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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > November 2016 > Letters

Letters

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Old school

Alan Johnson describes, eloquently, the problems of the old grammar school system (“Schools and hard knocks,” October). That system became deeply unpopular with middle-class parents, who were unwilling for any of their children to go to secondary moderns. The abolition of grammars allowed academies and free schools to emerge, which in places like London have delivered truly high quality, non-selective education for all.

But this hasn’t happened everywhere. There are too many places around the country, like Knowsley, where very bright children are failed and have been for decades. For them, a small number of selective schools could be transformative. So while a return to a full grammar system would be bad, they have a place.

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In Prospect’s November issue: Sam Tanenhaus argues Donald Trump is a consequence of the American government ignoring the people—and they’ll have to deal with his impact whether he wins or loses the presidential election. Diane Roberts explores the rage eating America by looking at the people that government has failed. Switching the focus to the UK, David Marquand and a quartet of commentators assess Labour’s position—with varying conclusions. Also in this issue: Matthew Qvortrup looks at the relationship between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, two of Europe’s most important politicians whose lives have long been intertwined. Andy Burnham, Labour’s candidate for the mayor of Manchester, lays down the reasons why the northern powerhouse is so important and Prospect’s Arts and Books Editor Sameer Rahim reviews Zadie Smith’s latest novel.
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