Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'The boys stand up when anyone enters the classroom..'

BBC News has some coverage of the ongoing dispute about the Vaughan School opening with:

 "The Vaughan in Holland Park feels like a grammar school (grammar schools can select children by ability, The Vaughan is not a grammar school), boys stand up when anyone enters the classroom (shock horror!),  teachers wear gowns, lines are still a punishment,"(they punish misdemeanors).

 The Catholic Education Service Archbishop Vincent Nichols has issued a statement:

"I am fully committed to the flourishing of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. This includes maintaining its fine traditions of academic rigour and musical excellence. I thank God for the work and achievements of the school which are always to be understood as an expression of Catholic faith and a part of the life and mission of the Diocese of Westminster. The Catholic character of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, of which it is rightly proud, should be evident in all aspects of its life."

Will the Vaughan parents be reassured by the Archbishop's  words?
Given that he has made no mention of the parents' role as primary educators of their children, I think not.
It looks as though the Archbishop will be backing the Diocesan Education Service all the way, despite an apparent conflict of interests by virtue of its Director, Paul Barber, being recently appointed by the diocese to the Governing Body of the Vaughan.

Catholic parents may be left wondering if their primary role in the education of their children is reduced to that of  providing children for Catholic schools, and, as one headteacher once said to me: 
"leave it (education) to the professionals".



  1. This is a comment received by email:

    Yes, teachers, whilst having a vocation are not infallible and they are increasingly under scrutiny to tick boxes and fulfil government requirements. They have a job to keep and a mortgage to pay. The teachers are themselves vulnerable.

    My school gates experience revealed parents of several children initially trusting the Catholic school and the teachers implicitly. Years later with their younger children passing through, even the more mild and unquestioning ones were no longer so trusting of the professionals.

    Catholic mother.

  2. a further comment by email:

    Would be amazing if truth triumphed.
    Parents are wishful thinking if they think a Catholic education will help
    faith, but perhaps you would agree that few have an idea how to help their
    I feel the Church is failing the poor and those from disadvantaged
    situations particularly. We have recently bought our youngest out of the
    Catholic state system for his last year at junior school. Today went to a
    football match at another private school; all very lovely, but takes money.
    (interesting other thought if when people are paying is sex ed less likely
    to be part of the package they are after?)