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The state of play

As a committed teacher trade unionist, I have some reservations about references to "state education" in the current debate over academies.

No such thing as state education has ever existed in Britain (outside the brains, perhaps, of some left-wing ideologues.) Education on a popular scale was started by the Churches in the 19th century. At first, the state gave some small grants in aid. As time went on, a dual system was established with funding and management of schools shared between government and religious bodies. That, though it is often forgotten, is still the situation today.

In addition, we have the totally independent sector, which educates about 10 per cent of our children. So let us get things in perspective and not be seduced into believing that some chimerical one-size-fits-all system exists.

Andrew McLuskey, Staines, Middlesex.

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