Path to equality
The findings of Professor Stephen Ball, that socio-economic factors in education extend beyond the classroom to the home environment, as explored in "Schools not to blame for exam divide" (TES, October 24) are incredibly interesting. The article explored the many educational support facilities which are available to the middle-class parent with cash to spare.
Though few and far between, there are some excellent schemes running to provide disadvantaged children with the same support and guidance that middle class families can afford to buy. IntoUniversity provides a free, long-term educational programme including after school, academic support, mentoring, subject-based experiential learning and workshops on university applications. We operate from our centres in areas of urban deprivation in London and we aim to raise disadvantaged children's aspirations while providing them with the skills and knowledge to achieve their educational aims.
The profit-making schemes mentioned in the article are yet another barrier blocking the path to equality in education. Many parents cannot afford the extra tutoring or one-to-one guidance interviews, and yet they are the very people who may not have the skills or academic background to support their children's out-of-school learning. It is no wonder that "social mobility also appeared to have stalled".
If we are to achieve equality in education and avoid the privatisation of extra-curricular learning, we must create more schemes like IntoUniversity.
Maeve McClenaghan, Development officer IntoUniversity, London.