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5th February 2010 at 00:00

I must take exception to Gerard Kelly's statement last week: "Whatever parents' motivations when they decide to opt out of the state system, it is unarguable that they have the right within the law to educate their children as they see fit."

What he and the various heads of independents quoted failed to acknowledge is that this right is not available to all, as most cannot afford it. Anthony Little, head of Eton, said a completely state-run system was what everyone would "wish for". If the independent sector agrees, it must think hard about how it can create a climate where its co-existence with a thriving state sector can be benign and mutually reinforcing.

As long as buying education can afford greater life chances, the harm done to the state sector has to be reasonably assessed.

Helen Flynn, Harrogate.

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