Intemperate and confused

25th October 1996 at 01:00
Ian Feely's article gives a picture of the Catholic Church and education in Catholic schools which I do not recognise.

First, his statement that the Pope recently required an "irrevocable assent" of faith from all Catholics is simply inaccurate.

Second, it is somewhat surprising that the former head of a Catholic school should not understand the distinctive nature of Catholic education. The statement on this, which was recently published by the Bishops of England and Wales, makes it clear that Catholic schools are denominational and that, in line with their trust deeds and articles of government, they aim "to support Catholic parents in their responsibility for the academic, physical, spiritual, moral and religious education of their children in accordance with the teachings of the Church".

Third, his view that Section 13 inspectors are "policing" Catholic schools is not reflected in more than 200 Section 13 reports that I have read. In addition, Mr Feely confuses guidance to inspectors - published by the National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisers, and by the Catholic Education Service - with reporting on inspection.

Finally, I am concerned that The TES should choose to publish such an intemperate and confused article.

MARGARET SMART Director Catholic Education Service 39 Eccleston Square London SW1

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