Letters extra: three tiers for comprehensives

4th May 2001 at 01:00

Comprehensives need a complete shake up. Politicians and unions go on about pay and hours being the key issues for recruitment, they are not. The issue is discipline. Putting more teachers in schools would be better than increasing pay. Conditions would get better and more teachers would be recruited.

If comprehensives are to run properly you need a three tier system inside the one school: a grammar stream; main stream; and special stream, with possible flow between all three.

The middle classes would not need to educate their children privately then; they would know they would be free from disruption if they could get into the top stream. The special stream would need extra founding. Classes should be no larger than eight, with two teachers or an SEN assistant in the class at any one time. These pupils would also need a modified curriculum. Not all pupils need nine GCSEs.

I do not care what statistics say, setting benefits pupils who want to work. Mixed ability is fine in Years 7 or 8 and you could have mixed ability at the bottom in Years 1011 but not over all years.

G J Mills
Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

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