Letters extra: funding must be shared by all

17th August 2001 at 01:00

No, Gillian Penlington (August 10), this specialist spin does not work. Specialist schools under the Labour Government may be deliberately located in poor areas to target the worst-off, and Excellence in Cities schools, already with extra provision for able students, may be encouraged to seek specialist status.

Yet my experience from 1957-1992 was of five London secondary schools, mostly in deprived areas, all of which attracted sufficient proportions of high ability and middle class pupils to encourage reasonable pupil behaviour, good examination results, and skilled teachers.

Tragically this overall good quality has been destroyed by the deliberate competitive polarised "payment by results" Acclaim-Plus-Funding now in favour. We have excellence for some, and poverty for the rest. Are we one nation or not?

In our London Borough of Camden the majority of secondary schools have specialist status and are heavily oversubscribed and every year move up the results league tables. The minority of "loser" secondary schools strive valiantly, with loyal teaching staffs, and succeed in many ways in this unfair climate. It is those schools which lack specialist status that need the extra funding and the extra praise. Funding must be shared by all.

Margaret Ogden
London NW3nbsp;

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