At the risk of seeming importunate I must come back again and reply to some of the points in your last series of letters on the subject of our schools.
Let me make it quite clear I am not attacking non-Catholic schools „(not, by the way, what some o your correspondents term "State" schools — there are no such things, thank God, in this country save Home Office schools).
Many county schools are doing excellent work and serious attempts are made to briftg a Christian approach to their teaching with varying success. There is no case for a Catholic versus the rest campaign, and I would be no party to it.
The controversy started with an article calling for the abolition of Catholic schools on the plea there is no further need for them. My initial reply to this was to indicate some of the reasons why we still need our schools, saying (and I repeat) that there are many dangers to the 'Faith of our children in a totally integrated system of education where children would be taught by teachers of varying faiths, many being antiChristian.
No one can gainsay this, no matter what personal experiences they may quote. That some Catholic schools do not measure up to their obligations cannot be denied, but that they form a measurable part of our system is completely false. Mr. O'Reilly (September 28), giving his experience in a socalled Catholic school, finished by asking me: "WHAT Catholic atmosphere?".
I venture to state, without fear of being proved wrong, that most Catholic headteachers have experienced H.M. inspectors coming to their schools and declaring that our schools have something missing from county schools. On the whole our children are better disciplined, have better manners and dare I say it? — are more likeable than others.
Every non-Catholic supply teacher I had at my school (and I had many) said that we had a
spirit which they did not encounter in county schools, and my school was no exception. I know of a Catholic comprehensive school which is known at the local education office as being the only one in the district to which they could send visitors with confidence.
I know another where a nonCatholic domestic science teacher said she did not know that such schools were still in existence, and where the deputy education officer stated that if he became a teacher he would want to teach in a Catholic school.
And there was another where an Australian teacher said she could teach in the school, whereas her companion from her country had been sent to a county infants' school where the children actually threatened her and swore at her, I could go on. I assure Mr. O'Reilly that our children, from widespread reports maybe unavailable to hire, bear very favourable comparison with the rest and have a Christian at mosphere in personal relations between parents, teachers, children and clergy.
In other words, our schools are good schools and we must preserve them. If we lose them we'll never get them back, and those who are playing into the hands of our opponents would have much to answer for if the time came when, because of lack of training in their Faith, our children became as the rest of the community which is fast heading for paganism.
Fortunately such people are a minority, even if loudmouthed. The majority of parents, and indeed of the Catholic community, will see that our schools are there for their children.
C. H. Sheill President, Catholic Teachers' 'Federation. 40 Fleming Road, Edgware, Middlesex.
This correspondence is now closed — Editor.