26 MAY 2007, Page 24

Sir: Congratulations on your leading article. I have today resigned

my membership of the Conservative party. As an ex-grammar school boy, from modest circumstances, who gained a place at Oxford and is now in a professional occupation, I cannot support a party led by a group of toffee-nosed Old Etonians who believe that my sort should have been kept in their place.

The comprehensive system has been a total failure over the past 30 years. It has failed to provide a challenging academic education for those who would benefit from it. It has failed to provide a vocational/technical education for those youngsters who are just below grammar-school level and it has failed to provide trade apprenticeships for those youngsters who would benefit from them.

Grammar schools are not wholly the solution to this country’s secondary education problems, but they are part of the solution. The fact that David Cameron thinks otherwise makes it quite clear that the Conservative party no more intends to deal with this country’s education problems than the Labour party does.

Andrew Walters Petersfield, Hants