Super heads can work wonders

5th March 2010 at 00:00

It is unfortunate that your editorial repeats canards about Finland's world-class education system, which has transformed what was an agricultural backwater into one of the world's most dynamic high-tech economies ("Imports are all very well, but we export, too", February 26).

The two most important features of Finnish education are its fully comprehensive state schools and its highly educated teaching force. These features did not arise from Finland's "homogeneity" but from far-sighted political leadership. Moreover, there is no evidence that the system "neglects the talented". Britain, by contrast, has a highly stratified system of schools, disguised as one which offers "choice and diversity", and an under-educated teaching force.

As Professor Barker showed in his article, the rationale for this system is false and derives from the unwillingness of successive governments to confront the vested interests of a powerful minority. If anyone's talents are being neglected, they are those of the millions of British children who have not been born into wealth and privilege.

Michael Pyke, Campaign for State Education, Lichfield, Staffordshire.

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