Following our report last week on this page headed : " Croydon Catholics were robbed of a tight," Mr. J. T. Jones, one of the organisers or the Open Schools' meeting referred to and held under N.U.T. auspices, writes to orphan why no opportunity was given for discussion following Sir Frederick Mender's address.
This was due, he says, " to the wishes of several of the supporters of Sir Frederick on the platform who had other engagements later in the evening." Neither was it possible for the chairman of the meeting, who lives at some distance from Croydon, to stay.
Mr. Jones adds: "Whilst agreeing that . . it is desirable for the speaker to have an opportunity to clarify any point in his address, there is no obligation on the part of the organisers . • . to provide a forum for any section of the audience who may wish to conduct a planned campaign by means of previously prepared questions."
CATHOLICS REPLY Croydon Catholics reply to the above as follows: " The sneering was advertised as Public,' and in such gatherings time is allotted for questions and discussion. This was not a meeting at all, but a Lecture,' admirable in itself, but still a lecture: The engagements of the President and of the others on the platform later in the evening Limited the time at the disposal of the meeting. Nevertheless, considerable time was passed in making votes of thanks, which might have been expressed, less gracefully indeed, but as effectively, in fewer words and less time. " It is also a pity that the public was not informed of these later engagements until towards the conclusion of
Sir Frederick's address. If it was desired to conclude the meeting without discussion, ate speaker might well have avoided any criticism of views which do not coincide with his own.
" For the question of Dual Control, and the attitude of the Churches, was in fact touched on by Sir Frederick, but Catholics were given no opportunity to put forward their case. In this sense they were indeed ' robbed of a fight.' "
N.U.T. POLiCY Mr. Jones then goes on: " It is not the practice of the Union (N.U.T.) to make veiled or open attacks on religion in education, as anyone, with a knowledge of Union policy, well knows."
And Croydon Catholics reply as follows: " Union policy is stated in the 12 Aims ' propagated by the Union in conjunction with the T.U.C., the Co-operative Union, and the W.E.A., in their Council for Educational Advance, Point 10 of which reads: 'A unified system of administration to replace the dual control of schools.' (A report on this page showing how Stokeon-Trent Catholics have dealt with the N.U.T. and its associate bodies in their area has some interesting information on Point 10 and its significance.)
"In the light of former meetings, Croydon Catholics had reasonable ground for apprehension lest the proposition regarding Dual Control and the Syllabus might be again put forward, and they came to the meeting fully prepared to state their case. They came ' printed,' that is, instructed or prepared beforehand: it would be an unwise man who attended a meeting on education without being conversant with the subject."