MARTIN Wright (Your Views, June 21) trots out two rather meaningless pieces of research to support the end of selective education.

To say that grammar school pupils gain no social or emotional advantage over non-selected pupils has no relevancy to the subject — social or emotional advantage is not the purpose of selective education.

The other piece of research that he quotes is self-explanatory — those with greater ability will pass the selective procedure; those from higher-income families usually want to do as well as their parents have done, and their parents want them to do well.

For those with the ability, the 11+ is hardly traumatic.

When I took it in 1953,we had been used to the type of questions for the previous two years at school, and my parents having recently come through the Second World War hardly regarded my taking the 11+ as a traumatic experience!

People in those days got things in perspective.

In those days, children who failed the exam just carried on and, after secondary school, some went into apprenticeships, and some into technical colleges.

There was no stigma attached to failing the exam.

The benefit of selection is that grouping children who are either of greater ability, or are more anxious to learn, makes life slightly easier for teachers, as they are more aware of the capabilities of the children that they are teaching, and can aim the lessons accordingly.

Comprehensive education is a bit like communism — it is great in theory, but the execution of it can leave a lot to be desired.

Selective education has worked well wherever it has been allowed to remain.

The concern is more often with the parents rather than the children who take the exam — they regard themselves as failures if the child fails and that is the crux of the matter.

When the Labour government wanted to put an end to selective education, it was notable that it did not touch the bastions of privilege, the public schools, possibly because many of that government came from public schools!

If it had really wanted an open to all comprehensive system, then public schools should have been first on the agenda for change, as well as the grammar schools.

David Olliver