From Mr Neil Brett
Sir, I am sure that I am not alone in responding with a wry smile to the news that Stonyhurst College would be withholding examination results from the public this summer (report, August 29). Immediately below this lofty pronouncement your reporter was able to provide proof positive that indeed the results had risen at the College, by quoting A and B grades at A-level. Perhaps the public at large (discerning parents included) needed proof after all.
Behind good results in any school lie individual tales of hard work and ability, with pupils often overcoming great difficulties along the way. Mr Aylward must be credited for focusing on some outstanding examples.
However, it will not do to deny the advantages of league tables. Whatever the debate about standards in modem examinations, the spotlight is on academic achievement and — I venture to suggest — our public schools have had to look to their laurels in recent years as other schools, notably Catholic Voluntary Aided ones, have matched their published results.
I support entirely the belief that schools, especially Catholic ones, should have a broad curriculum and leach a great deal more than to the examination syllabus. More could be done. As we have seen this summer, some Catholic schools do need to consider whether their wider curriculum is in accordance with the Magisterium, not least in matters of personal relationships and sex education.
Nevertheless, the common appreciation, gained from league tables, is that Catholic schools perform well above average. This should resound to the glory of God.
As Christians we are all called to achieve holiness through our dedication and hard work. I, for one, am proud that the pupils and staff of Si Edmund's achieved a 12 per cent rise to their best ever GCSE results this summer.
Yours faithfully, NEIL BREIT Headmaster, St Edmund's Catholic School Portsmouth, Hams