CATHOLIC parents and teachers should be welcoming the changc-over to comprehensive schools rather than expressing fears about a shortage of finance and possible upheaval.
This view of Mr. Crosland's plans eventually affecting some 450 Catholic schools comes from the headmaster of one of Britain's few Catholic comprehensives.
Speaking in London last week Mr. J. Rudden said his opinion had been formed after teaching in one of London's three Catholic comprehensives since 1959.
Addressing a conference of some 150 Catholic headteachers drawn from the metropolitan area. he said he was firmly convinced that "overall" comprehensive schools were the most advantageous.
He told the conference at St. Theresa's Secondary Girls' School. Lewisham. that irrespective of the Ministry's policy change. there would have been a shortage of teachers and finance in Catholic education because more and more children are staying on for a higher education. Mr. Rudden. headmaster of Bishop Thomas Grant Secondary (Mixed) School, Streatham, said he believes that comprehensives will create less staffing problems because prospects for promotion are much better, although he feels the teacher shortage will never be solved until status and salary are reviewed.
NOT TOO LARGE
Concerning the individual he believes a comprehensive school does not "drown a pupil in anonymity". This view was formed from his teaching experiences at Cumberland where there were 250 pupils. Tottenham (550) and Streatham (1,000).
He explained, however, that comprehensives should not be too large. Of the 74 in London at present, 35 have less than LW pupils, 27 between 1,000 and 1.500 and only 12 with over 1500.
Mr. Rudden also firmly believes in mixed comprehensives. On this Mr. L. Abley, headmaster of Highgate's some 1.000 strong Acland Burghley Secondary School, told the conference that after having taught at both mixed and single sex schools, he found the problems at the latter greater.
The conference, which was attended by Mr. L. J. Burrows, London Metropolitan Divisional Inspector. and Mr. W. Elfer, secretary of the Westminster Archdlocesan Schools Commission, concentrated practically wholly on the reorganisation of secondary education.
Mr. Able), opened the discussion by explaining the orthodox (11 to 18 mixed) system. This was followed by a review of a girls comprehensive by the headmistress of the Dick Sheppard Secondary School in Tulse Hill, Mrs. M. Solan.
The two-tier system was explained by Miss M. E. Garvie, principal of the Turndown Training College, and formerly associated with the Leicester Institute of Education.
The final paper by Mr. J. Nolan. headmaster of the Cardinal Manning School, Kensington, explained h ow teachers and facilities could he used more economically by grouping small sixth forms from adjacent schools f or special subjects.