Small groups best for A-level students

30th October 1998 at 00:00
I was incensed at your "exclusive" story on the costs of sixth forms in schools. I have taught at one of the country's largest sixth-form colleges for 20 years. It is quite clear that the MP you quoted has no concept of education and its delivery.

Contrary to popular political belief, we are not in the business of making widgets.

My very hard-working fellow teachers have the best interests of their students at heart and are not driven by the self-centred, egotistical desires of more myopic professions. The suggestion that A-level subjects are best delivered in huge, over-sized classes is anathema to teachers in this sector.

A-level subjects can be best delivered, to those in all ability ranges (but especially those of average or below average ability - which seems to be an ever-increasing market for our anachronistic examination system) in small groups. Students can get the one-to-one tutoring they need, standards can improve and we can produce the people that the country needs in the next millennium.

The comments are clearly driven by the need to save money. Lindsey Wharmby, sadly, is not living in the real world - the underfunded world to which sixth-form colleges have been condemned. Just compare the funding formula for FE courses with that of the same courses in the secondary sector.

Graham Michael Bell. 68 Mendip Way. Sundon Park. Luton

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