Selection by religion ‘should be banned in state schools’

State-funded Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh schools should be required to treat applications from non-religious families the same as those from believers, according to campaigners. The comments came as a national survey found that almost three-quarters of adults were in favour of an overhaul of rules on faith school admissions. This is from the Telegraph…

Some 73 per cent of adults polled by ComRes said that primaries and secondaries should be banned from discriminating “against prospective pupils on religious grounds”. Fewer than a fifth of the 2,000 people surveyed agreed with current rules.

The survey – commissioned by the Accord Coalition – comes just days before parents in Richmond, west London, are due to make appeals to the High Court as part of a long-running fight against the opening of a new Roman Catholic school in the borough.

But any changes to faith school admissions rules are likely to be strongly resisted by religious leaders.

Last year, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, sparked outrage after suggesting that the number of places at Church of England schools reserved for Anglican pupils should be limited to as little as 10 per cent.

Critics claimed that the move represented an attempt to undermine tradition and represented an attack on faith.

Currently, around a third of state schools in England and Wales are faith-based, giving them powers to select pupils on their religion.

But the Accord Coalition, which campaigns against rules on religious admissions, suggested that the survey results showed broad support for a change in the law.

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