Schools: Religion

Department for Education written question – answered on 23rd September 2021.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pupils in Bolton South East constituency have access to a secular or community-ethos school.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The government is committed to offering parents and children a diverse education system consisting of a wide variety of schools and this includes faith schools. Within Bolton South East, 24 of the 47 primary and secondary schools are not designated as faith schools.

The vast majority of parents are offered a place at a school of their choice. For the Bolton local authority, in 2021, 97.6% of parents received an offer from one of their top three choices of primary school, while 94.4 % received an offer from one of their top three choices of secondary school.

Faith schools have played an important role in our education system for many years and are popular with parents. They have a strong track record of delivering excellent education and achieving high standards and, on average, perform better than non-faith schools. These schools, like all other schools, play a vital role in promoting integration and supporting pupils to understand different faiths and communities.

Although faith schools have greater freedom to maintain their religious ethos, they remain subject to the same obligations as other state funded schools to promote community cohesion and integration, and to teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

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