As a working-class child from a council housing estate, I escaped the 1950s secondary modern's emphasis on cookery, sewing and "homemaking" for girls by going to a grammar school.

I was therefore very interested in the Professional Association of Teachers' raising, yet again, the vexed question of grammar schools and in their call for more such schools to be created.

It is, I admit, a subject that generates much heat, mostly, I suspect, because the rabid egalitarians can't stand the fact that many parents who can afford it send their children to private schools which promise tuition for the 11-plus, or to private tutors, often at exorbitant fees, which certainly excludes many able children of poor parents.

However, to equate preparation for the exam with guaranteed success in the test is entirely wrong. After all, although it would be foolish to expect a person to take a driving test if he'd never even sat behind the wheel before, it is equally wrong to assume that everyone who has had driving lessons is bound to pass the driving test.

So it is with the 11-plus. Over the years, I've tutored many children for the Birmingham grammar schools' exams and I can safely say this: You can give children the knowledge of what types of questions are set, you can give them unlimited practice in the questions, but you can't make them intelligent.

Unfortunately, many good average children do not have the special ability to cope with the highly academic curriculum of a grammar school. This, to me, is where the real scandal lies. Parents don't need to spend £22 an hour for private tuition, or fork out great fees for private education.

All that it needs is for the "egalitarians" in our schools to forget their dogma of "if everybody can't do it then nobody can do it" long enough to allow state schools to prepare all their interested pupils for the exam.

A short time each week for Easter of Year 5 to November of Year 6 (when the 11-plus exams take place), teaching the necessary techniques and giving them practice in all the sorts of questions they will meet would give their poor children the same chance as the rich.

"Well," I hear you say, "why is it that private schools and tutorial agencies get such good results if they don't offer an unfair advantage to their pupils?" Has it never occurred to you that the unfair advantage, if there is one, lies in the intelligence of the parents?

If parents are really successful enough in life to have money to spare for private education, it might well follow that they are educated and intelligent and have passed their intelligence on to their children.

The real inequalities of the system lie in the lack of grammar school places for all those children who could benefit from a grammar school education and the refusal of dogma-ridden teachers to teach for the exam in state schools, in case anybody fails.

It all boils down to this: are we willing to allow the public schools to have a monopoly of educating our best brains or are we going to give every child who has the intelligence the chance to be the movers and shakers of the future?