The incredible shrinking number

18th May 2001 at 01:00
I agree with Alan Smithers that it is time for the Government to "give up conjuring tricks with statistics and admit the scale of the public-sector recruitment problem" ("Labour's magic numbers", TES, May 4). However, he doesn't help his case at all by suggesting that an extra 11,000 teaching posts in 438,000 amount to an insignificant 0.025 per cent. It is in fact a more significant, but still inadquate, 2.5 per cent.

Maybe Professor Smithers secretly hankers to join the Magic Circle of statisticians himself, in which case he needs a lot more practice or much bigger sleeves.

John Ewart 21 Darley Road Eastbourne , East Sussex * Editor's note: The percentage calculation was our error, not the professor's. Editorial staff responsible have been given a swift numeracy lesson.

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