YP Letters: End of grammar schools to blame for social mobility decline

Margaret Thatcher was the beneficiary of a grammar school education.
Margaret Thatcher was the beneficiary of a grammar school education.
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From: Mary Alexander, Knab Road, Sheffield.

JAYNE Dowle in her article on lost opportunities (The Yorkshire Post, February 29) fails to mention the closure of the grammar schools. Children from a poor family could still go to an excellent school if they had the academic ability.

Some were unable to take up the offer if their parents were too poor to provide the uniform or did not see the value of education, particularly for girls. However, for many, including my husband, it was an entry to a different world.

From: David T Craggs, Shafton Gate, Goldthorpe.

YET another excellent article from Jayne Dowle (Opportunities knocked as life chances revert back to 1946, The Yorkshire Post, February 29). My only criticism of the article is its title. Life has definitely not reverted back to the circumstances prevailing in 1946.

The children she refers to, those in fact born in 1946, I taught in a Wakefield secondary modern school in the early 1960s. On leaving, the boys went into the large range of apprenticeships that existed at the time, the girls into shop work or into the textile industry where they became skilled operators.

Today, while walking through the city centre, I meet these ex-pupils, now approaching their 70th year. All I speak to have done well, living in their own homes, successfully bringing up a family, holidaying in the sun, and now enjoying their retirement years. Never do they complain about their lot in life, and would be insulted if I suggested that by failing their 11+ they had in some way been left disadvantaged, as some left wing politicians would have us believe.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

JAYNE Dowle highlights the disproportionate number of old Etonians etc in government and elsewhere. What we never seem to be told is the extent to which MPs – including those who owe their success to a state education – choose to send their own children into the cheque-book sector. Here “ability” is devalued by the suffix ‘to pay’. Is it so very unreasonable to insist that those who seek to legislate should join the the other 90-odd per cent of us by enjoying the full fruits of their legislation?

From: Chris Giddings, Halifax.

COULD someone please send Jayne Dowle a piece of heavy grade sand paper to remove that very large chip she seems to have on her shoulder (The Yorkshire Post, March 3)?