Save the NHS by demonstrating to voters the advantages of medical insurance


SIR – Architecture – together with English – is now listed as a poor earning degree (report, August 17).

Thirty years ago I worked as an adviser to the Department of Education. Civil servants drew up plans to scale back the variety of architecture courses in England by six. Eventually, only one was closed.

Ten years later, a couple of dozen recent architecture degrees were approved and student numbers considerably increased.

On this basis, universities are over-supplying the market, with little probability of a job for everybody. At the identical time we’re short of important medical and teaching staff.

These students are being funded by the taxpayer. Is it not time some discipline and logic were applied? Within the Nineties recession someone commented that “25 per cent of architects in London are unemployed and one other 25 per cent are unemployable”.

Dr Allan Ashworth


SIR – Your report (August 18) indicates that James Cleverly, our newly appointed Secretary of State for Education, has learnt nothing since Tony Blair’s mistake in setting an arbitrary goal for university entrance.

It’s ironic that Mr Blair’s son, Euan, is behind the successful Multiverse apprenticeship scheme.

Mr Cleverly should study the German dual educational system and the Dyson degree apprenticeship for engineering – a serious alternative to school for young people to amass the abilities and work experience so badly needed by businesses on this country, and neglected by successive governments.

Allison Pearson (Comment, August 17) summed up the current situation perfectly: “Now, hard-working, high-achieving sixth formers, the talent which the UK so desperately must give you the chance to compete globally, find themselves shut out from the highest degree courses … in a rustic that prefers to engineer admissions for youths from areas of ‘socio-economic drawback’, slightly than improving the varsity system which failed them.”

Up to now six years we’ve got had six ministers accountable for education, providing no continuity or strategic vision for the long run.

School funding per pupil has also declined as a consequence of pressure from the health sector and other essential services. It’s time to make education an urgent priority for global Britain.

Paul Knocker
Bembridge, Isle of Wight


RAF recruitment

SIR – Surely it’s the duty and to the good thing about every organisation, even the RAF (Letters, August 19), to employ the very best candidates for the success of its enterprise. Imposing quotas from the outset is definitely unsuitable.

If I used to be flying a jet fighter I would love to know that it had been maintained by probably the most capable. If it happened that this was a green, two-headed Martian, so be it.

Gregory Gill
Whitley Bay, Northumberland


SIR – I personally see nothing unsuitable with targeted promoting to help recruitment to the RAF (report, August 17). I do, nevertheless, take exception to moves to socially engineer the structure of the RAF, or indeed some other area of society.

Group Captain Phil Owen (retd)
Long Bennington, Lincolnshire


SIR – One hopes, indeed expects, that the retired Rear Admiral Mathias (Letters, August 18) has shared his expertise on military leadership directly with the Chief of the Air Staff.

Have the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the General Staff been similarly privileged? Or are this sailor’s criticisms and advice disbursed solely on air matters?

Air Chief Marshal Sir William Wratten
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire


When watering works

SIR – Professor Jerry Knox argues that water could be reused if it flows down our drains, but not when sprinkled on our gardens (Letters, August 17). This shouldn’t be universally applicable.

In my area, water from our drains is piped to the sewage works at Newhaven, then straight out to sea. Nonetheless, once I water the garden, water not lost through evaporation or transpiration (to fall again as rain) can sink right down to the chalk aquifer and eventually emerge from our taps again.

Michael Staples
Seaford, East Sussex


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