another Catholic headmaster but I was more than a little surprised to read the defence of league tables made by the headmaster of St Edmund's Catholic School (letter, Sept. 5).
The Oratory, like Stonyhurst and Worth, declined to submit itself to the annual farce of league tables for exactly the reasons that the admirable head of Stonyhurst, Adrian Aylward, set forward both in his words to the press and also in numerous conversations with me and others over the years.
League tables are as useful as a chocolate ashtray, and schools fixated by their positioning in the league tables risk disappearing up their own fundamentals. School is a preparation for life. This includes university but is much, much more than that, and any school that can call itself Catholic should not be trapped by the bean counters and the spinners. I am proud of all my pupils who achieve results that reflect their efforts and the care and professionalism of their teachers; whether that is four A grades or two D grades is, frankly, irrelevant.
Catholic education means holistic, inclusive education, not narrow or partisan and Catholic schools that embrace a league table mentality deny their very nature. In my humble opinion, these are the schools that do not deserve the name "Catholic". We have a wonderful opportunity now in Catholic education to represent a balance and sane expression of real education and we should not shrink from our task.
Yours faithfully, CLIVE DYTOR Headmaster, The Oratory School Woodcote, Berkshire