Catholic Herald Reporter
A HINT that the Catholk community in England and Wales may shortly seek more favourable financial provisions for their schools is contained in a major article in the Spring issue of the Wiseman Review, just published. The issue is devoted to the problems of Catholic Education.
The writer of the main article, Mr. R. F. Cunningham, secretary of the Catholic Education Council, expanding a theme he dealt with in a recent issue of the CATHOLIC HERALD, writes: "The size of the financial burdens still confronting Catholics must before long compel them to seek new legislation."
He points out that the total cost of future projects of Catholic school building is now probably well over £100,000.000.
"Because so much of this building work will not qualify for grant at all under the present restrictive legislation, it is likely that the total amount falling to he met by Catholics from 1957 onwards would be in the region of £70-£80,000.000. This is clearly an impossible burden on top of the liabilities already incurred.
The original estimate of Catholic liabilities under the 1944 Act, which Mr Cunningham describes as "the greatest single agent of change in the country's education in recent years", was nearly f I 0,000,000.
He adds that two Acts since 1944 have done little to ease
the burdens, but these were only palliatives. In 1959, when the latest Act came into force, it was made clear, Mr. Cunningham states, that Catholics could not accept the Act as a permanent solution.
Mr Cunningham does not give any detailed suggestions of what he considers the best way in which any new Act could reduce the present burden on Catholics.
He states, however, that one task of Catholics will be to persuade local authorities to transfer "redundant" county schools (that is. buildings surplus to requirements) into Catholic hands.
He adds: "It will, above all, be for the laity, in particular the Catholic Parents' and Electors' Associations, to fight for this cause and the great growth in the number of Catholic schools has not deprived thii of any of its old importance, because while the schools have been growing the child population has been growing even more sharply."
Useful information about Cath olic education matters is contained in the first issue of a News Bulletin to he published three times a year by the Catholic Education Council.