JOHN R ARMSTRONG (HAS, Jul 19) draws attention to suggested abolition of public schools, and he rightly points out that parents are entitled to send their children to these establishments.

One should however remember that over the years the role of these centres of learning have changed markedly.

Many were founded by grant or endowment to educate the poor and underprivileged, for example Henry VI specifically helped to found Eton to help around 70 such children and subsequently also granted lands to this end.

Many current public schools mainly ignore pupils from poorer backgrounds, have spurious charitable status to increase the value of any funding they receive, I appreciate they use the present legal instruments to retain monies this way which could have otherwise gone to the public purse.

Currently fees at Eton per year are approximately 50 per cent higher than the average UK income, which immediately indicates that after tax and/or with savings only probably the top two per cent of earners could even think to send their offspring to this college.

Public schools do an excellent job of ensuring this already minority group have a sense of entitlement to privilege and power.

People do question if such a small, narrow banded elite should have such sway over the majority of us in a modern world.

It is obvious, that while any education helps knowledge it doesn’t necessarily equate to intelligence.

One only has to take a look at the mess the so-called elite have made of the governance and leadership of this country to see that some review of our systems of education are now long overdue.

B. Jackson, Sacriston