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‘Unnecessary, unjust, disastrous for social cohesion’ – faith school admissions

August 15th, 2013 | Posted by Editor in News | Uncategorized

London Assembly Member Tom Copley and Labour Humanists have made a joint submission to Labour’s policy review on admissions to state-funded faith schools.

We want Labour’s policy commissions urgently to consider and address the growing problem of selection and discrimination by state-funded faith schools, and make fair, inclusive admissions a manifesto commitment. Read our full submission here Labour Humanists Policy Review Admissions With Table FINAL or on Labour’s Your Britain policy site.

We said: ‘It is our firm belief that state-funded faith schools (about a third of all schools) should be inclusive: we believe that is a Labour value too. We believe that discrimination in admissions by state-funded faith schools is unnecessary, unjust, disastrous for social cohesion, and completely against Labour values.’

‘The available evidence demonstrates that religious selection criteria tend to be heavily weighted in favour of middle-class families. Schools selecting pupils on the basis of the professed faith of the parents are segregating children and young people along religious, socio-economic, cultural, and even ethnic lines.’

All types of state-funded schools with a religious character are permitted to select in their admissions by discriminating on religious grounds. This even includes those whose admissions are controlled by the local authority if that authority allows it, faith Academies and Free Schools.

Table: Admissions policies by type of school

Type of school Admissions
Community schools(cannot have a religious character) Determined by local authority; cannot discriminate on religious grounds.
Voluntary Controlled faith schools(legally registered with a religious character) Determined by local authority; a quarter of authorities let Voluntary Controlled faith schools discriminate on religious grounds.
Voluntary Aided faith schools(legally registered with a religious character) Determined by governors ‘in consultation’ with local authority; can discriminate against all pupils on religious grounds if oversubscribed.
Foundation faith schools(legally registered with a religious character) Determined by governors in consultation with local authority; can discriminate on religious grounds if oversubscribed.
Faith Academies and Free Schools(legally registered with a religious character) Determined by governors; can discriminate against all pupils on religious grounds, and Free Schools can do so for up to 50% of intake.
Academies and Free Schools with no registered religious character (but may have a ‘faith ethos’) Determined by governors; cannot discriminate on religious grounds.

Support for fair, inclusive admissions to state schools should not be a controversial issue for Labour. It is widely supported across the party as well as by the public, and Labour should have a clear policy against discrimination in admissions by faith schools.

Labour’s Your Britain policy site allows you to make comments on submissions and also vote in favour of them – please do take the opportunity to do so.

Please also see our page on the policy review, which has details of how you can get involved.

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