A different way of life is the price of progress;Letter

10th April 1998 at 01:00
It is particularly welcome that research which finds that "assisted places are good for working-class children" (TES, March 27) should come from Geoff Whitty and Tony Edwards.

Some years ago they produced research which found that assisted places were not going to working-class children. It is the skew which your article puts on the finding - "if they managed to fit in" - that is less welcome. We could all find children of whatever background who will look back on their schooldays with less than total enthusiasm. This is not a particular characteristic of working-class children in independent schools.

Generalisations about schools are difficult to make. Some independent schools, like Colfe's where I was head until 1990, had a broad and balanced social clientele where pupils from poorer families were following generations of pupils from similar backgrounds. There are many independent schools with similar claims. Equally, there are grammar schools and comprehensives in leafy suburbs where the social mix would certainly be no greater.

History tells us that success at school and university has often taken young people into a different way of life from the rest of their family and this may be seen as the price of progress.

V S Anthony

The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference 130 Regent Road Leicester

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