Faith cap ‘will not affect our schools’

28 July 2017

PA

Sunday service: Theresa May and her husband, Philip, arrive at St Andrew’s, Sonning, at the weekend

Sunday service: Theresa May and her husband, Philip, arrive at St Andrew’s, Sonning, at the weekend

THE Church of England’s schools will be unaffected, whether the cap on the proportion of places that can be allocated on the basis of faith stays or goes.

This is the position reiterated by a Church House spokesman after weekend reports suggested that the Government’s proposal to scrap the cap might be abandoned.

The Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, told The Sunday Times that “admission 100 per cent on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities. I am uncomfortable with anything that leads to increased segregation.”

Of the Government’s plans, she said: “There are various proposals. . . I am not sure they are still on the cards.”

Plans to remove the cap — which limits the places allocated on the basis of faith to 50 per cent — were set out in a Green Paper last year (News, 16 September). The Conservative manifesto promised to “replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school”.

Asked last week in the House of Commons whether this would be honoured, the Prime Minister said: “We do believe it is important to enable more faith schools to be set up and more faith schools to expand. This is an issue that my Rt Hon. friend the Secretary of State for Education is considering, and she will publish further details on our overall view in terms of improving school diversity and encouraging the creation of more good school places in the near future.”

A Catholic Education Service spokesman told The Sunday Times: “We cannot open any free schools if the 50 per cent admission cap remains. We have not opened any since 2010, even though there is huge demand for Catholic education in some regions.”

In November, the C of E’s Chief Education Officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, said that the proposal to lift the cap “will not change our approach to existing schools and in bidding for new schools.”

The Church is planning to open dozens of new free schools (News, 13 April). On Tuesday, a spokesman said: “Neither the removal nor the retention of the faith cap will impact on our existing schools or any new ones we open.”

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