11 MARCH 1966, Page 15

What Kind of School?

Sig,-1 should be extremely grateful for a brief 'right of reply' to what I consider to be some very unfair criticism of my letter (February 25).

Mr. Milligan bases his criticism on the assumption that I am all for the eleven-plus, which I implied in my letter that I am not; otherwise, he accepts that grammar schools are 'good and vital institu- tions.'

Mr. Edgcombe evidently thought that my letter was a full defence of the present system, which it was not—it was a criticism of one Tory by another over Tory policy. I do not doubt that his school is a successful one, but that is no proof that a whole comprehensive system now would neces- sarily be successful too. As for his point about teachers, it is a mere pipedream in these days of acute teacher shortages, and clumsy, rushed compre- hensive plans would make this crisis even worse.

Normally, I should ignore Mr. Craig's little piece of 'sublime mysticism and nonsense,' but, just for the record, I do know that the singular is pheno- menon, and put that in my draft. and, I am quite sure, in my actual letter, so I am probably being blamed for a printer's error.

I must say that I was extremely relieved to find that at least one person in last week's SPECTATOR (Norman St John-Stevas) agreed with me. so I am not completely alone!

IAN T. SMITH 35 Oakdene, Cottingham, Yorks.