S1R,-The .principles which Mr. Anthony Turner endeavours to get clear seem still a little obscure. He implies that although a teacher ultimately receives his authority from the parent, yet a constable receives his from the Watch Committee. In fact, the authority of each derives ultimately from the electorate, especially in State schools.
Now surely Mr. Turner knows that for police purposes secret dossiers on the private lives of unsatisfactory citizens are maintained by the constabulary. He must also know that Public Health Departments keep records of such intimate details of houses as the number of beds and who sleep in them, and how many lodgers. (Is it not equally the dulls of the Education Department to keep records of educationally unsatisfactory homes? Are these in fact not already kept. in the form of reports from the School Attendance and Child Guidance Officers?)
Whether this information should he used in selecting children for grammar school education is a separate matter. In cases where children are, as far as can be ascertained, of equal ability, it is surely more sensible to use it than to toss a coin or use some similar method to choose between them.
The suggestion that a fixed percentage from each school be selected is hardly worth consideration. Apart from the problem which still remains of selection within the school. it involves the abandonment of any attempt to select the most suitable pupils from the whole of the L.E.A.'s area.
Mr. Turner also assumes some necessary contradiction, bet w een "centres of culture and education" and what he calls "mere scholarship factories," which has yet to be demonstrated; the use of pejorative terms for the one or the other hardly removes the need for such a demonstration.
is, I recognise, understandable that the great defender of, one might say martyr for, family privacy and personal liberty against the prying bureaucratic State, Mr. Anthony Turner, should feel strongly on the subject of "Those Record Cards." But, I think, it was regettable that they should have been imported into a question which, to me, seemed quite other.
When I wrote on the subject of selection of children for grammar school education. I neither suggested, nor was I thinking of. record cards, either private or public, official or unofficial; but simply of some means of assessing the suitability (if the word will pass) of parents for grammar school education.
I discover that in one other particular I have given a false impression. I did wish to seem to speak for my colleagues, laymen or even less priests, in adopting the pseudonym.
St. Ignatius College. Stamford Hill, N.I5.
Instruction in non-Catholic schools
SIR,-May 1 say a few words in your columns on the subject of religious instruction of Catholic pupils in grammar schools (non-Catholic), in particular of the age group 14-18?
For the Catholic teacher in these schools it is not a question whether or not Catholics should attend these schools. They do in fact attend them. It is a question of providing Catholic boys and girls, at an age when they are beginning to think for themselves, with the right kind of books and with some kind of planned course of religious instruction, i.e., suited to their stage of intellectual and emotional development. The Catholic pupils do not attend the Divinity lessons of the rest of the school. The priest, if he is .able to come for an hour once a week, probably feels obliged to concentrate on Apologetics, which is not sufficient food for the minds of the young.
The Divinity syllabus in the grammar school in which I teach has been drawn up with understanding of the stage of development of the class, and tics up with their other studies and with the questions and interests which naturally arise as the children become more inquiring and more critical..
What we Catholics seem to lack is :
(a) Enough of the right kind of textbooks to follow straight on after the Chatechism. 01 d Testament stories and history written not as a substitute for but as a guide to a properly graded reading of the Old Testament. Lives of the Saints written without too much attempt to "edify," leaving the well-told facts to make their own appeal. Background for the reading of the Scriptures (Catholic erudition put within the grasp of children), religious drama. stirring and inspiring Catholic literature (the non-Catholics ,have "Pilgrim's Progress"), and light thrown on the Catechism which the children learned before they had begun to think.
(b) The pooling of information as to what good books are available and what syllabus should be followed.
Perhaps you would allow your columns to be used for the purpose of exchanging information on this vital question?
Marcella M. Carver (Mrs.). 106a The Hornet, Chichester, Sussex.