Faith schools have been accused of failing local communities by taking disproportionately low numbers of poor pupils. This is from the Times…
The number of children eligible for free schools meals at faith schools is lower than average when the affluence of the school area is taken into account, according to data from the Fair Admissions Campaign.
The campaign group blamed admissions policies at the selective institutions, some of which require parents to plan years in advance to have their child accepted.
Demands can include asking parents of prospective pupils to take choir practice, arrange flowers, attend church for years and have children baptised early. Campaigners say that these measures benefit middle-class parents who have time to participate in extra activities and plan ahead.
The government-appointed Schools Adjudicator ruled this week that the admissions procedure at the London Oratory School, where Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, plans to send his son, was so complicated he needed assistance to understand it.
The ruling also branded it “unfair” that parents had to plan so far in advance. Around 15 per cent of secondary age children are eligible for free school meals. The Fair Admissions Campaign analysed data showing that the typical Roman Catholic school will have 5 percentage points fewer children taking free school meals than average in its local area.A typical Church of England school where all children are selected by faith will have around 4 percentage points fewer students on free school meals than its area.
Is this kind of selection policy and potential discrimination in favour of better-off parents one of the reasons why faith schools have become so successful and popular? How do you feel about campaigners and the authorities questioning the approach? Please share your thoughts in the comments or on twitter…