Parents will lie about faith to get children into church schools

By staff writers
October 17, 2007

Almost a quarter of parents in London would lie about their faith to get their children into school, according to a new survey.

23% of London respondents to a poll commissioned by the Children's Society said they would give false information, such as lying about their faith or where they live.

The findings appear to confirm that church school admission's policies which give priority to children of parents who attend churches connected to the schools, are leading many parents to pretend to have a faith for the sake of their children's education.

A quarter of primary schools are church schools.

The Children's Society, which was originally set up as an agency of the Church of England, to help vulnerable children.

Half of respondents (51%) to the survey agreed that they would be prepared to move house to get their child into a good school. One in seven (14%) agreed they would go as far as giving false information, such as lying about their faith or where they live. This figure rose to 23% in London.

The survey, conducted by GfK NOP, is the third in a series called Reflections on Childhood commissioned by The Children's Society, as part of its Good Childhood Inquiry - the UK's first independent national inquiry into childhood.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society said: "The lengths that parents are prepared to go to clearly indicate that there are huge variations in school standards. But for many parents, the costly exercise of moving house to get their child into a good school is simply not an option. The current system is in danger of embedding inequality by making a child's social class and economic circumstances the key influencer in their educational success."

Other research has shown that poorer children are less likely to have a good school among their nearest three schools. Forty-four per cent of children that are eligible for free school meals have a good school nearby compared to 61% of their peers.

The survey will increase pressure on church schools to end their discriminatory admissions polices.

"Unless we create a system where all children have equal access to a good education, millions of children will be denied a fair start in life,' said Bob Reitemeier.

Keywords:lie | church schools
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