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We need ideas, not criticism


The reported views of Mark Whitby (NCE 26 April) were interesting. He berates Lord Sainsbury for the lack of pupils taking A-level Physics and he is surprised that none of the engineering institutions 'called for his head'.

Was Whitby not president of ICE during the same 'watch' as Sainsbury - to use his term?

What did Whitby do about it at the time?

It is all very well piping up now that Sainsbury has left government ofce.

In my view, Sainsbury has been one of the more effective and committed ministers for science and technology for many decades - if he had not have been he would have been fired, not kept in the post for most of the past 10 years while holding a very hot potato.

I am sure that there are things that Sainsbury could have done better - couldn't we all? But at least he tried and in my opinion was reasonably successful at the job. It is hardly the most glamorous appointment in the government, so all credit to him for sticking with it.

To be fair to Whitby, there is a crisis with science and maths A-level pupils. But it would be more useful if we had some suggestions on how the problem might be solved rather than a grapeshot fusillade of criticism aimed at those who were on the field of battle at the time from somebody who should have been doing his bit as well.

Brian Clancy, Brian. clancy@btinternet. com

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