Unnatural selection

Ian Craig, the acting strategic director of Kent LEA (Letters, 7 January), is being deliberately disingenuous or, more worryingly, fails to understand that LEAs, such as Kent, that persist with the 11-plus examination are being propped up with additional money from this government.

Under the weaker schools initiative, announced last January, Kent LEA received the same sum per pupil as Hackney and Tower Hamlets. In no way does Kent have the problems of inner London boroughs. However, 36 per cent of schools in selective LEAs are weak, against only 18 per cent nationally. Selective LEAs serve a relatively socially advantaged group - 13 per cent take free school meals, compared to 18 per cent in non-selective areas, and the ability profile is higher in selective LEAs: 53 per cent above average, compared to 44 per cent in non-selective areas.

With these advantages, why do selective LEAs have so many weak schools, and overall depressed performance at GCSE compared to similar LEAs with comprehensive secondary organisation?

Rebecca Matthews
Chair, Step (Stop the Eleven Plus campaign)
Maidstone, Kent