October 2016 – Faith School Admission

October 2016 – Faith School Admission

Thank you for your recent email regarding faith schools and their admission policies.

The Prime Minister has made clear that the Government is dedicated to making Britain a true meritocracy and that education lies at the heart of that mission. The Government has recently published a consultation that asks for views on a range of proposals aimed at creating an education system that extends opportunity for everyone, not just the privileged few.

At present, the stark reality is that demand for good school places only continues to grow, and too many children in this country still do not have access to a good school. The proposals that have been put forward look to deliver an even more diverse school system that gives all children, whatever their background, the opportunity to achieve their potential.

Faith schools have a strong record of high pupil attainment and are often very popular with parents. Current rules, however, stop more good faith schools from opening, without succeeding in promoting integration.   It is important to understand that this is because the current cap on admissions on the basis of faith only applies when places at a given school are oversubscribed.  The proposals would see the current cap on the number of pupils who can be admitted on the basis of faith when the school is oversubscribed removed, as the cap is preventing new Catholic schools opening, and has little impact on admissions or diversity at many Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools because they tend not to appeal to parents of other faiths.

This rule will be replaced with more effective requirements to ensure faith schools are properly inclusive, and allow more good schools to open. I can assure you that the Government will ensure that safeguards are in place to promote diversity and inclusivity in faith schools, so that pupils of all faiths and none are able to play a full part in the life of the school.

The Government’s consultation is asking for views from teachers, children and parents. If you would like to make your views known, you can do so online before 12 December. Visit https://consult.education.gov.uk/school-frameworks/schools-that-work-for-everyone.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.