Standards of Criticism
SIR,--"Pedagogue" seems to have been singularly unfortunate in his choice of schools for his children, and paints a depressing picture of Catholic schools. Undoubtedly the faults which he describes arc real and grave and should he the subject of serious discussions by the authorities. Nevertheless I think there is another side to the picture. I agree that hand-caning is stupid and unimaginative both as a corrective and a lesson in humility, but it does seem to me that other faults which he criticises could to a large extent be adjusted and corrected at home. My own experience was, fortunately, the reverse of "Pedagogue's." I also am a convert, and at the time (or thereabouts) of my reception, our few children were unbaptised, and had received no religious education other than the usual bit of Scripture taught to infants. I was fortunate, too, in obtaining a place for my elder son in a good Benedictine public school, where he had all his inhibitions knocked out and a great deal of Catholicism knocked in. In all respects his school life was, I believe, quite normal and happy, and although his career was not meteoric or crowned with academic distinction, I shall always be most grateful to the good monks and lay masters who inculcated in him a sound Christian education. Few healthy schoolboys in my experience are paragons of virtue, and "cheating and lying" are endemic vices in all schools, however great and virtuous; the important thing is that these vices should he duly recognised as such; and, incidentally, those parents who habitually do their children's homework might well ponder on this point. I hope the situation is not quite so grave as "Pedagogue's" letter would imply, and I do sympathise with him in his own disappointment.
George A. Wheatley Tatchbury Mount, Tattoo, Southampton.