schools, taken as a whole, admit pupils across a very wide range of abilities. Some of those pupils may enjoy undoubted advantages of home and income over some of their state-school contemporaries. Their schools give them advantages which you go on to point out: lower pupil-teacher ratios and higher capital spending and for which their parents pay handsomely. But the assumption you make, that their educational start line is far ahead of the others, is unwarranted.

RICHARD DAVISON Deputy director Independent Schools Information Service London SW1

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