Faith school plans will lead to ‘increased segregation’, Humanists warn

Proposed plans to allow faith schools to select all pupils based on religious grounds will lead to ‘increased ethnic and religious segregation across England’, according to the British Humanist Association (BHA).

Under current rules, if a faith school is over subscribed it has to limit the number of pupils it selects based on faith to 50 per cent. But Prime Minister Theresa May argued that the cap was stopping more good faith schools opening and the ‘Schools that work for everyone’ green paper included proposals to remove this cap.

However, the BHA has warned that 100 per cent religiously selective Christian schools are ‘less diverse’ and admit a far higher proportion of children classified as ‘of white origin’ than schools which operate under the 50 per cent cap on religious selection or do not select on religious grounds at all.

BHA analysis found that in existing Church of England free schools, 63 per cent of pupils are classified as ‘of white origin’ in those that operate under the 50 per cent cap, but this increases to 78 per cent in those that religiously select all of their places.

Jay Harman, BHA education campaigner, said: “Today’s research reveals that the proposals run entirely counter to the evidence, which clearly demonstrates that the 50 per cent cap has dramatically improved ethnic and religious integration in religious state schools.

“We have written to Justine Greening, Education Secretary, to draw her attention to the evidence and to urge her to drop the current proposals, which will only lead to greater segregation and be a massive setback for social cohesion.”

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