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Whatever it costs, education is priceless

Ed Dorrell's editorial is absolutely right ("Fortune favours the brave, as well as the rich", 1 November). Research indicating that there is no systematic difference between public and private education ("The best education money can buy?", 1 November) comes as no surprise. He is also correct that this evidence will not damage the market for elite institutions because their product is more social than academic. But this does not necessarily mean that the governmental aspiration to "share the DNA" of private schools is pointless. If there was a literal sharing of DNA, ensuring that every school included a cross section of society, we might see improvement in outcomes across the board. However, that is probably not quite what those who coined the phrase had in mind.

Alan Parker, Former director of education, London.

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