Continuing concern about faith schools' policies

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The think-tank Ekklesia has said that it will continue to raise concerns about the policies and practices of faith schools in areas such as access, equality and employment - on grounds both of fairness and Christian propriety.

One of the organization's directors is presently in dispute with a south London Church of England School, the Diocesan Board of Education and the Local Education Authority after his son, a disabled wheelchair user, was refused admission. He is actively seeking a non-confrontational solution in the interests of all concerned - not least other children with disabilities.

The issues are detailed in this report, together with articles in the Daily Telegraph and Church Times newspapers. The school and diocese have subsequently claimed that these contain "inaccuracies". But they have not specified any, despite being invited to comment on the Telegraph article well before publication.

Jonathan Bartley is co-director of Ekklesia, the Christian think tank, which for a number of years (and quite independently of this particular example) has raised – and will continue to raise, says Bartley's directorial colleague Simon Barrow – "deep concerns about the policies of faith schools on inclusion, cohesion, admissions and employment."

Bartley commented: "Obviously Samuel's situation is very personal to our family, and our overriding concern is to do what is best for him. But we recognise, in raising the matter publicly, that this case is not just about my child. It is also about policies and practices which offer fairness and welcome to all children, whatever their needs. That is both the core Christian issue and the key educational one."