YP Letters: Technical point missed in debate over grammar schools

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

The possible return of grammar schools polarises opinion.

IT’S not often I take issue with ME Wright of Harrogate but, in the immortal words of Basil Fawlty, your correspondent is stating “the bleed’n obvious” in acknowledging that comprehensive schools work very well in Harrogate” (The Yorkshire Post, September 20).

Well of course they do. Wasn’t Harrogate recently polled the most desirable town in Britain in which to live? Discretion prevents me from naming several towns where children are victims of education by postcode.

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Another opponent of Theresa May’s proposals, John Appleyard, claims that, following the Education Act of 1944, “our education system became a matter of grammar or secondary modern”.

What about the excellent technical schools? Yes, grammar schools had more money spent on them and consequently had much better facilities than secondary moderns but to assert that “they had the best teachers” is disrespectful to the many fine teachers who taught in secondary moderns. I attended a grammar school where the teachers ranged from brilliant to hopeless.

For what it is worth, my wife, a miner’s daughter from a council estate, went to the local grammar school and became a grammar school teacher. Her older brother went to the technical school and had a successful career in further education. Her younger brother went to the secondary modern, took on an apprenticeship and became a skilled fitter. None ever complained about their education.

From: Andy Hodgson, Selby.

RE John Fisher’s letter (The Yorkshire Post, September 17).

It was failure by successive governments that led to technical skills being cut from the syllabus in comprehensive education. We are condemning our country to that of a service economy.

The conversion of polytechnics to universities has also contributed to the skills shortage. By achieving university status and charging excessive tuition fees, they have further worsened it. I also feel that there is a place for both grammar and comprehensive in our modern society. Don’t forget that the cream always rises to the top.

From: Eric Houlder, Pontefract.

IN response to John Appleyard, most of the best teachers, in my experience, worked in secondary modern schools. I am proud to have taught in several such schools, and still count many ex-pupils as friends and equals, as I also regard my ex-pupils from grammar and comprehensives.