Forego tax cuts urges Bishop

26th January 1996 at 00:00
Tax cuts are less important than keeping class sizes down, according to the leading Roman Catholic spokesman on education.

In a speech to the heads of fee-paying Catholic schools, the Rt Rev David Konstant Bishop of Leeds, also warned against letting unpopular schools "wither on the vine" in open competition for pupil numbers.

"We are facing fresh difficulties, of which the most obvious example is the worrying increase in class sizes across the maintained sector, particularly in primary schools," said Bishop Konstant, chairman of the Catholic Education Service.

"If the only answer to this problem is to forego tax cuts, then I believe we should all be willing to make this sacrifice for the sake of our young people," he told last week's Catholic Independent Schools Conference in Liverpool.

He has been more openly critical of Government education policy than some of his colleagues, notably on opting out which he feels has threatened the community basis of the Church's educational work.

Competition between schools is inherently neither good nor bad, he said. But there should be an element of planning in providing places.

"If this is governed by market forces, some schools will wither on the vine and, while they are withering, the children in those schools will not get a satisfactory education. Planning, even if it involves the closure of some schools, is essential."

* Half of all schools spend less than Pounds 1 per pupil a year on religious education, according to the chairman of the Professional Council for RE. Speaking at the launch of the BBC's five-year schedule of RE programming, Jeremy Taylor called it "a scandalous situation", which the Government is unwilling to address.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today