To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the article in The Times of 14 February 2017 in the name of the Minister of State for School Standards, what the evidential basis is for her statement that there is significant parental demand for good faith schools; and whether she has made an assessment of such demand being for faith schools rather than for good schools.
In the 2016 secondary school application round non-faith school first preferences to offers ratio was 0.98. For faith schools the ratio was 1.08.
The data, which the Department collects on admissions and school choice, does not enable an assessment to be made as to the specific reason why parents are more likely to make faith schools their first preference.
There are often a range of factors that affect how parents choose a particular school, such as location, type of school, whether a sibling already attends, feeder arrangements, reputation and Ofsted rating. It is therefore not possible to make a precise assessment as to what is the main reason why parents are more likely to make a faith school their first preference.