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We need comparison of local authorities' spending

In your item last week on the inspectorate's report on inclusion in schools, "`Narrow' approach hinders disadvantaged pupils", I was drawn to the judgment by HMIE which stated that there were "substantial inequalities in outcomes for children, young people and adult learners".

The Save the Children report issued a few weeks ago put the spotlight on much the same topic, but was lambasted by local authority representatives. If we consider the education of pupils from deprived backgrounds to be a priority, can we find a way to get a clear and accurate view of these pupils and their chances in the competitive world of education and work?

The HMIE report draws attention to what you cite as "uninspiring teaching and low expectations from teachers", but what is the position regarding education authorities? If HMIE is able to look at results from 20 comparator schools and make judgments on a school's performance, can they do the same for education authorities in relation to best use of funds and to maximising the prospects for deprived children?

If we have authorities shown to be doing all they can within existing resources, we may be able to ask questions of poorer-performing authorities. We can also get a view of how wide a gap there is between existing and best provision for children from deprived backgrounds, and how much of a child's chances in life are outwith the control of education.

James Waugh, Nether Currie Crescent, Currie.

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