Sta,—Readers will judge for themselves.. whether Syzygy has
really taken up the challenge I laid down on November 20. If he considers the words " as alleged " to be misleading, I apologise for them ; my preliminary reply was composed at practically no notice, and dictated over the telephone. But with regard to the other points, I must make it clear that he ignores two very important words, " efficiently run." 1 know very well indeed those places to which I am somewhat airily referred for information, and have long been apprised of conditions there. Wry information was eicquired either personally or from persons who have had 'experience in those schools— including two headmasters and one rector, past or present, not to mention assistants, lay and religious. Syzygy must not tly and force me into castink aspersions on schools which I have every reason to revere as sources of Christian arid academic training; I will content myself with saying that competent judges, whose names can be given, have questioned whether these schools were run with anything like the practical financial efficiency of nonCatholic schools in a similar position. If this is the reason why the direct grant is not sufficient to pay full Burnham se statnotiaaltllie staff, ettheet no It made?
Further, is it entirely true to say that the choice of the type and amount of grant rests solely with the local authority? Is it not truer to say that the local authority is influenced largely by the amount of supervision and cod: trol (not religious) each school is willing to accept, and that each separate secondary school in effect bargains for greater or less aid by making greater or less concessions to the authority. If a local authority, being refused the concessions readily made in other parts of the country by other Catholic schools, does in fact apportion a lower grant, is it to be put down only to the decision of the local authority? Further, can you blame a local authority for reluctance to give to a school financial aid considered sufficient by the school authorities themselves, when the utmost is not always done (a) td ensure the maximum inflow of legitimate income into the school; (b) to avoid imprudent commitments; (c) to keep the numbers of the religious staff down to the staffing norm of the State or County secondary schools; (d) to set the school on a sound financial basis by divorcing its finances from those of the parish or religious order: (e) to give the local authority a frank and trusting statement of the position; (f) to pay the lay staff the full rates of pay (with security of tenure, pension, etc) wherever humanly possible? Is an authority to he blamed for not paying a deficiency grant, when the school in question would not be at all willing to purchase it at the price of concessions made by -North London Catholics? Can we say it all rests with the local authority, when many schools are so suspicious of possible infringemetals of their own traditional regime that they completely fight ehy of any considerable grant, or even any grant at all, although Catholics elsewhere have made the same concessions without ever haying had for a moment to regret them? Only too often these "independent " schools suffer in consequence of their unreasonable aloofness, and staffs are usually grossly underpaid.
Please do not for a minute think that
all Catholic secondary schools are hereby condemned for misguided direction, or that I imply nothing is unjust in our present position. I have always clearly stated what I consider to be a just solution. I would fight tooth and nail for Catholic schools; but I am just as determined to see the lay teacher'e value and importance for the Catholic future recognised—not least by a greater recognition in the direction of all Catholic education. I am in my present unhappy position of appearing to condemn some Catholic schools because I have been forced into the position by my attempts to point out that we shall be surer of recognition for our qualities when we are more alert to note and rid ourselves of such deficiencies as fight against our own advancement. Every attempt to give a square deal in Catholic schools will bring the day nearer when we shall obtain a square deal for Catholic schools.
YOUR EDUCATIONAL CORRESPONDENT.