Anthony Costello’s piece on the apparent “grip” of independent schools on Oxbridge is short on analysis and replete with prejudice, laid bare by recourse to such emotive phrases as “educational apartheid” (“How to loosen the grip of independent schools on Oxbridge?”, Opinion, 25 February).
Independent schools do relatively well in terms of Oxbridge admission for the following reasons: their unstinting belief in the value of intellectual endeavour; the culture of aspiration that they promote; the wide range of enrichment activities that they offer; and the expert guidance that they provide. Able pupils at state schools should of course have equal opportunities as their independent-school peers in terms of university admission. The means of achieving this lies not in quotas and government regulation but in improving the educational experience for pupils at so many of our maintained schools.
Streatham and Clapham High School