Case of inverse snobbery?

17th October 2003 at 01:00
I am writing to object to the lazy journalism inherent in the piece on Nicholas Tate's departure from Winchester ("The Wykehamists' revenge", TES, October 3) Dr Tate met with resistance over the changes to catering (he had sought to end the practice of houses dining separately) because the school wanted to preserve the strong sense of community engendered in houses, a community which, as well as fostering academic excellence, provides good pastoral care.

Blaming his departure on arcane traditions is so far from the truth, it merely smacks of the kind of inverse snobbery in which some newspapers like to indulge: "toff school scorns state-educated head" etc, which your own sub-heading echoes.

This prejudice against private schooling is rife amongst educationists; the first, and not the last time I faced it was when I - private school and Oxbridge- educated - applied to be a teacher.

The exact words were: "So what's a refined person like you doing training to become a teacher?" It is a shame that The TES perpetuates this attitude to "venerable" institutions and their alumni instead of celebrating what they achieve.

Kirsty Staines

Head of English, St. Marylebone (state) school, 64 Marylebone High Street, London W1

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