by Christopher I lowse CATHOLIC schools in Oxfordshire are set to opt out of the county system by reverting to a two-tier scheme of comprehensive education, if the Council goes ahead with plan!, to axe a middle school and primary school in the area. •
The Diocesan Schools Commission has endorsed a report from the Catholic area education committee which suggests that Catholic schooling should take its own line unless the authority thinks again. The county policy is to close one of the two Catholic middle schools in Oxford, which would cut off the rising intake for the one remaining upper school. With a two-tier system, one middle school could be converted to primary use and the other's site sold off to fund expansion at the upper school, St Edmund Campion's, where children would
move at I I instead of 13. The middle schools are St Gregory's and SI John Bosco's.
Oxfordshire has also decided to impose transport charges from next April. The diocesan Commission and the national Catholic Education Council have drawn up a request to Education Minister Mr Mark Carlisle for him to direct the county to withdraw its plans, under section 55 of the 1944 Act.
Canon Peter Reilly of the Diocesan Commission commented: "If they bus children to two county single-sex schools and not to Catholic schools, it is a clear case of discrimination." The Catholic Education Council is ready to take the education authority to court if necessary.
Canon Reilly said that other authorities, such as Hereford and Worcester were looking over their shoulders to see the outcome of the Oxfordshire case before they settled their schools transport policy, • A victory for Catholic children has been won in the London borough of Brent with the help of Jewish and Anglican leaders. The council has dropped its plan to charge from September for transport to religious schools outside the borough after a combined deputation on behalf of parents.
Canon Maurice O'Leary, from All Saints, Kenton and Mrs Gallagher representing Catholics: the Reverend Edward Burton and Mrs Charles for the Church of England: and Mr Sydney Frost and Mr Nathan Rubin for the Jewish community headed the deputation.
The council changed its mind after Canon O'Leary and Mr Rubin put the case for parents who wanted religious schooling for their children. ('anon O'Leary said that the decision "Should encourage supporters of denominational schools to make known their views if similar policies are being considered in other areas."