Ideally the comprehensive system should improve itself so that its schools could provide an education equivalent to the private schools. But this is never going to happen. It could happen, as it does in other countries, if there were no strong private school sector. But the comprehensive system is simply not designed to compete in this way and cannot by its nature.
To those who rightly identify Mathematics as a critically important focal point for schools' improvement, I urge you to consider not just how we broaden the level of understanding in our schools, but how we stretch and challenge the very best, by doing so in an environment where excellence seeps through every pore of expectation.
Scratch at the egalitarian sheen of the modern Games, however, and there lies a gaping class chasm. Figures from the Department of Media, Culture and Sport show that in the 2008 Olympic Games around a quarter of Britain's athletes came from independent schools, compared to just 7% of the population as a whole. Our elite athletes are elite in more ways than one.