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Be a part of it; emails &letters.

NO MATTER how hard I try, I just cannot make my heart bleed for the plight of the "world-class" academics who apparently are struggling to get their offspring into pole-position in "good schools" in the area, as suggested by Ben Turner in the Daily Post recently ("Liverpool Risking Brain-drain unless schools improve, warns university" - 2/8/10) I am still trying to work out just how this set of circumstances constitutes a braindrain at all. Extrapolating from the decision of one academic, Professor Eric Saak, to leave his family's education undisturbed in Indiana, The Daily Post has fashioned a somewhat hysterical headline. Here in Liverpool, we know all about that as generations of talent have been forced into exile since the 1950s when our so-called "top schools" established their reputations with the support of copious amounts of public funding.

The quaint 60s notion of "brain-drain" I understood to be when the highest qualified leave, not don't actually arrive.

I would suggest that the alternative open to Prof Saak is to do the decent thing and send their children to local schools as did Sir Paul Mc-Cartney in Sussex, in return for living in the vibrant multicultural city that Liverpool is, enjoying the benefits of world-class sports and arts heritage and reasonably-priced housing. Perhaps then these schools would develop and blossom into the kinds of schools which get the A* passes apparently required these days to get into our "elite" universities, which, of course, he might want them to go to. The schools he wants are exclusive, by definition they are, and will remain exclusive by restricting entry. Sorry. Q.E.D. Maintaining a mixed provision and market-led education sector inevitably causes the kinds of shortages which Prof Saak has encountered.

I cannot disagree with your leader article in the same issue which says, "Every school should be of a high standard, giving a fair chance of a good education" but I fear that what we are dealing with here is the notion that, when all is equal, some are more equal than others and, like offspring of diplomats and senior Army ranks, part of the deal is a fast-track to the "Dreaming Spires".

To paraphrase JFK, perhaps in these cases it is apposite to ask of academics not what Liverpool can do for them, but what they can do for the city. Joining in is a start.

Gerald Murphy, via email
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 9, 2010
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