Think again

24th October 1997 at 01:00
I'm not sure what spectrum the Campaign for State Education is meant to be at the end of, in its response to the three categories of school proposals ("Blunkett's Bill is ready for take-off", TES, October 10).

After all, despite numerous inducements, only around 1,200 of the 24,000 schools voted to become grant-maintained. Surely they are the few, while the rest are the many?

CASE has been careful never to attack GM schools, which are state schools after all, some opting out to escape closure or being forced to become selective. But we did attack the previous government's opting-out policy, which destabilised the education system and was divisive.

What is almost unbelievable is that unless the present Government has a change of heart, this criticism will fairly apply to its policy too. CASE has alternative proposals for two types of schools, which are simpler, fairer and more democratic, retain the commitment to a denominational option within the public sector and would mean far less disruption. We will be happy to provide details (tel: 0181-944 8206).

We do not think we are alone in asking for a rethink. Surely if, in the end, the overwhelming view is that the Government should think again on the structures, it should take notice? There is even more at stake than just school structure. Because of the way in which the previous government "consulted" - a national curriculum over the summer holiday, for example - deep cynicism developed.

Now a new government begins with goodwill on many sides. If cynicism were to develop again, as a result of the Government's unwillingness to listen, the achievement of higher standards, which relies on the energy of all partners in our schools, will be threatened.

MARGARET TULLOCH

Executive Secretary Campaign for State Education 158 Durham Road London SW20

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