23 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 18

S1R,—Sir Cyril Norwood advances two doubtful arguments in his proposals.

He says, " Competitive scholarship examina- tions for young boys in the form in which we have known them should be abolished: they have always done more harm than good." My own experience as headmaster and partner of a preparatory school for eighteen years has shown me that an ordinary boy's awareness that he has to pass the Common Entrance Examination, and his ambition, if he is a clever boy, to win a public school scholarship, constitute the chief incen- tives to diligence and use of brains, both for teacher and pupil. If you drop these examinations, keenness to learn, to work and to teach will inevitably fall away. That, in fact, is the tendency today, when the results of a boy's C.E.E. examination are invariably accepted by all but a few schools.

In reply to the objection that his proposal to finance public schools from Whitehall will involve spending money for one class, Dr. Norwood says that by his proposal the doors of the public schools will be opened without respect to class. But that is not his proposal. He proposes that the public schools should accept from the elementary schools an entry of not less than to per cent. This is a very different thing, and a door not open but just a little ajar.—I am, yours faithfully,