Church schools must not select on the basis of faith because it discriminates against the poor, warn vicars

The Mail is reporting claims from a group of vicars that Church of England schools should stop selecting pupils on faith because it discriminates against the poor…

They say the system is open to abuse and many oversubscribed schools reject non-churchgoing families even though they may live nearby.

Many Christian schools give priority to families who regularly attend services, a practice which they say preserves their faith ethos.

But the clergymen said affluent parents were more likely to cheat the system by going to church just to get their children into a C of E school, which are often high-performing…

The comments, made in a letter to The Guardian, sparked anger from the Church of England, which labelled their arguments ‘doctrinaire’…

More at: Church schools must not select on the basis of faith because it discriminates against the poor, warn vicars


Read the letter in full from the Guardian at: Church schools admissions policy open to abuse


There is obviously a debate going on within the church over this one – what do you make of the claims made here? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

Claims teacher took primary class on political rally carrying "end austerity" placards
People Like Us mum's defiant stance over daughter's term-time holiday could see her jailed
Categories: Policy.


  1. State-funded schools should not be allowed to choose which children they teach by erecting a faith barrier.  Voluntary-controlled CofE schools don’t choose their intake, but Voluntary Aided faith schools and faith academies can do so by imposing criteria which discriminates against children who are not of the faith or with no faith.  Even among the faithful, there is discrimination based on practical help to the church, for example, which acts against true believers who for some reason can’t offer practical help but favours those who go out of their way to be seen helping out at church activities etc even when they don’t believe.

  2. johnofsurrey

    SchoolsImprove Poor people can cheat the system by attending church just the same as affluent people. Churches have no admission charges.

  3. LaCatholicState

    The poor need Church schools more than most.  But everyone should have a place at a Church school if they want to.  We must build more Church schools.  After all….60%+ of our kids are Christian!  No Christian child should be forced to go to a secular school.

  4. LaCatholicState  You’re right that nearly 60% of people in England at the last election claimed to be Christian.  But the proportion is declining:

    ‘Between 2001 and 2011  there has been a decrease in people who identify as Christian (from 71.7 per cent to 59.3 per cent) and an increase in those reporting no religion (from 14.8 per cent to 25.1 per cent).’

    It doesn’t follow that in putting CofE or RC on a census form means the person is a practising Christian.  It’s a cultural label as well as a religious one.  It’s certainly true that 59.3% of the population do NOT go to church on Sundays.

  5. LaCatholicState A ‘secular’ school is one where no religion is given preference.  There is still a duty to teach about religion – they are not religion-free zones.

    And some faith schools do a very good job keeping the poor out.  The London Oratory School (RC) for example, has the lowest proportion of children who’ve been eligible for free school meals any time in the last six years (FSM6) in Hammersmith and Fulham.  In 2014 it had just 9.5% FSM6 pupils against a national average of 28.6%.

    The Grey Coat Hospital School, Church of England, in Westminster does better against the national average with 26.7% FSM6.  But this proportion isn’t so good when compared with the average proportion of FSM6 pupils in state secondaries in Westminster – 59.4%. 

    Figures from DfE School Performance Tables.

  6. LaCatholicState

    Janet2 LaCatholicState   It’s not a cultural label actually.  If you are Baptised you are a Christian….and a member of God’s family.  And by the mark of Baptism you will be judged.

    Secular state schools have failed Christian pupils….especially poor white children.  They are popular only with children whose parents don’t care about education.  But all children deserve a place in a Church school.

  7. LaCatholicState

    Janet2 LaCatholicState   Then we need more Church schools.  Secular schools are not good enough for the children of Britain…..especially Christian children.

    And my local Catholic primary isn’t the best performing school in the borough…..but I wouldn’t send my kids to any other.  Mind you….my daughter’s Convent secondary school is top of the borough!

  8. LaCatholicState Janet2 As non-faith schools are the majority, it’s rather a sweeping statement to say they’re only popular with parents who don’t care about education.

    It follows, then, according to you, the majority of parents ‘don’t care about education’.

    It isn’t necessary to go to a Church school in order for a child who claims to be Christian to be ‘in the company of Christ’.  Don’t believers think Christ is everywhere including with the poor, the prostitutes and those shunned by society?  It follows that Christ would also be present in a secular school.

  9. LaCatholicState

    Janet2 LaCatholicState   So why are Church schools so in demand?….which is what this article is all about.

    Many parents are happy to send their kids to their nearest school…..but many are not.  What’s the difference between these 2 sets of parents?!

    No….Christians don’t believe Christ is everywhere.  I’d thought a school teacher would know that.  We believe God the Father is everywhere….and Christ is as He said He would be….where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name and that includes Church schools.  So no…Christ is not present in a secular school that does not wish to recognise Him.

  10. LaCatholicState Janet2 Proverbs 15:3
    The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil
    and the good.

    Biblical quotations aside – a non-faith school still teaches about religion but does not hold that one religion (or none) is superior to another and gives its followers privileges which are withheld from others.

  11. Danni4parties

    SchoolsImprove my son got 3rd choice. He’s christened and attends church primary but because we don’t attend church he didn’t get in!!!!

  12. Danni4parties

    SchoolsImprove some parents work and practice faith at home! My choice for a church school was for him to worship there

  13. LaCatholicState

    Janet2 LaCatholicState   As I said….God the Father is everywhere watching us!  But not God the Son,  Jesus Christ.

    A Catholic school holds that Catholicism is the One true Faith…..and do Catholics.

  14. LaCatholicState

    Danni4parties SchoolsImprove So sad u couldn’t get ur son into a Church school. They need to expand to meet demand…not turn away kids

  15. LaCatholicState Janet2 I always get a little nervous when people say their faith is the only ‘true’ one.  It implies that those not of the ‘true’ faith are heretics, disbelievers, infidels, kuffars….

    History and the present show us what can happen when this mindset gets hold.

    The thought that faith schools could be promoting the idea that their faith is superior to others does not fill me with hope for the future.

    It is only in a secular society – ie one where no religion is paramount and all are free to follow a chosen religion or none as long as it does no harm to others, that people can hope not to be dominated by those who describe themselves as being of the ‘one true faith’ whether Catholicism, Islam, Anglicanism, Hinduism etc.

  16. cec11d388c02482

    Danni4parties SchoolsImprove The entry criteria for most church schools changed years ago. Most require that you attend church regularly.

  17. simonblain

    SchoolsImprove children who attend faith schools hopefully practice their faith at home. Faith schools have a duty to serve their community

  18. simonblain

    SchoolsImprove however there certainly should be provision for children who want the chance to explore their faith in our schools.

  19. Danni4parties

    cec11d388c02482 SchoolsImprove like I said some practice faith at home and choose faith schools for regular worship and education.

  20. cec11d388c02482

    Danni4parties SchoolsImprove I know that ppl worship @ home but most schs use attendance to church. You do have the right to appeal

Let us know what you think...