Page 2, 31st July 1953

31st July 1953
Page 2
Page 2, 31st July 1953 — CHOICE OF SCHOOL
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People: Butler
Locations: Birmingham, L.A., London

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CHOICE OF SCHOOL

Grammar School Problems

SIR.-When I contrasted the Middlesex grammar school scheme and the "General Principle" governing the education system of England and Wales, and showed one to be the antithesjs of the other, I had for the sake of brevity to limit myself to bare statements of fact. However, the various L.E.As. in the country which decide to deny Catholic parents their rights seem to be acting in such harmony that your readers may like to know the reason.

All the L.E.As. in England. except London. are members of the Association of Education Committees. They have a general secretary, and an official weekly organ. In No. 2,386 of this organ, the general secretary of the A.E.C. gave official advice on the matter of control of admissions to voluntary schools. Having stated earlier (in No. 2,372) that "there is no doubt that admissions to Voluntary Schools are controlled by the Managers or Governors" (on whose behalf the head-teacher acts when a pupil is admitted), he proceeds to advise his members that L.E.As. should "safeguard themselves against consequential difficulties." by limiting this control of admissions so that in effect control of admissions is in the hands of the L.E.A. he advice is that extra-district children should not be admitted without the L.E.A.'s consent; that voluntary schools conform to the general scheme of the L.E.A. relating to the allocation of pupils to different types of school; that the L.E.A. be properly safeguarded against additional expenditure under Section 76. The secretary of the A.E.C. concluded his advice thus: "The need is for arrangements to be such that the L.E.A. can be safeguarded against improper financial commitment, and against departures from a general scheme for the area which has been approved."

If words mean anything. this statement is to advise L.A.As. to disregard Section 76 on the ground that expenditure to secure that pupils shall be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents is "additional" and therefore "improper." When one reduces the verbiage to the language of ordinary people. one sees that it contains advice to bring all schools into the "zoning scheme" which some L.E.As. operate, and compel Catholic all-age schools to become junior schools only, even though there is no senior Catholic school to take the seniors. Thus the "administrative tidiness" of which some L.E.A. officials speak would be put into effect. to the total disregard of the rights of parents, and particularly of Catholic parents. Thus it is that some Middlesex Catholic aided grammar schools are forcedto admit the local nonCatholics, rather than the Catholic pupils from another part of Middlesex, which is in a neighbouring divisional area. Thus it is that most of the injustices to Catholic parents occur-not because of the Education Acts, but of the methods by which these Acts are administered. if Catholic parents were ever vigilant, and if they reported their individual grievances to some central authority, we might prove right the words of Mr. Butler when the 194-4 Education Act was being passed: "It is our desire that children belonging to a particular denomination should go to a school of that denomination."

J. J. Bateman, 159 Prestwick Road,

Carpenders Park, Herts.

Catholic Schools in Birmingham

SIR,-If cannot think what was

the object of "Schoolteacher" in

writing the letter on this subject. I can only feel that it gives a Very distorted picture. I can make no pretensions to painting a true picture, for I feel that I, like the writer, have not theā€¢real facts on which to base inferences. I can only judge the letter from internal evidence, and the writer gives no indication of having knowledge of the extra accommodation provided during the last year or more. Neither does the writer give any indication of a knowledge of the Minister's restrictions on the building of voluntary schools owing to the national any indica




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