Page 7, 19th June 1959

19th June 1959
Page 7
Page 7, 19th June 1959 — SCHOOLS: GOLDEN SILENCE
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SCHOOLS: GOLDEN SILENCE

THE debate on the second reading of the Education Bill, which increases maintenance grants and provides 75 per cent grants for new denominational secondary schools, went off quietly. Everybody was determined to keep the temperature down—it was hot enough outside—and the Ministerial speakers, Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd and Sir Edward Boyle, worked very hard to cheer up the Nonconformists, who did not disguise their dismay. Several of them deplored thie strengthening of the dual

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system of education which is so distasteful to them, but Sir Cyril Black, a leading Baptist, said that Free Church indignation bad been "considerably overdone." It couldn't be morally right, he said, to make a grant of 50 par cent to Church wrong to schools and morally make a grant of some other percentage The single-school area. that is a district in which the only school is a denominational one, main p was one of the problems raised in the debate. The Minister's promise to make himself available to a permanent

By a PARLIAMENTARY CORRESPONDENT

committee of the Free Church Federal Council and to hold new discussions with Anglicans and Free Churchmen went a long way towards mollifying the objectors to the Bill. Perhaps the most helpful part in the debate was played by the Catholic M.P.s—only one of them spoke. This may sound ironical, but in fact their silence was a genuine contribution to good relations. Nobody can conceal the fact new agreement repre sents a that the ement resents a great victory for series of Catholics, and a

speeches from the Catholic members could only have

rubbed in the fact, however tactfully they had been phrased. There are times when even saying "Thank you" can be provocative, and very wisely Catholic tongues were guarded. Mr. Simon Mahon. the popular Labour member for Bootle, was the only Catholic speaker, and very well he spoke. He was fully entitled to be heard because he represents a largely Catholic constituency, and he put forward a claim to 100 per cent grant with exactly the eight kind of likeable bluffness: "Why should people consider me, as a Catholic, only threequarters of a citizen?" A pleasant tribute to the definite Christian teaching procided by the denominational schools came from Mr. Leslie Lever (Manchester, Ardwick. Lab.), a Jewish member who has been a good friend of the Catholic schools. He said the country was better off for denominational teaching. This unsolicited testimonial was far more effective than any amount of drum-beating from interested parties. With any luck, there should no more e controversy about the schools question for a long time to come.




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