Faith Schools: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th February 2016.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policy on school admissions of the finding of the report, An Unholy Mess, published by the Fair Admissions Campaign in October 2015, relating to information made available on requirements for religious observance as part of the admissions process for certain religiously selective schools.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policy on school admissions of the finding of the report, An Unholy Mess, published by the Fair Admissions Campaign in October 2015, on the use of supplementary information forms which assume that parents are of the opposite sex; and if she will take steps to ensure that such forms are not used by schools in future.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Admission authorities for all state-funded schools, including schools with a religious designation, are required to comply with the mandatory provisions of the School Admissions Code (the code) and other admissions law.

Where an objection is made to the Schools Adjudicator, if the arrangements are found to be unfair or fail to comply with the code, the admission authority must make changes to ensure their arrangements comply within two months of a determination. This includes requiring schools to amend their supplementary information forms when they do not comply with the code.

We support the right of schools with a religious designation to prioritise children of their faith designation but the code requires that any measure of religious activity used for admission purposes must be as laid out by their faith body.

The Government will shortly consult on a package of changes to the School Admissions code which will both respond to concerns from parents and to the findings in the Chief Adjudicator’s Annual Report. That package will include measures to improve fairness and transparency.

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