Comps are alive and in fine fettle

17th September 2004 at 01:00
Thank you for your balanced and informative article (TES, Friday magazine, September 3) on grammar schools. Above all, may I congratulate you on the creation of the brilliant new right-wing spoof character, "Andrew Rigby", of the aptly-named Skegness grammar school (the carefully selected photo enhancing the overall effect). The character managed to recreate perfectly that breathtaking arrogance and liking for prejudicial generalisations which remind me so starkly of my grammar school experiences in the 1960s.

Please, please can we have more of this; future articles could focus, for example, on the tragedy of the introduction of universal suffrage, the benefits of the abolition of all equal opportunities legislation or the case for introducing compulsory sterilisation and capital punishment into inner-city schools.

Far from being on "death row", the comprehensive system has never been in finer fettle, continuing to deliver record increases in attainment at seven, 11, 14, 16 and 18. Of particular note is that in schools which are facing challenging circumstances, standards are rising at a significantly faster rate than elsewhere - including the rejective and independent sectors.

As head of one of those schools, I work closely with a large number of fellow leaders on a range of projects to maintain and accelerate such improvement. Thankfully, I have yet to encounter any one of them whose solution would be a return to a situation based on blatant inequality of access with the aim of concentrating and retaining power and privilege in the hands of the few.

Your readers can be assured that the "Mr Rigbys" in our education system are hugely outnumbered by those committed not only to a socially-inclusive society, but one where all our young people have equality of access to the highest possible standards of educational provision.

Tom Megahy

3 Grange Close

Bessacarr, Doncaster

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