Putting boot into Wellington head

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Wellington head Anthony Seldon ("Say no to choice... and deny poor people a basic right", TES, March 17) continues to betray a fundamental lack of understanding of the case his numerous critics are making.

Quite simply, the notion of unfettered market forces where "good" schools thrive and expand while those judged to be failing at any given time are quickly closed, conflicts with effective strategic planning - as even the most challenged of my A-level economics students over the years would have understood. Planning and provision of public services are not analogous with the market for consumer goods.

As headteachers, many of us feel a responsibility to the wider society beyond the school gates which includes all our young people. We remain convinced that allowing more state schools to be independent of council control, as advocated by Mr Seldon, would give further privilege to a minority of families, while disadvantaging those in greatest need.

This is why, while we welcome a high degree of independence in school management, we believe this should continue to be within a democratically accountable local government system.

This is not the position of some extremist minority; remember that, despite the myriad of pressures and bribes to opt out of local education authority control and go down the path of "I'mall right Jack", 96 per cent of schools chose to stay with their LEAs.

Tom Megahy

The River Leen school

Nottingham

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