Religion of school not a priority for parents

Religion of school not a priority for parents

Some findings from recent polling by YouGov seem to challenge the claim that the religion of a school is a priority for parents when making the choice over where they want their children to be educated.

ITV commissioned the poll around the time of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK. In it was a question about faith schools. The findings were eclipsed by other religious stories, but the results make for fascinating reading.

The claim is frequently made by those who seek to justify discriminatory admissions and employment policies which favour religious people over others, that it is the religious ethos of a school which makes it so attractive. But the poll findings suggest this claim is pretty unsubstantiated. Factors such as performance of the school, how easy it is to get into, the area the school is in, curriculum (which may of course have a religious influence), class sizes and facilities all seem to have been more important for parents.

Parents were asked:

“Which, if any, of the following are/ were important to you when choosing which school to send your child/ children to? (Please select up to three.)”

These were the results:

Performance of the school 66 per cent
How easy it was to get to 34 per cent
The area the school was in 33 per cent
Where my child/ children wanted to go 24 per cent
Facilities 23 per cent
Class sizes 23 per cent
Curriculum 22 per cent
Religion of the school 9 per cent
Where my child(s) friends went 9 per cent
Extracurricular activities on offer 7 per cent
That it is a same/ mix-sex school 4 per cent
Other 5 per cent
Don't know 4 per cent

Even when it came to parents who self-identified as Christians, the priorities were similar, but with predictable increases in the numbers who think religion and curriculum are important:

Performance of the school 67 per cent
How easy it was to get to 30 per cent
The area the school was in 33 per cent
Where my child/ children wanted to go 22 per cent
Facilities 21 per cent
Class sizes 21 per cent
Curriculum 26 per cent
Religion of the school 14 per cent
Where my child/children's friends went 8 per cent
Extracurricular activities on offer 7 per cent
That it is a same/ mix-sex school 2 per cent
Other 5 per cent
Don't know 4 per cent

Full tables can be found here:

http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Lif...

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