PARENTS who choose a church school are not attracted by its
values, a survey has suggested. Instead, they are looking for high
Parents overwhelmingly ranked results above ethos - 77 per cent
to 23 per cent - when asked in a YouGov survey what was important
to them when choosing a school for their child.
Discipline in the school, and its location, were also ranked
The parents in the survey were also against government funding
for faith schools. Yet, when asked specifically about Church of
England schools, 42 per cent were in favour of government funding
as opposed to 38 per cent against.
Younger people were more positive about faith schools than older
people: 18-24 year olds were in favour by 43 per cent (36 per cent
against), compared with those aged 40-59: 28 per cent in favour, 47
per cent against.
The survey of more than 4000 adults was carried out as part of
the Westminster Faith Debates, organised by Professor Linda
Woodhead of Lancaster University.
She said: "Our poll shows that, when choosing a school, most
parents aren't concerned with religion. They are concerned with
"So long as parents want their children to get the best
qualifications, so long as politicians of Left and Right support
parental choice and high academic standards, and so long as faith
schools maintain these standards, the debate can rage; but faith
schools are not going away."
The head of school policy and deputy general secretary of the
National Society, Nigel Genders, said: "Parents choose church
schools for a wide variety of reasons. For some, it is because they
want to have their children educated in accordance with their
"For others, it is due to high academic standards or because it
is the nearest school. Whatever the reason, Church of England
schools offer high-quality education to the whole community and are
part of the Church's commitment to serving the common good."
About one million children are currently educated in C of E