The Independent is reporting that faith schools in England are academically “little or no better than any other schools”, and pushing for their expansion is unlikely to boost social mobility, an education think tank has warned.
The Education Policy Institute report, entitled Faith Schools, Pupil Performance and Social Selection, follows new government proposals to allow new faith schools to recruit more than half of their pupils on religious grounds – lifting the current cap of 50 per cent.
While pupils in primary and secondary faith schools do achieve better results overall, these tables do not take into account social background, the report warns.
Experts also suggest such schools have a higher proportion of children with high prior attainment, scoring more highly in Early Years tests.
Once this level of high prior attainment was taken into account, faith schools performed little or no better than non-religious schools at primary level, it was reported.
Secondary school pupils recorded small improvements with 60.6 per cent of pupils in Church of England schools and 63.2 per cent of pupils in Catholic schools achieving five GCSE grades A*-C, one seventh of a grade higher than non-faith schools on average.
“These findings show that, while encouraging more faith schools to open may help the government to meet its requirements to provide sufficient school places, the proposed policy is unlikely to yield school places that are of a significantly higher quality than that offered by non-faith schools”, the report said.
“Furthermore, given that faith schools on average admit fewer pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds than non-faith schools, there is a risk that these small gains would come at the price of increased social segregation.”
Do you think that faith schools increase social segregation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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