Friday, 22 October 2010

Various things for the weekend

On his blog Catholic Schoolmaster David Forster has posted a rigorous refutation of an article published in last week's Tablet on Catholic school admissions in Westminster. Apparently, some Catholic schools are so oversubscribed that they wish to apply extra Catholicity tests to their applicants, a move deprecated by the diocese whose position - as I have been able to glean it - is that after the basic Catholicity test is passed (baptism seems to suffice) places must go to those who live nearest to the school. I especially enjoyed this section:

Dispersing Social and Cultural Capital. The idea that, by dispersing the pupils who at the moment are in the "best" schools among the others, that you will somehow end up with greater equity and better standards for all, is so threadbare that I'm surprised it is still being circulated. A particular school builds up standards and traditions over a long period, through the hard work of committed staff and pupils. Reorganizing that school does not result in this human capital being spread more fairly - it largely result in it being lost irrecoverably.

Having worked in both comprehensive and grammar schools, I find this logic very persuasive.

If you're looking for something lighter to read, skim through the fifty funniest jokes which have just been assembled by a group of time-wasting researchers whose grants, I hope, will soon be cut! There are one or two ribald ones, as you might expect, but the list is largely good, innocent fun. My favourite was the following:

I said to the Gym instructor "Can you teach me to do the splits?" He said, "How flexible are you?" I said, "I can't make Tuesdays."

Oh dear!

Meanwhile, I shall be heading off for the weekend to the Cotswolds to meet some friends of my intended. The wedding is just four weeks tomorrow ...

So let me leave you with a wedding joke:

Did you heat about the two TV aerials who met on a roof, fell in love and got married? The ceremony was rubbish - but the reception was brilliant!

Bonne fin de semaine, as they say in France when they're not on strike ;-)


Richard said...

I have to agree with the assessment that spreading an elite group around doesn't raise the level of everyone to the elite status, it drags the elite down to the mediocre level.

umblepie said...

Totally off topic, but best wishes for your birthday tomorrow. Thanks for your excellent posts.

pattif said...

Furthermore, this notion that the way to run a school system is for the diocese to usurp the role of its school governing bodies (which are their own admissions authorities) flies in the face of respect for parental preference, which is enshrined not only in legislation, but in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. If, in the interests of "fairness" (to whom?), you divvy up the committed Catholics, mathematicians, footballers and trombonists (or whatever), so that each school has the same number, how do you accommodate the expressed preference of "the primary educators of their children"? Obviously, where a school is oversubscribed, not all parental preferences can be met, but how is it fair to give preference to those who can afford to move into the neighbourhood nearest the school?

Ttony said...

"She asked me for a special present: something that would do 0 to 120 in three seconds. I bought her some weighing scales."