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Selection charge is unjust

Your front page headline "Nearly half of academies select their students", TES, February 10 )was misleading and unfair.

The research you reported merely demonstrated that 12 of the 27 open academies make provision to admit up to 10 per cent of their students on the basis of aptitude in their specialism, not on the basis of academic achievement.

The most common curriculum area for this is sport, which accounts for five of the 12. This hardly merits a headline which implies widespread selection on the basis of academic ability.

Moreover, academies which entered pupils for GCSEs in 2005 had an average free school meals eligibility of 39 per cent. This compares with 14 per cent for all schools - hardly evidence of a bias towards the middle classes.

Schools the academies replaced, averaged 21 per cent 5+ A*-C grades at GCSE in their last year; by 2005, the 14 academies which replaced them had improved this to 37 per cent.

Sir Cyril Taylor

Chairman

Specialist Schools and Academies Trust

37 Queen's Gate

London SW7

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