Mr. Bruce Cooper's query about the possible inferiority of our Catholic grammar schools has already been answered in a piece of research by Mr. L. Connell, M.Sc., of the University of Leeds (published in 'Catholic Education*, No. 4).
Mr. Connell's study refers to the years 1955-56 and is based on a large and representative survey. The conclusions which emerge from his figures are depressing but apparently inescapable, at least as regards the years concerned: in almost every subject Catholic boys and girls do quite significantly less well than their non-Catholic contemporaries at 1A level of the G.C.E. -in spite, of course, of outstanding local excellence.
As one who has had experience in a variety of schools, I would suggest that the causes are amateurism in the educators, here and there at all levels; and a profound confusion about the conflicting claims of an ill-defined 'Catholic atmosphere' (which is apparently comnatible with serious dilution of secular standards) and the intellectual love of God, which holds the pursuit of Truth as our distinctive purpose.
If the New Pentecost of which Pope .Tohn speaks is to impact English Catholic life in the schools for the intelligent, then we must see an awakening among all governors, headmasters and assistants of a fully professional attitude towards learning; and a final abandonment of the myth that our Catholic schools cannot but be goodsimply because they are Catholic.
W. P. MeKeehnie Nottingham.
There are efficient and less efficient schools on the Catholic list as on any other lists, and to generalise from local experience is most misleading, if not unjust. There is no need to make a demographic survey: reference to the full report of the Oxford and Cambridge Joint Board Examina tion obtaieable for any year from either University will enable anyone to compare the G.C.E. 0 level and A level results of our leading grammar schools (and colleges) with those of the leading State grammar schools (and public schools) and draw his own conclusions.
In my own experience any lack of efficiency hasIseen mainly caused by governmental restrictions and retrenchments especially in respect of V.A. grammar schools.
Ex-Headmaster (Catholic Grammar School).
ln my experience of Catholic grammar schools for girls, there are two main reasons why the academic standard is low compared to that of secular institutions : (a) Although there is little doubt about the native ability . of these girls to compete with their nonCatholic contemporaries, they do seem very much afraid of joining in academic and social activities outside their own particular schools.
(b) Catholic grammar schools do seem to be very limited in the choice of subjects offered to their pupils, especially the girls. How many convents offer statistics, cybernetics, electrical engineering. physics, chemistry, or a choice of foreign or classic languages?
Also, pupils often find they are allowed to 'drop' many academic subjects early on in their school careers, only to find themselves in trouble when they are without the initial qualifications necessary for entrance to University or other training schemes.
Are these unfortunate circumstances due only to lack of money in general? Or, as is perhaps more likely. is it due to lack of insight, interest and responsibility on behalf of the teachers in these schools? Do convents and Catholic grammar schools attract the worst of the teaching profession or is this only rumour?
(Miss) A. Palmer Brighton. •