Commenting on the newly launched Church School Awards, Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, said:
"It is vital to encourage all educational establishments in fostering good community relations. This is something which needs to be based on personal contact between children from different backgrounds in and out of school, not just textbook theory.
"In this context, it is extraordinary and saddening that the new Church School Awards appear to have been established deliberately to bypass scrutiny of some key factors in overcoming lack of integration and cohesion - namely, the discriminatory policy framework on admissions and employment.
"This allows publicly-funded religious foundation schools to favour or disfavour pupils and teachers on the basis of their faith affiliation or belief.
"Such discrimination needs to be brought to an end, and the churches should be at the forefront of supporting such reform on Christian grounds, rather than seeking to ignore or disguise the problem for sectional advantage."
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