Market model is ill-fitting

21st February 1997 at 00:00
Dr James Tooley's article gave us a vision of a Conservative market-driven future for education (TES, January 31). There is value in a market approach but there are also dangers that Dr Tooley ignored.

Buying education is not like buying a pair of shoes or a restaurant, and Dr Tooley is wrong to suggest it is. It is unclear whether the consumers of education are the parents of the children. The parents may make the choice but the costs and benefits of the decision are borne by the children. If the shoes do not fit, it is easy to buy new ones: the same is not true for education.

The whole of the country gains from the education of its future workforce, not just the individual (or the individual's parent) who makes the choice. The ethos of schools helps to determine the ethos of society: to suggest that any government should be indifferent to the curriculum values in schools shows that Dr Tooley's "limited logic of the market" has taken him to something that is unacceptable.

KEITH ATTON

Headteacher The Piggott School Wargrave, Berkshire

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