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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 11:24 GMT
'Myth about poor London schools'
Diane Abbott has been critical of colleagues' school choices
The man in charge of London's schools has rejected claims that the capital's schools are under-performing.

London schools czar Tim Brighouse spoke out as Labour MP Diane Abbott talked about her decision to send her son to a private school instead of a comprehensive.

Ms Abbott said her decision was "indefensible" and "agonising" but she took it to help her son.

At her local schools in Hackney, only 9% of black boys got five good GCSEs, she said.

Professor Brighouse says MPs' fears about standards in London schools are based on myth, not reality.

A new study to be published later this year would show that children at schools in London did better than schools with similar intakes in other parts of the country, he said.

Recently, the shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said he would "go out on the street and beg" rather than send his children to state schools in Lambeth.

Professor Brighouse told the Times Educational Supplement it was "extremely sad" that people opted out of the state system.

"But it is no reason for them to talk down the achievements the rest of us are enjoying," he said.

"My experience in putting my children through urban schools is that they achieve in a vivid and rich environment that is determinedly improving its performance."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Diane Abbott, Labour MP
"I had to choose between my reputation as a politician and my son."



SEE ALSO:
Abbott speaks out on school row
31 Oct 03  |  Politics
Abbott's son defends going private
28 Oct 03  |  Politics
Abbott criticised over school choice
27 Oct 03  |  Education
Parents face barrier to schools
17 Sep 03  |  Education
Police build rapport with pupils
03 Oct 02  |  Education
Q&A: Inner-city schools
02 Jun 03  |  Education


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