Challenge is to help the have-nots

17th November 1995 at 00:00
David Blunkett may well have been stating the obvious about homework as far as professionals and committed parents are concerned (TES, November 3), but what about the rest?

It is indisputable that we lag behind other countries in raising educational standards, and unless we stop being complacent about children who are under- achieving, it will stay that way.

Raising standards is a pathway out of poverty, and homework is part of it. The wide-ranging debate about homework that Labour initiated may engage those parents who read neither The TES nor the Guardian education section.

The implication of your report that Labour's homework initiative ignores children who do not have peace and quiet in which to work is far from accurate - in fact, it raises this as a central issue. The way in which those you quote dismiss homework clubs and study support centres as only available for the few completely goes against the thrust of our argument, which is that we must ensure that every child has the highest expectations and the wherewithal to fulfil them.

Far from attempting to snatch back the traditionalist agenda, the only agenda the Labour party is interested in is raising standards in all our schools for all our children. We know that many schools have got it right already. The real challenge rests in helping those who haven't.

ESTELLE MORRIS

Labour education spokesperson House of Commons, London SW1

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