Church schools reserved places

Should Church schools limit the number of reserved places for families from the Church to no more than 10%?

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, has recently said he would like to see Church schools limit the number of reserved places for families from the Church to no more than 10% of the intake. In doing so he has told Church schools that don’t currently abide by this policy that they are not serving the community and are only serving themselves by collecting “nice Christians into safe Places”.

Is he right?

Bishop Pritchard makes valuable comments about church school admission policies and we await the national guidance with interest. Legally, the admissions policy is the responsibility of a school governing body so the Diocese will work to help them interpret the guidance. The Diocese is committed to supporting excellent church schools promoting Christian education whilst serving their local community.

Jon_RichardsonJon Richardson, Director of Education for the Diocese of Liverpool

Faith schools were established to serve the faith community and therefore that must be their primary responsibility. That’s not to say that we don’t have a responsibility to the community as a whole, we have a significant number of pupils of other faiths and indeed of no faith but we are here to serve the faith community first and foremost.

Frances_HarrisonFrances Harrison, Headteacher, Notre Dame Catholic College for the Arts

I’m all in favour of equal access and for good schools to share their successful ideas. However, if (and again, another big ‘if’) the school thinks that the Christian ethos is part of that success it is understandable that they will not want to dilute that ethos significantly. Parental power being what it is these days I think it is naive to think that a Christian school with only, say, 10% Christian pupils would maintain any sense of Christian ethos. 50% seems a sensible notional number to me.

Alan_BirkettAlan Birkett, Editor, Knowsley Challenge Newspaper

The Bishops comments confirm that not only do church schools achieve their superior results because they can pick and choose their pupils, but also that the church is prepared to tolerate parents lying about their beliefs in order to get their children in. All state-funded schools should be open to the whole community, such blatant religious discrimination is no longer acceptable.

Terry_SandersonTerry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society

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