22 JULY 1972, Page 28

Break ILEA

Sir: If Mr Richard Wort (Letters, July 8) seeks to be read with any attention in his excursions into sociology and education he will need to interpret Department of Education statistics with more care and knowledge of London than his letter shows. I cannot imagine that any teacher, whether at Eton or in the inner city school, would accept his equation of educational achievement' with the percentage of age group going on to university.

But, taking his last criterion, certainly in 1970 the inner London figure was 7.1 per cent, and four of what are in his terms the "most successful " boroughs of outer London had percentages of up to Richmond's 16.3. But why select these four (Kingston, Bromley and Barnet with Richmond) — all, according to the advertising industry's scale of values, with populations in the A and B classes? Why not our friends in Bexley (7.6 per cent), Haringey (7.7) and Waltham Forest (4.9)? Other outer boroughs have lower figures — for what they are worth as measures of "achievement."

Mr Wort should have turned over the page in his Statistics of Education, Volume 5 and seen how inner London compared with other conurbations — Birmingham 4.65, Manchester 5.74, Liverpool 4.86, Leeds 6.47, Newcastle upon Tyne 5.79, But all these, like inner London, have their wealthy suburban areas — Birmingham's Solihull (18.46 per cent) and Cheshire (11.0) for the two Lancashire cities.

Mr Wort shows his hand in the last paragraph of his letter. He is out to break up the ILEA. But the Department of Education at least would be most surprised at his suggestion that visitors from overseas whom they send to our schools will get a "poor impression" of English education. Such visitors, and we welcome them, are coming to us all the time, from every continent: Ashley Bramall Leader, Inner London Education Authority, The County Hall, London SE1.