MR. K. F. CUNNINGHAM, secretary of the Catholic Education Council, told the Ca I IOLIC HERALD this week that the different proposals now being made by local authorities for reorganising secondary education presents serious problems for Catholic schools.
Speaking after a meeting of the Council, Mr. Cunningham said that in some areas local agreements had been negotiated already. In most areas the question was unsettled. More needed to be known about the new government's policy before any outcome could be predicted. In the past there had been fairly general agreement about the present, mainly bipartite. system with grammar and modern schools resting on selection at 11 plus. This had now come under fire in many areas. hut no general agreement had been reached about an alternative. A variety of schemes were being proposed.
A complication was that the Catholic system is not starting from scratch. Catholics had been ready to build comprehensive schools in several parts of the country, but it was one thing to do this where no school had previously existed, and quite another to try to create a comprehensive system out of schools planned for different purposes.
In most cases, Catholic schools, though big enough as grammar or modern schools, were too small to form viable comprehensives. (This was less of a difficulty where Leicestershire-type schemes were proposed—Junior Secandary to 13 oafrtelr4), and Senior Secondary there
DIRECT GRANT An additional problem, Mr. Cunningham added, arose over Catholic direct grant grammar schools, which were particularly important in the north of England, and which must be assured of being able to continue their work. The Bristol situation was causing special anxiety. Mr. Cunningham said that, generally speaking, Catholics should keep in step with the prevailing local pattern in secondary organisation. But, before changes were made, it was essential to ensure that Catholic parents' interests were protected.
This meant ensuring that no new scheme would put Catholic schools at an educational disadvantage; that any scheme adopted would be reasonably permanent; and that it would not involve Catholics in extra burdens.
Speaking of the diocesan authorities' deep concern over the subject. Mr. Cunningham said that extensive discussions would take place in the near future. Catholics were not wedded to the present pattern, but would insist on certain principles being safeguarded in all cases of change.
Because of wide local differences, no general national pattern of change could be expected, and solutions would have to be found in the light of local needs.