Church of England backtracks again on a commitment to reduce religious discrimination in pupil admissions

June 27, 2011

The Church of England has today released new guidance on pupil admission policies for Church of England faith schools and Diocesan Boards of Education, which fails to affirm an earlier commitment that it would advocate that its schools should significantly reduce the amount of religious discrimination in their admission arrangements.

In April of this year the Bishop of Oxford, Chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education and the Episcopal spokesperson on education in the House of Lords, The Rt Revd John Pritchard, announced that the Church would recommend in its new guidance that its schools should limit the proportion of pupils that they select on the grounds of religion to 10% of their intake.

However, the new guidance released today, offers no clear advice that the proportion of pupils selected on religious grounds in schools should be restricted at all, while they restate pre-existing policy that Church of England schools should challenge the views of non-religious pupils.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, said ‘In 2007 The Church of England gave a much trumpeted commitment to the Government that its schools would select at least 25% of their pupils from other religion and belief backgrounds. However, the Church did not ensure or even actively recommend that its schools adhere to this undertaking. The Church has now again made a headline grabbing commitment that it will seek to reduce religious selection in its schools, but which it has backtracked from.

‘It is astonishing that at the same time the Church has also restated pre-existing policy that its schools should challenge the beliefs of the non-religious. Schools should be suitable for all children, regardless of their background. They should have no business challenging the religious or philosophical beliefs of children and their families. For the Church of England to suggest that its schools should do otherwise, which are almost entirely paid for by the tax payer, is an abuse of its power and ultimately of public funds. It should instead focus on its historic and admirable mission of seeking to provide education for its own sake, for pupils of all backgrounds.

‘The Church’s continual failure to follow through on its pledges only reinforces how vital the need is for legislative change to ensure that state funded faith schools are brought into line so they do not discriminate in their admissions, as well as provide pupils with a broad and respectful education about the range of beliefs held in society.’



Over 20% of state funded schools in England are Church of England schools, and most of its secondary schools and almost 45% of its primary and middle schools are able to select all of their pupils on religious grounds if they are sufficiently oversubscribed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Accord depends on your support

Please give.

Sign up

find us on Facebook

News history