Sir,--Mrs. McGrath (Aug. 26) should not base too much on general impressions. The whole question of an objective discussion of Catholic schools policy in this country is bedevilled by the lack of any scientific surveys such as that recently compiled in the United States, which cost 5186,000, took three years, and showed that Roman Catholic education is "virtually wasted on threequarters of the students so far as influencing their religious behaviour is concerned."
Mrs. McGrath's area is not typical of the country as a whole, Naturally, a number of historical factors operate and other reasons create the situation where, for example, in
Middlesbrough there are 13 religious junior heads and only two lay heads.
Using Catholic Education. A handbook 196415 1 have deduced some figures. The figures show headships of maintained (for obvious reasons) infant, infant with junior, and junior (but not allage) schools.
Religious heads: 563; Lay heads: 1,025.
Now this seems quite reasonable—a ratio of lay over religious of 1.8 to I. However, , what one should remember is that the figures for all teachers in these schools are:
Religious teachers 1,430, and lay teachers 10,072, and this is a ratio of lay over religious of 7 to 1.
I offer these figures not to show any sinister machinations but simply to show that statistically it probably is hard for lay teachers to get headships. The figures for grammar school headships are far more heavily weighted in favour of religious. in fact, until a few years ago they were almost one-sided.
One further point. If we had a real partnership in our junior schools we would surely expect to find some school with a lay head and one or more religious working on the staff. Does anyone know anywhere where this obtains? in my experience one often finds a religious head teacher, possibly one other religious on the staff and the rest of the staff lay men and women.
College Lecturer (Name and address given).