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Education letters

From Hackney Downs to AC Grayling

Michael Barber's CV

It was nice to learn that Michael Barber is making world-class money working for Pearson (Mad professor goes global, 14 June). But it's sad that he is still quoted as defending the closure of Hackney Downs school in 1995 as some kind of triumph. The hurried closure of the school in December 1995 had a disastrous effect on the education of many of the boys, especially those in their final GCSE year. The history of the closure is one of educational neglect, political machinations and deionisation of the school, teachers, students and their families. Perhaps Barber was right to boast that the stand taken became the foundation of New Labour's education policy. It could stand as a metaphor for the increase in inequalities in the education system and the continuing punitive measures aimed at schools in poorer areas.

Professor Sally Tomlinson

University of Oxford

• Peter Wilby misses one of Michael Barber's greatest successes. Barber was also a member of Lord Browne's review of higher education funding. He was not the only horse out of the McKinsey stable involved in the review. There was also Peter Sands, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, who spent 13 years at McKinsey. Indeed, there are many of us who believe that Browne's report would have been much more honestly entitled "the McKinsey report", but this would have drawn attention to the privatisation agenda underlying its recommendations.

Professor John Newsinger

Bath Spa University

No loss of jobs

Yup, James Dyson is the obvious choice to spearhead the revival of British manufacturing by repurposing design technology education ('It's not about banging nails into wood', 14 June). You conjure up problems: disappointment that the wheel on your wheelbarrow is not a bright orange plastic football; the frustration of not being able to watch the muck you've hoovered up whizzing round inside the machine. And then, having built a business out of that, you dump a big chunk of your workforce and send their jobs overseas. To me "British manufacturing" means people employed in the UK, paying UK taxes to finance, among other things, design technology education.

Root Cartwright

Radlett, Hertfordshire

Student complaints

Sue Littlemore asked whether vice-chancellors are becoming heads of customer sevices, following a rise in student complaints.

When you pay, you've got rights to complain. When you pay a lot, you've got rights to complain a lot.

jekylnhyde via

• Student anger should be directed at the government, which has cut university funding and is making students pick up the bill. The universities will have no more money, while being expected to deliver enhanced services.

coffeetable via

A set-up?

Harriet Swain wrote a step-by-step guide to starting your own university in the manner of AC Grayling.

I find it difficult to see what the fuss is all about. AC Grayling is only doing this to highlight the cuts that humanities departments have suffered.

beth23 via

• A perfect skewering. (I'm still chuckling as I'm typing.)

2baz via

• Journalism of the lowest order.

Lionel via © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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