Faith schools academically ‘no better’ than any others, major new report suggests

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.”

More at: Faith schools academically ‘no better’ than any others, major new report suggests

Do you think that faith schools increase social segregation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Asbestos claims hit £10m over English schools
School demands for parents to do more hits low-income and minority students hardest
Categories: Teaching.


  1. eleonorasfalcon

    SchoolsImprove michhayw Faith secondaries have more non local pupils, pupils who’s parents can put choice over free transport, ie richer

  2. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove So why are they more often in the top ten of each league table?! They Also offer a more cultured and civilised environment

  3. wasateacher

    LaCatholicState SchoolsImprove It’s called selection.  If you select your intake it is very easy to get good exam results.  This report is not about raw results but about the progress children make at school.  This is similar to the argument on grammar schools.  The schools are not better but they have creamed off those children who will achieve in any school, fooling people into thinking that they are better.

    It is why more emphasis should be placed on the value added scores for schools – this measures the progress made by the pupils.  For example, on 2012 results (I haven’t got more recent) one grammar school scored over 90% 5A-C – excellent result you think.  However, if you look at the progress score, it is below average.  Again one of the extremely well know Catholic schools has similar exam results but is only just above average on progress.

    There are clearly failings in any ‘objective’ measure of how good a school is, but being able to select pupils does not mean that those pupils are getting a better education than anyone else – it often means that they just have a more expensive uniform, so selection is by wealth!

  4. LaCatholicState SchoolsImprove Objective and reliable evidence, please, for the assertion that faith schools offer ‘a more cultured and civilised environment’.

Let us know what you think...