Faith schools criticised for skewing admissions towards better-off

Faith schools criticised for skewing admissions towards better-off

By staff writers
3 Nov 2010

The Accord Coalition for inclusive education has criticised schools that have been found to have skewed their pupil admissions rules in favour of middle class families - including some faith schools.

The annual report from the Office of the Schools’ Adjudicator, Dr Ian Craig, was published on 1 November 2010.

It highlighted how church schools and others are continuing to illegally select pupils based on class and ability.

They do so by asking pupils to describe their hobbies – giving extra points for those engaged in activities such as bell-ringing – and also asking questions about their parents' income.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, chair of the Accord Coalition, which links both religious and non-religious groups concerned about the impact of current faith schools policy on society, expressed surprise at the findings.

He declared: "It is astonishing that, after being condemned by the government inspectors two years ago for using underhand methods to select pupils, faith schools are still doing so."

"You would have expected faith schools to desist from something that is both illegal and immoral. It also gives credence to the accusation that many faith schools are operating as covert grammar schools and are more interested in attracting wealthy pupils than serving the local community," said Dr Romain.

The founding members of Accord include the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, and the British Humanist Association. The Coalition also has supporters from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other belief backgrounds.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator annual report for the period from September 2009 to August 2010 can be read in full (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat file) at http://www.schoolsadjudicator.gov.uk/RMS_upload/Annual%20Report%202009-1...

Accord Coalition - http://accordcoalition.org.uk/

[Ekk/3]

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