Boys value their education, too

6th July 2001 at 01:00
Regarding the annual conference of the Council for Independent Further Education at Stratford-upon-Avon, it is not often that the head of a girls' school in the Girls' Schools Association jumps to the defence of her colleagues in Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference Schools (FEFocus, May 25).

However, I was incensed by Josephine Palmer's remarks during her address to the annual conference of the Council for Independent Further Education.

As the head of a crammer, Ms Palmer is bound to be recruiting youngsters who have failed their examinations. And as an independent college, she is likely to be recruiting from those who can afford to send their children to independent schools. They are also likely to be demotivated and with low self-esteem if they have failed their exams.

I am not denying there will be a few whose parents have not encouraged them to see the value of their education. To condemn the boys' independent sector, however, in the way Josephine Palmer did in her speech was absolutely ridiculous. Most children appreciate greatly the sacrifices their parents make to educate them independently. They are highly motivated, work incredibly hard and get excellent results. Their teachers encourage, support and care for them rather than bully, as she suggests.

As for the heads excluding to meet league table ratings, does she really believe we behave so immorally? If Ms Palmer came to visit some of our schools, she could see for herself how wrong her views are.

Rosemary Lewis Headmistress Burgess high school for girls

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