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Reasons to be less fearful

John Hull (TES, February 23) queried why some pupils in the Office for Standards in Education's list of outstanding selective grammar schools fall short of the expected five (or more) GCSE grades A-C. Here are some reasons:

* Inevitably a few pupils in a year group will fall ill and miss some of their subject examinations;

* One or two may have transferred late into the school from different educational backgrounds, perhaps from abroad, and not have taken the full range of subjects;

* One or two pupils may be quite properly out of age in the year group - their results don't count; one or two may have suffered from adolescent or family trauma.

Good grammar schools go to considerable lengths to support such youngsters and still produce 95-100 per cent of pupils gaining five or more A-C, along with an average number per pupil in excess of eight or nine subjects.

This is an important endorsement of the grammar school pupils' year on year performance at this stage.

J HARRIS

Headteacher

Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys

Nackington Road

Canterbury

Kent

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