Readers' letters - March 14

Grammar schools not the answer to education flaws

Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:04 am

The free/selective school policy is a political sop to the many Government supporters who ardently believe that grammar schools are the solution to the country’s educational problems, despite evidence to the contrary.

This belief is founded on four myths:

n Merit can be correctly identified;

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n Merit can be accurately measured;

n Merit consists of an individual’s innate potential plus their efforts;

n Everyone has the same opportunity to develop the merit.

The disadvantaged are told that if they play in this system they can succeed, but what we have is a rigged meritocracy, a system that is designed to fail them.

The recently deceased Sir Peter Mansfield won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his part in developing the MRI scanner – despite being an 11-Plus failure.

That seems to point to a huge fault in the educational selection process.

Lots of changes have occurred from the tripartite system of 1945 to the free schools of today, but schools still regularly ‘fail’, could it be that the rotten apple in the barrel is the ‘independent sector’?

John Davies

Via email

Penalties will have little effect

The recent increase in legal penalties for using a mobile phone while driving a vehicle, will have little, or no, effect.

Awarding six points still means that the criminal will still be able to drive and £200 is only a good night out.

No deterrent at all.

What punishment needs to be implemented is an instant ban for 12 months, with no mitigating circumstances being admissible. Also, evidence received from the public such as a photograph, or record of the event by at least two people, should be made acceptable for the police to bring a court case.

If the illegal use of the phone causes damage, or injury to others, then the ban should be for life, with life meaning life.

However, I feel phones are only the thin end of the wedge with modern vehicles.

With more and more on-board phone and entertainment technology and less and less manual control of the vehicle – reversing alarms, automatic gearbox, Sat-Nav, self-parking, cruise control being required – the potential for driver distraction will increase more and more. God help our grandchildren riding a bicycle on a public road.

Paul Emsley

via email

Why Labour

lost its voters

Can I enlighten Baroness Shami Chakrabarti as to why Labour was ousted in the Copeland by-election?

Her assumption that only Tory voters own cars, while Labour voters rely on public transport, is absurd. I’ve voted Labour in the past and I owned a car, as I do now when I don’t vote Labour.

The reason I no longer vote Labour is because the party has become filled with people such as her – the likes of Emily Thornberry, who sneer at the flag of St George and ‘white van men’, as if their very existence were proof of bigotry and racism, and people like Diane Abbott, who advocates state education while sending her child to private school.

The Labour Party is finished if it stays on its current course – not just in Copeland, but nationwide.

It no longer represents the people it was created to represent.

Nowadays, it despises those people. That’s why it lost Copeland, not because they can’t afford cars.


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