Grammars, not sets, are barbarous

28th March 2003 at 00:00
Professor Ball is wrong about setting (TES, March 14). Setting is merely a strategy which helps teachers to cope. As my PGCE tutor, Professor Ted Wragg, pointed out recently, even he found mixed-ability teaching difficult. More ordinary mortals find it utterly overwhelming.

But the middle classes do commit educational "barbarism" by sending their children to grammar schools and moving house to be near schools that score well in the league tables.

Unfortunately, the tables have been a godsend to those who want to ensure that their offspring will have as little contact as possible with children from less privileged social classes.

Unlike many inspectors and government ministers, most middle-class parents have little doubt that schools score well in tests and examinations only if they are attended by sufficient numbers of bright children.

The only way to stop the middle classes from perpetuating this kind of "barbaric" social exclusion is to have nothing but inclusive comprehensive schools.

Masha Bell 24 Filleul Road Wareham, Dorset

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