22 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 36

Oboe lesson

From Jo West Sir: Please thank Eric Anderson (Diary, 15 November) for coining the acronym OBOE (Over-Bureaucratisation Of Everything), but please also point out that grammar schools have not been abolished — yet.

There are 162 state-maintained grammar schools in England at the time of writing. I am privileged to work in one of them. We all hold dear traditional values and any of your correspondents can visit grammar schools across the country to witness prize-giving, merit awards, arts festivals, international days, sports festivals and so on, observing well-behaved, motivated pupils who wear uniform.

Mr Blunkett, while Secretary of State for Education, promised to abolish grammar schools within ten years. By my reckoning, that gives us until halfway through the next newly elected government's term. I would be delighted to give a senior teacher's view of the government's plans for the future of our education, but I cannot as I have to dash off and fill in a 21-page application to be accepted on the new compulsory NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship), reading 45 pages of

accompanying documentation on the way; evidence, indeed, of a severe case of OBOE.

Jo West

Slough Grammar School, Berkshire