The Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard, who is also chairman of the Church of England’s Board of Education, has been speaking about school admission policies.
This began with an article in the TES Education Supplement C of E opens school gates to non-believers
The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, said that admissions policies favouring religious children should be changed, even if accepting a broader range of pupils damaged results.
“I’m really committed to our schools being as open as they can be,” Revd [sic] Pritchard told The TES. “I know that there are other philosophies that will start at the other end, that say that these are for our church families, but I have never been as convinced of that as others.
“Every school will have a policy that has a proportion of places for church youngsters … what I would be saying is that number ought to be minimised because our primary function and our privilege is to serve the wider community. Ultimately I hope we can get the number of reserved places right down to 10 per cent.”
The Bishop’s comments come ahead of guidelines on admissions to be published by the CofE during the summer. Around half of the church’s 4,800 schools are voluntary aided, meaning they control their own admissions policies.
He also gave an interview to the BBC News TV channel, which is linked from Bishop: ‘Open school access, even if standards fall’.
And he gave an interview to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: Church schools to be ‘fair’ to non-believers.
Other news reports:
Organisations which have been campaigning for such a policy change responded:
ACCORD Accord welcomes radical recommendation to reduce religious discrimination in Church of England schools
British Humanist Association New Church of England plans to reduce discrimination in school admissions welcome but do not go far enough
National Secular Society Bishop admits that church schools succeed because of selection
Ekklesia Church schools should end selection by religion
Telegraph Bishop under fire over quota plan for church schools
Polly Toynbee at Cif belief Faith schools: now even the church admits they’re unfair