Page 5, 7th April 1972

7th April 1972
Page 5
Page 5, 7th April 1972 — INTEMPERATE VIEW ON SCHOOLS

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MR. Newcombe's letter (March 24) made very interesting reading. I have read a fair cross-section of the garbage put out by the Rationalist Press and my first reaction to his letter was that they had nothing to teach Mr. Newcombe.

He begins by congratulating Mrs. Richards on her article, which he describes as most thoughtful and articulate and then goes on to say that we "must state firmly our support for her view that Catholic schools serve no useful purpose," It is a pity that he did not read her article; if he had done so, he would have known that she expressed no such view! On the contrary she says "to build no further schools would indeed be negative and pointless," But T am not writing this letter. to comment on Mrs. Richards' article -it is Mr. Newcombe's scurrilous. bigoted and intemperate letter to which I take exception. He tells us that Catholic schools in the Manchester and Cheshire area are educationally inferior to their State counterparts. He offers no evidence for this other than his own obvious prejudice.

On the other hand 1 am surprised that 'he has never heard of the recent research project carried out in the Liverpool area. I think it was conducted by the National Federation of Educational Research.

The results of this showed Catholic schools in a very favourable light and they scored handsomely over their State counterparts. I say I am surprised, because ho is directly concerned with education. If he has heard of it, then to make no reference to it in his letter is deliberate suppression of the relevant facts.

Instead of facts. Mr. Newcombe prefers innuendo. "It may be," he says, "that the teachers are less qualified!" Stop it M r. Newcombe ! You know perfectly well that the teachers in Catholic schools have the same qualifications as the teachers in any other school. As for what he calls the "extra-ordinary Catholic History Syllabuses" I attended three Catholic schools in my school career and found nothing extra-ordinary about the teaching of history. We used the same text books as other schools, and my experience as I grew older was just the opposite of Mrs. Richards.

I am constantly being surprised by the fact that my teachers neglected to correct the distortions which abound in English history—e.g. I had to leave school before I learned that the "Battle of the Glorious First of June" had nothing glorious about it. It was a complete fiasco! And it is surely not without significance that at the time of her accession to the throne of our 'present Queen, when all were lyrical about the second "Glorious Elizabethan Age" that she felt it necessary to let it be known that she con-m sidered the first Elizabeth to be a cruel tyrant and despot. I have every sympathy with the French boy who crossing Trafalgar Square, pointed :to Nelson's Column and informed his companion that "that is Napoleon up there!"

But Mr. Newcombe is not content with innuendo. He tells us that non-Catholic children have to be specially protected against the immorality of Catholic children—that Catholic children are all petty thieves, that Catholic children are "oafish" and rude in their manners. Non-Catholic children are never any of , these. With friends like Mr. Newcombe, Mrs. Richards doesn't need enemies. He who proves too much proves nothing.

However, it is consoling to know that we have solved the

problems of vandalism, violence, immorality and all other evils, as soon as we abolish Catholic schools, and then our Catholic children, except those of course who will be busy corrupting their non-Catholic school companions, will be able to become embryonic Captains of the Pinafore — who, you remember, "never used a.big DI" Tell me Mr. Newcombe, what is the name of the Catholic school. the headship of which you applied for and didn't get? Don't tell 'me there was none — remember what happened to "Matilda."

Gerald Bentley Address supplied.

THE letter from J. Michael Newcombe (March 24) spurs me into remarking on certain aspects of it.

He is entitled to hold whatever views he likes on the usefulness or otherwise of Catholic sehiaols, but he must not assume that because he feels strongly about the matter, he is necessarily right.

I think that he undermines his arguments by the attitude he shows in his second pars graplo where he goes on about "the scandalous and massive debt . . . growing . . . in spite of continual donations in response to everlasting appeals." In other words he doesn't want to pay for his children's Catholic education.

In our parish, the Good Shepherd at Woudthorpe, we helieve in doing something about the debt. Our schools quota for 1971 was £3,500, or about £5 per family, per year. The whole of this amount was met by the returns from covenants, cr putting IL differently, the Government, in effect, paid for all the coat of our schools. and not just the 60% which they pay in any case. What I am getting at, is that there is no need at all for the debt to b.: growing. if half the time given to looking for faults in our schools were given to covenant work, then the debt peoblem would disappear overnight, and with it a large part of the objections to our schools.

Christ said "Go forth and teach all Natione." Surely he also meant us to teach our own children as well! In answer to the obvious objection that we should do just that ourselves, and not leave it to the schools, can only agree. but must add that some parent's are much more articulate than others. It is all right for the intelligentsia to say these things, but we must remember that there are so many others who, whilst knowing the right things in their hearts, cannot express

them in words.

As for quoting the faults discovered in children from Catholic schools, I can only observe that even if you know that a child will sin, that is no excuse for not teaching him what sin is.

Finally I must say that I am grateful for the Catholic education that I received, in spite of the shortcomings of the schools that 1 attended, and of the teachers that I worked under.

Ernest Dale Arnold, Notts,

MAY I say how heartily 1 agree with Mr. J. Michael Newcombe's letter (March 24) regarding Catholic schools.

Mr. Newcombe is speaking both from the heart and from experience. The priests who write in full support of Catholic schools, have not had any experience of non-Catholic schools, and quite truthfully, I for one would be amaced if they agreed with non-denominational schools.

I was educated at both a Catholic and non-Catholic school, and without any doubt whatsoever was happier in the latter. I would add that I am a practising Catholic in all senses of the word.

My daughter has been educated at a non-Catholic private preparatory school, and is now, along with many more Catholic children at the nondenominational grammar school, and I believe she would defend the Faith to the last.

It is utter nonsense to talk of "Catholic atmosphere" working for the good of all children, when you see some of the louts coming out

of our schools. The C colic atmosphere certainly did do any good in my case; was utterly miserable at a C school and was taken a on doctor's orders.

Sheila M. Kershaw Halifax.

FR.R. I.IVESEY makes two points (March 17) both of which may seem valid to him. They refer to my support of the many Catholics who see the abolition of Catholic schools, as we know them, as a sure step to the strengthening of Christianity, One of his points is that if an individual makes an assertion at variance with the authoritative teaching of an Ecumenical (how oecumenical?) Council, then the Council must be right, and the individual wrong!

The other point is that this correspondent is an individual. True! But many individuals of one mind make up a corpus of opinion, not necessarily invalid. Gordon Dimmer Bolton, tams.

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