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It's time to learn the lessons of poor education

It never fails to amuse me when, each year, the school performance tables are released (News, March 6) that we get: 'Haven't the grammars done well; haven't the secondaries let pupils down?'

It's as if there was no correlation between schools allowed to select pupils of above-average ability and high rates of passes at A-level. It is a reinforcement of the notion that grammar schools have the best results because they have the best teachers.

Yet, this year, one-in-six has not achieved the benchmark set by DENI. Could this be anything to do with the decision to fill seats with pupils who, in the good old days, would not have been allowed across the threshold?

It's also amusing that there is 'shock, horror' among politicians when it comes to looking at the low literacy/numeracy levels of some pupils transferring from primary to secondary-level schools.

I wonder which of the two sectors of the secondary level these pupils transfer to? I'm nearly sure they all end up in the non-selective sector. So the comparison of the schools from the two sectors is not in the least fair, or appropriate.

The majority of children in the non-selective sector come mainly from that part of the community suffering from the effects of poverty and broken families.

Rather than wasting money on this unfit-for-purpose selective system, it would be better directed towards making sure no child leaves the primary sector with poor literacy and numeracy skills.

PATRICK J DORRIAN

Belfast

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