Peter Wilby's piece "What has fee charging got to do with charity?" (TES, January 25), like much recent criticism of independent schools, accuses them of "creaming off the most able pupils". He suggests that if state schools could have those pupils, all their students would improve.
Unfortunately, for many state schools with difficulties this is far from true. Instead, bright and conscientious pupils would be condemned to suffer disruption and discouragement from several of their classmates. Can we rightly expect middle-class parents of "intelligent, well-behaved children" (Mr Wilby's words) to keep their children in the state system simply to help schools with problems? Schools exist for the benefit of the children (including the able ones) and not the reverse.
Gavin Solomon, Postgraduate student and former teacher, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire.