Amanda Haehner writes (TES, March 27) that the Parliamentary Autumn Visits Programme demonstrates a form of social exclusion.
This programme is deliberately designed for sixth-form students preparing for examinations. Groups from different institutions are combined which means that more able Year 11 students may also find the programme useful. Any good teacher knows the importance of designing materials appropriate to the age and ability levels of the students concerned. This is why we also run a programme of Wednesday visits - the 1997-98 programme was advertised last September - designed for younger and less academic students. In addition we provide a variety of resources appropriate to a wide age and ability range, including education sheets, booklets, videos and a new CD Rom.
The education unit also supports individual and group visits to Parliament by arrangement with MPs, although with the equivalent of three full-time staff, the extent to which we can run specialist programmes is limited.
Parliamentary education officer Education Unit House of Commons, London SW1