The vigilance of Catholic teachers with regard to the agenda for the NUT Conference (Abolition of Church Schools) is commendable (January 17 and 24). The interest aroused by the correspondence is considerable, if my telephone is anything to go by, so I should be grateful if you would allow me to set out the facts.
The resolution was submitted by one local association (out of over 600) viz. Nottingham. In all 238 resolutions were sent in. Local associations have to vote for six resolutions which they think should have priority. The final agenda will be based on these returns and will be published in 'The Teacher' (organ of the NUT) in due course — as was the list of resolutions. It is unusual for more than about twenty resolutions to reach the stage of debate.
The resolution referred to is, therefore, not policy and its chances of being discussed are doubtful. If it should reach the "Top Twenty" Catholic teachers can blame themselves. The only effective action against the proposers of such resolutions is to join the union and attend meetings regularly. This would be far more effective than writing letters to the press.
Edward M. Brash, NUT Executive, past president of CTF, Head of RI, Garston RC Primary School, Liverpool 19 14 Gwydrin Road, Calderstones,
In your last two issues you printed letters referring to resolutions submitted by local branches for consideration at the NUT annual conference at Eastertide. May I make two ,observations:
1—These resolutions serve as a salutary warning to those Catholics who complacently believe that the attacks on our schools are unreal and do not present a serious problem. One of the major activities of the Catholic Teachers' Federation Over the past few years has been
to draw attention to these attacks and to provide advice and information on how to deal with them,
2—The procedural aspect should be considered. Not every resolution put forward reaches the conference for debate. Every local NUT association is asked to nominate a limited number of resolutions, in order of priority, which it considers most important. Catholic teachers, who are members of the NUT — and there are many including the NUT president — should attend the next meetings of their associations and by their argument and influence make sure that these resolutions get the short shrift they deserve.
Peter Carney Hon Secretary, Catholic Teachers' Federation.
'Edenvale,' Stone Road, Tittensor, Stoke-on-Trent.
I have read the 'letters about the National Union of Teachers and certain motions for its national conference. with interest and in despair.
I am the deputy head of a comprehensive school (not a Church school) and I have been an active member of the N.U.T. at local and county level since returning to teaching after the 1939-45 war.
Instead of writing to the Catholic press, Catholic — and for that matter, all Christian — teachers in the NUT should simply adhere to the Papal letters on labour and labour relations and become active in their unions.
Instead, one finds that Catholic teachers from Catholic schools all too often are absent from union meetings and rarely are found in union office. Hence motions such as those referred to. .
It is quite an easy matter to make sure that such motions, if one objects so strongly to them, never reach the conference floor, One attends one's local association meetings and so votes that they obtain no priority at all. This is more effective than writing to the "papers."
Not infrequently such motions are drawn up, passed by a local association, and submitted to conference by a mere handful of members. This of course is what happens at most union meetings of every type and at all levels. Power is in the hands of the activists. At my own association there are usually only two Catholics present — neither of us from Catholic schools.
The answer, and the remedy, is therefore simple. Become active in your local teachers' union — NUT or NAS or AMA or what have you.
This year's National President of the NUT is a Catholic, following worthily in Mr Exworthy's footsteps. It has always seemed to me that their example is to be admired and followed. One suspects that their influence is greater in union decision-making and policy projection than writing letters to the press — even the Catholic press.
"Thorn How," T. Davy St Bridget's Lane, Egremont, Cumbria,
May I, as the originator of the correspondence on Catholic one-parent families, be allowed the courtesy of your columns to ask Mrs Cynthia Ingrouille (January 24) exactly what would be the purpose of the inquiry that the Catholic Renewal Movement intends to hold on the subject.
Naturally, I had hoped that my letter would have evoked a response from some society having episcopal approval. I hope, albeit with decreasing confidence, that it yet may. For I, for one, have no intention of allowing the Catholic Renewal Movement, so-called, the benefit of my experience, to use as ammunition in some campaign of their own against the hierarchy.
No, Sir, the response I look for is from the Catholic Marriage Guidance Council, the Catholic Parents and Electors Association, the KSC, the UCM, the CWL, the CYMS or the Legion of Mary, or some other Catholic Society that has proved its care for the Catholic family but has not until now entered this particular field.
(Name and address supplied.)
Nowhere have I seen it suggested that the Catholics of Great Britain should help the Archbishop of Canterbury with his appeal for funds for the restoration of his Cathedral.
I know we can give privately, but if, as a token of our love and goodwill, our hierarchy laid aside for once the burden of our own debts and requested their parishes to take up a collection for Canterbury Cathedral, a truly wonderful sum could be raised.
(Mrs) Ivy D. Fry Blackbirds, Scads Hill, Chislehurst Road, Peas Wood, Orpington, Kent