Elite schools always find ways to boost grades | Letters

David Selby says that many pupils are being failed by the school curriculum being geared towards university entrance; Bernie Evans writes that Pre-U exams are sidelining A-levels at many private and high-achieving state schools; David Blake recalls working with a superhead

It would appear that Barnaby Lenon, featured in Peter Wilby’s article (From Harrow to hairdressing: elite school head takes a new direction, 10 July), has not explored the fundamental problem – the school curriculum is geared towards university entrance. Having spent 30 years of my life working in the further education sector and a further 15 years as a volunteer working with young offenders, I have found that the school experience of many of the young people in question who are made to follow an academic programme does not leave them with an enthusiasm for learning, just a feeling of failure in not achieving a higher grade, and a general boredom with the whole process.

It is irrelevant whether “T-levels” will work or not, the possible recruits need to see their relevance, both in terms of job prospects and a learning process that is not going to bore them so much that they leave. Some years ago an act was passed that made it compulsory for students up to the age of 18 to be in some kind of education, training or employment. It would be most interesting to learn both what the take-up rate is, and the drop-out rate. For these young people, and adults also venturing into post-school education, it is not just what they are required to learn, but how they learn, and too little attention is paid by schools and the government to this issue.
David Selby
South Wonston, Hampshire

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