Selection is the best method to raise standards

12th November 2010 at 00:00

Your leader "Citizen Gove must suppress a revolution by those unfair and un-Tory grammars" (November 5) seems a bit of an over-reaction to the mere possibility that the schools may expand.

The argument weirdly asserts that grammars are not genuinely superior - they "merely" cater for the brightest. The fact is that those here dubbed mediocre still outshine most comprehensives at A-level, which means that selectivity caters better for the brightest than non-selectivity.

This principle is essential, especially through the secondary stage. It makes no sense to try to teach everyone at one average level. Standards are maintained at the top and, when these deteriorate, the lower levels are adversely affected, too.

A rigidly non-selective policy is the root cause of incessant problems in allocations to secondary schools. If all schools were permitted academically to select their intakes (and assess behaviour and commitment as well) this would have a greater effect in raising standards than any one of the measures that are continually tried to revolutionise the comprehensives.

Nigel Probert, Porthmadog.

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