Closure justified

2nd February 1996 at 00:00
Like Sally Tomlinson (TES, January 19) I hope the court case on Hackney Downs closure won't be the last word on the issues it raised.

There are at least two questions worthy of serious analysis.

One is historical: why did we collectively tolerate continuing failure in a small minority of schools for so long even after we had evidence of success in many other schools with similar intakes?

The other is for the future. How can we ensure that the policy framework encourages success and minimises failure so that the central government intervention remains a rare occurrence?

For the record, and contrary to the impression conveyed by the caption under the picture of the school on the letters page, it should also be noted that both in the High Court and the Appeal Court the closure decision and the process by which it was reached were fully vindicated.

Lord Justice Simon Brown in his judgment in the Appeal Court said: "There is no reason to question the Education Association's good faith: their members are of the highest repute as well as of great expertise and had no interests to serve but those of education."

He described the association's report as one of "strength and authority". The case which those opposed to closure put against the "sufficiency" of the report, he described as "profoundly misconceived".

PROFESSOR MICHAEL BARBER Dean of new initiatives Institute of Education University of London 20 Bedford Way London WC1

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