YOU SIMPLY must print some reply to the letter published under the heading "Transport Burden". It seems to me that the burden we suffer most is the voice of the ill-informed raised in public indignation. J. F. Ezechiel debases the detailed case put in the House of Commons by Kevin McNamara into a begging cry "for free transport for Catholic schoolchildren." You must use your columns in some way to correct this distortion of a well put case. The main point of issue k the breach of faith between the Church authorities and the government. The history of the situation is that on the basis of the provisions of the 1944 Education Act many denominational schools were established within the state system. A key factor in establishing these schools with government support was the free transport provision which, of course. applied to all schools. Without the support of that clause Church authorities, Catholic or Anglican, would hardly have committed themselves to a level of _capital expenditure which in many cases is Financially overwhelming. It must be noted that the transport provision as it stands has remained unchanged for 35 years and has been supported by successive governments.
The objective of the Catholic community who have bothered to keep informed of the whole issue is to seek an amendment to clause 23 of the Education Bill to provide some safeguard in law from imposed scales of payment by LEA's which could endanger the existence of denominational schools. As a Catholic parent I will pay whatever costs are required but I know that the predicted burden of fares is beyond the resources of many parents and parishes alike and ultimately we could have substantially fewer schools and the debts on the schools that were.
I am grateful for the energies of Catholic MP's and others who recognise the real problem as the future of our schools.
Teresa O'Connor (Mrs) Tarporley WHERE HAS J. F. Ezechiel (November 16) been hiding all his life? He seems to be under the impression that only Catholic children need free school transport. This is not so! J. F. Ezechial would be better employed dealing with today's issues, The right of Catholies,to an equitable share of the money raised by taxation is a controversy long dead; and it will not do for him to try to resurrect it.
Free school transport for all children, Catholic and non-Catholic is an essential prerequisite for that greater freedom of parents to send their children to the school of their choice which we heard so much about before and during the last election: Stevas being the most vocal. ,(Am I being paranoic, if I see something sinister in a Catholic Shadow Minister of Education, in opposition but not in Government)?
Many attempts have been made in the past to force the Church out of the Education field, taking away free school transport is the best/worst one yet. What we want to know from Mark Carlisle is what he means by greater freedom of choice. Is it the same kind of freedom which we all enjoy to stay Lit Claridges'?
Fr Gerald Bentley CP Ilkley West Yorkshire