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Value of private special schools

Your article "The bottom line of soaring costs" (TES, November 11) brought Mark Twain's comment about "lies, lies and damn statistics" to mind.

South Central Regional Inclusion Partnership's annual research is useful but bald figures often lead to headlines like the one above with little interpretation.

As Sara Pennington states ("A Quest on behalf of autistic children", TES, November 11), for her child, local authority provision was actually more expensive than an independent school. This picture is mirrored across our sector but the true cost of local authority provision is often masked.

Ofsted inspections of National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools rate them as at least "good" value for money (and frequently "very good") and your article on Treloar school, a NASS member ("Ready for battle", Friday magazine, November 11) highlights the value of our sector.

Not all schools have raised fees by large percentages in the past five years. Most schools and local authorities use the national contract for placement in our schools and aim to keep fee increases as close as possible to teachers' pay increases.

Claire Dorer

Chief executive National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools PO Box 705, York

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