To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effect of selection related to religious beliefs in school admissions on the integration of pupils from different socio-economic, ethnic and religious or non-religious backgrounds in schools; and what steps she is taking to improve such integration.
It is for the admission authority of each school to set their own admission arrangements, according to their local circumstances. Admission authorities for all state-funded schools, including schools with a religious designation, must ensure their admission arrangements comply with the mandatory provisions of the School Admissions Code and other admissions law.
The Code requires that all admissions arrangements must be fair, comply with equalities legislation, and not disadvantage unfairly a child from a particular social or racial group or a child with a disability or special educational needs. If an objection is made to the Schools Adjudicator, and the arrangements are found to be unfair or fail to comply with the Code, the admission authority must make changes to ensure their arrangements are compliant without undue delay.
The Equality Act requires public bodies, including maintained schools and academies, to have due regard to the need to foster good relations across all protected characteristics. All schools are legally required to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their pupils and their effectiveness in this is assessed through inspection. In assessing schools’ effectiveness, inspectors take account of the extent to which pupils have an understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain.
The School Admissions Code is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-code--2