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Pioneering preps

It is good to know that independent prep schools are leading the way when it comes to ideas on education reform.

The suggestions to raise attainment in Northamptonshire's state schools ("Cut holidays to aid pupils, schools told", October 16) draw on several successful traits of the independent prep sector.

Extending the day to include "homework" time is called supervised prep, a method our schools have been using successfully for years. Prep school pupils also benefit from an extra hour of teaching contact time per day, essential if our schools are to deliver the broad curriculum they are renowned for.

Conversely, however, rather than reduce the amount of holiday time, many of our schools opt for a two-week half term. The reason behind this is that staff and pupils return properly refreshed from a fortnight's break, ready and prepared to work right up until the end of term, rather than tailing off in energy a few weeks beforehand.

David Hanson, Chief executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

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