Government offers approval for first fully selective faith school in nearly a decade

June 14, 2019

The Accord Coalition has criticised news that the Government has approved in principle funding for the first voluntary aided faith school as part of its plan to support new faith schools that can be fully religiously selective. In May 2018 the Government announced it was scrapping a proposal to allow faith free schools to be fully selective, but instead that it would financially support the opening of local authority maintained voluntary aided faith schools that can operate in this way.

Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, the Revd Stephen Terry, said ‘In England since 2010 faith schools that have opened with the support of central government have been limited in selecting no more than half of their pupils on faith grounds. Though a relatively small measure, it signalled that schools should seek to bring people together from different backgrounds and that integration was being taken more seriously than before.’

‘Opening new schools that can be fully religiously selective is a backward and socially irresponsible move. Today’s news is a victory for those who seek to isolate children of their faith from wider society. It can only lead to further ghettoisation, which is completely at odds with the needs of our increasingly diverse society.’

The information has been released by the Department for Education today (Friday June 14th) at the same time as it announcing news of its latest wave of 22 new free schools, three of which are faith free schools. The proposed voluntary aided faith school is the Hampton Waters Roman Catholic School in Peterborough which the Education Secretary has in principle approved a funding bid for. The Department has revealed that it is also working to find a site for two other voluntary aided faith school bids.


In May 2017 a Populus opinion poll commissioned by Accord found that four out of every five voters preferred that new faith schools should continue to operate under the 50% religious selection cap.

Accord has set out some of the wealth of research highlighting the positive impact from religious mixing in schools here.

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