May outlines plans to remove 50 per cent cap on faith schools

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced new plans to remove the rule that means faith schools must limit the number of pupils it selects on the basis of faith to 50 per cent.

Speaking in London, while also announcing plans to open new grammar schools, May said the 50 per cent cap was an obstacle that was stopping more good faith schools opening and said that the government should ‘confidently promote’ the role that faith schools play in a diverse school system.

She drew particular focus to Catholic schools and explained that the rule was preventing new Catholic schools opening ‘because the Catholic Church believes it contravenes its own rules for a Catholic bishop not to prioritise the admission of Catholic pupils’.

She added: “This is especially frustrating because existing Catholic schools are more ethnically diverse than other faith schools, more likely to be located in deprived communities, more likely to be rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, and there is growing demand for them.”

As a result, May said she would lift the 50 per cent cap to ‘allow the growth in capacity that Catholic schools can offer’.

She assured that the government will ‘consult on a new set of much more effective requirements to ensure that faith schools are properly inclusive and make sure their pupils mix with children of other faiths and backgrounds’ and suggested grouping mono-racial and mono-religious schools within wider multi-racial and multi-religious trusts, as well as exploring ways in which schools can enter into twinning arrangements with other schools not of their faith.

She concluded: “But fundamentally I believe it is wrong to deny families the opportunity to send their children to a school that reflects their religious values if that’s what they choose. And it’s right to encourage faith communities – especially those with a proven record of success, like the Catholics – to play their full part in building the capacity of our schools.”

Read more