7 MARCH 1970, Page 25

Education without reason

Sir: As a former teacher and as an elected member for many years of education com- mittees, I should like to comment briefly on Mr Michael Smith's letter (28 February). I do not know upon what authority he claims to be-able to reflect the views of the major- ity of people in the country but he certainly does not accurately represent the views of the people of Richmond-upon-Thames. He writes `. . . we are extremely frustrated by our local council who do not represent the educational views of the parents of your borough'.

What are the facts? Some twenty months ago we had an election of the Council, at which its educational policy was a definite issue. Many of my colleagues on the Coun- cil, as I myself, attended Parents' Association Meetings, interviewed patents and answered letters from them; and of course the As- sociation, besides exerting what influence it could over the main political parties, would have been able to run candidates on its own responsibility.

What was the result? Fifty-four candidates were duly returned as councillors, all Con- servatives in support of the party policy of supporting comprehensive schools where educationally desirable, but entirely opposed to local authorities being compelled to install a comprehensive system against their will. Not a single opponent of this policy was returned and during the subsequent period during which there have been several by-elections, only one seat has been lost by the Conservatives, and that to a Liberal, not a single socialist supporter of the Govern- ment having gained a seat. Unless Mr Smith maintains that all parents are inevitably out- voted by other ratepayers (a thesis difficult to sustain!) I do not see how he can blame the Council and regard them as unrepre- sentative of the borough's educational views.