The Spectator

Letters | 2 November 2017

Also: a stock solution, the Arabian closet, Lady Muck, and how to make work pay

Equality of outcome

Sir: Rod Liddle exposes some deep flaws in the way children are prepared to play their part in adulthood (‘The kids aren’t all right’, 28 October). But one in particular merits further analysis. He is right to say that teachers’ imperative is to raise the D grade students at GCSE to a C, as a school is judged on the number of A-C grade passes it secures. So all the best teachers and all the extra resources are focused on the D grade children. An A grade student who could, with a bit of help, achieve an A* and thus begin their journey to Cambridge is ignored, and if he or she achieves only a B, that is a tick in the box; a success.

David Lammy accuses Oxbridge and other universities of failing to award places to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Universities can only award places to students who are sufficiently gifted intellectually, and they can only do this by looking at the available evidence, principally in the form of exam results. It was Mr Lammy’s party in government which introduced the target system and promoted so rigorously the need for equality of outcome over equality of input. It is hard to see why this is in the nation’s best interests.
Jonathan Powell

Fakenham, Norfolk

Stock solution

Sir: The Spectator was the first to ask quite how Generation Y is to believe in capitalism when they have no capital. Last week James Forsyth noted that Chancellor Hammond is not one to pull rabbits from hats, but is in need of something radical in his budget (‘Hammond can build his way out of trouble’, 28 October). An obvious answer would be to exempt gifts of shares from the current annual limits and requirement for the donor to survive seven years after making the gift.

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