Catholic Herald Reporter
ASTRONG plea that any new pattern of secondnr!, education displacing the 11-plus should be a uniform one and not a country-wide hotch-potch of differing schemes. has been made by Bishop Beck, Archbishop-elect of Liverpool.
Asking Local Authorities to view their new plans with caution, Bishop Beck points out that differing schemes introduced by neighbouring authorities would: a) Put Catholic children at a serious disadvantage; b) Vastly increase the schools bill, and
c) Possibly make redundant some of our new buildings.
Speaking in the Manchester Free Trade Hall at the nrize-giving of De La Salle College, Pendleton, Bishop Beck, chairman of the Catholic Education Council, asked that any new pattern in secondary education should be uniform at least as far as neighbouring education authorities are concerned.
If one authority favours a fully comprehensive scheme, while another favours the Leicestershire idea, and yet a third plans 6th form colleges. it would be very difficult for voluntary schools to fit into such proposals without serious .disadvantage to the children concerned, said the Bishop.
In the Salford diocese alone there are a dozen different local education authorities, and the organisation of our schools, particularly secondary schools, in many places overlaps the LEA boopdaries.
Catholic Grammar Schools in Manchester and Salford take in pupils from at least half a dozen different authorities, pointed out the Bishop, The Cardinal Langley Grammar School, Middleton. for example, takes boys from Manchester, Salford. Oldham and Rochdale as well as from the Lancashire County, he added.
If, he commented, the local education authorities wish the voluntary bodies to cooperate closely with them in these important educational changes," we
Continued on page 9, col, 4 would ask them to suggest some means by which thc promoters of the voluntary schools would not be worse off than they are now financially."
The Bishop appealed to local education alrlhoritiks to keep hi close consultatiou with each other and with the organisers of the voluntary schools from thc early stages of working out new proposals.
There are still doubts on educational grounds as to the value of different types of comprehensive secondary education and this indicates that caution is needed before we commit ourselves to a new pattern of secondary education, said the Bishop.
In many areas, he added, the present scheme has not yet been given a chance to show its worth. "In Salford, Manchester and Blackpool, for example, we have not yet finished building the new secondary schools which we need under the terms of the 1945 development plans."
"Let us be quite sure that the system we planned and built for is not capable of adaptation to changing needs before we embark on further experiments,"
• The London County Council was to discuss on Wednesday proposals for abolishing the 11-plus in the London area and substituting for it a "transfer document". If adopted. the new scheme would affect some 32,000 children in 900 primary schools. The plan is that every London primary school child would have a "profile" of himself written by the head teacher and listing the child's abilities and interests as they have emerged during his first five years of schooling.