Like the symbolism of Christingle ceremonies church schools will take part in, the schools themselves should be open to all says the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, commenting on reports of likely record attendances.
Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley said: "The Church can not have it both ways. On the one hand it champions its work for vulnerable children. On the other, the policies it operates with regard to the admissions to its own schools clearly have a detrimental impact on children's welfare.
"The boost that the church may get to its attendance figures this Christmas comes at a huge cost. The Church finds itself in a bizarre situation where it is preaching a Christmas message of care for children, whilst simultaneously benefitting from policies which exclude them from its own schools.
"The Church of England, while it is raising money for the Children's Society, should also act on the Society's findings with regard to church schools."
Ekklesia is part of the Accord coalition to reform faith schools.
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