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Objection to selection is 'educational'

Robert McCartney's misleading article 'Comprehensive Failure' (March 12) requires a record-straightening response.

As I do not believe that social mobility is greatly influenced by school organisation, I am not lobbying for an end to selection in the hope that it might be improved. It is unlikely to make a significant difference.

The (incorrect) data on school meals which he includes omit the figures for Northern Ireland. They are: grammar 6%, secondary 26%, average 17%. Social selection is even more entrenched here than in England.

When all Northern Ireland students are included and not just those at QUB and UU, the proportion from lower-income groups is on a par with England. On that basis our selective system does not either favour or disadvantage such students.

My objections to selection are not egalitarian, but educational and moral. We don't need selection as the good comprehensive schools we already have demonstrate - as do the countries heading up the international league tables that England is slipping down.

ALASTAIR WALKER

Bangor, Co Down

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