I am glad that you printed Mr L. J. Hill's letter in your issue of January 24, because it gives an opportunity to express appreciation of Mr Norman St John-Stevas' return to your columns.
The existence of grammar schools does not deny any opportunities whatsoever to those who do not receive their education in them.
For many years it has been evident from the increasing number of transfers to furthei education or to grammar schools at 16, as well as from the increasing number of Certificate of Secondary Education and GCE successes in other than grammar schools, that the opportunities were available for all who wanted to take advantage of them.
It is questionable whether a transfer to a comprehensive system was 'ever necessary to ensure that this trend continued.
In any case Mr Hill is asking himself the wrong question. He ought to be asking whether the comprehensive school is automatically advantageous not only for the top 25 per cent but also for those at every level below.
He might well find that schools which were concentrating on the top 25 per cent were positively of less advantage to the less able.
There is nothing in Mr St John-Stevas' article to justify the suggestion that he advocates a "strict class system" in education. '
There are many areas in which the majority of grammar school pupils must always have been of working-class origin: there are areas with working-class comprehensive schools, and areas with middle-class comprehensive schools. Catholic voluntary schools will continue to attract children of all social backgrounds.
The subject is one for free discussion. I am sorry that Mr Hill should wish to stifle discussion on the plea that everything is known about it, and that there is nothing more to be discovered: he is orthodox, Mr St John-Stevas is heretic — and heretics, as G. K. Chesterton said, are always in the wrong!
C. E. Robin, 29 Wadhurst Road,
Mr Leslie J. Hill (January 24) seems to label those who support the policy of Mr St JohnStevas as extremist and desirous of maintaining a strict class system. May I, as one of those supporters, say this is quite untrue?
We are desirous of maintaining our good schools and improving the not-so-good so that all children in this country should be given "the fullest opportunities to develop their potential."
Mr Hill would do well to remember two things. First, that although we are all equal in our humanity, we do have different potentials to be developed; and, secondly, that man's first duty is to worship God, not to build up some materialistic, monolithic state system which his views on education would seem to propagate.
(Miss) C. M. Aplin II Woodstock Road,