SCHOOLS TO TAKE IN 25% NON-CHRISTIAN CHILDREN
(5 October 2006)
Secretary Alan Johnson welcomed today's announcement that the Church
of England will make available at least a quarter of places in its
new schools to non-church families. The new commitment will ensure
a proportion of places in new Church of England schools is open
to families of other faiths and no faith if there is demand for
addition, the Roman Catholic Church has said it will revise its
inspection frameworks to ensure the contribution Catholic schools
and colleges make to social cohesion is fully reported upon. Both
the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches reaffirmed their commitment
to social cohesion in an exchange of letters with the Education
and Skills Secretary today.
Johnson said: "A good education is one of the best ways of
building understanding of the many issues that unite us, as opposed
to the few that divide. We want to preserve the special contribution
faith schools make to raising educational standards and offering
of England schools have an excellent record in providing high quality
education and serving disadvantaged communities and Catholic schools
are among the most ethnically and socially diverse in the country.
Today's announcement by both Churches demonstrates an important
commitment to community cohesion and high quality education for
exam results are crucial for all schools and pupils but education
is also about having the right ethos which encourages social responsibility,
high aspirations, good citizenship and mutual understanding."
Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth, said: "The
Church of England is strongly committed to providing schools that
are distinctively Christian and at the same time inclusive.
want to make a specific commitment that all new Church of England
schools should have at least 25% of places available to children
with no requirement that they be from practising Christian families."
for the Roman Catholic Church, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop
of Birmingham, said: "We will revise our inspection frameworks
to ensure that judgements about the contribution that Catholic schools
and sixth form colleges make to social cohesion are placed in the
public domain. We warmly support efforts by the Government and all
faith groups to promote genuine inclusion in our society, particularly
in some of the most deprived areas of the country."
revised frameworks will include information on the proportion of
Catholics and minority ethnic groups in the Catholic school, the
involvement of the school in the wider community, how the needs
of non-Catholics are met, Citizenship education and other factors.
announcements by the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches build
on an announcement in February by the main religious leaders that
children and young people in faith and community schools should
be taught about all the major faiths and develop deeper understanding.
Then Education Secretary Ruth Kelly welcomed the confirmation that
all faith schools should offer a broad religious education and promote
inclusion and tolerance.