says Schools Expert
" The new Education Act will cost Catholics Z10,000,000," said Mr. T. Quirk, member of the Catholic Committee which examined the Education Bill as it was progressing through the Commons, while he was lecturing in Barrow Town Hall last week.
After outlining the different types of schools that could operate under the new Act, he said it might be that some Chusch of England schools would accept the agreed syllabus of religious teaching thus giving up the right to teach their own religion, but no Catholic school would become controlled in that way.
Under the 1936 Act about 530 Catholic and Church of England secondary schools were to be built and by agreement were to be helped by local authinitiee up to 75 per cent., but the war intervened.
The 1944 Act had, however, revived the 1936 one, and he hoped that those schools'already planned and others in addition, would be built under the agreement. People asked "What are Catholics and the Church of England grumbling about?' They said there was equality of opportunity. ilis answer was that the Government was providing not equality of opportunity, but with equality of identity.
" Opportunity to be equal ifuist be suited to the nature of the people receiving," and the council schools which the Government offered was not suited to those who favoured .voluntary schools.
If they got schools for 100.000 children built under the 1936 agreement, the cost would he about a10,300,000, to which the Catholic community would have to coutrihute £2,500,000. In addition, there were schools to be built that were not the subject of the 19ad Act, and-for which no ;ad woutd he forthcoming — buildings' which would cost them another £2,400,000.
Then half the cost of improving, altering and repairOa existing schools, would have to be met and was estimated at f4,000,000. Thus was the new Act going to cost. them in the
region of £10,000,000. That was the privilege that was talked about.
To those who talked of privilege he' said, " In the council schools you teach the religion which pleases the people who send their children. Why not then build schools for us so that we can teach the type of religion we desire our children to learn?"
Another reason for withholding State aid was said to be because Catholics were not prepared to give the appointment of leacheis into the hands of local authorities. That was absolutely untrue. 1 hey had under the 1936 At expressed willingness to leave the appointments to local authorities with certain safeguards.
He urged that the Scottish system under which three religious bodies were catered for could be operated in England.
The council schools would suit most Nonconformists and there would pussibly be Church of England, Catholics and Methodists to accommodate, pro.vided of course, there were sufficient number of children of those denominations to justify a school in any perOcular area.
Asked by Alderman Herdthau if It would not inert the ease if Catholics wera into the council schools to teach religion to the Catholic children. Mr. Quirk said they could not agree to that because a teacher not of the sami religious persuasion as the children could upset in ten minutes what had been taught during the religious alai-ligation.
Alderman Herdman said he believed all schools should .be under the State, but agreed with the speaker that CathontjtnMeinirlince, lics had not got equality of °japerW. Fisher presided over a large a and Mr. Quirk was thanked by Mr. McBride and Mrs. Hart.