4th August 1995 at 01:00
The gap between Sir Cyril Taylor ("High-tech strategy for future success", TES, July 21) and me is unbridgeable. I am accused of "missing the macro-economic arguments in favour of diversity". That is because those arguments are not in favour of diversity, but in favour of providing decent teaching in technology and languages to all our pupils, not a random selection. And if there is not enough money to do that all at once, then provision should be properly planned for the benefit of as many as possible.

Sir Cyril proves my point when he says that there is "even one in Northumberland". Why "even", for goodness' sake? One technology college and one languages college have been identified there. As both are on the Tyneside fringes they could tap some industrial support and have relatively affluent parent support. But what about "School C"? Its staff are just as devoted. Its children deserve those same extra opportunities. But since the local pit closed, the chief source of income of most of its parents is the DSS - not noted for its industrial sponsorship.

Shipley children in the mid-19th century received much better schooling than others because of the beneficence of Sir Titus Salt. We do not seem to have progressed much in 150 years.


Director of education Northumberland County Council

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