A leading Jewish educator has launched a scathing attack on the admissions policies of British faith schools.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, chairman of the Accord coalition for inclusive education, hit out after the results of a new survey revealed that poor pupils are more likely to get a place at schools which do not select on religious grounds.
Romain claims the report reveals the “hypocrisy of those who claim religiously selective schools serve the community at large”.
Figures released this week by the Fair Admissions Campaign showed Church of England comprehensives which do not select on faith admitted four percent more pupils eligible for free school meals than would be expected compared to their area.
By contrast, Church of England schools whose admission criteria allowed for full selection on religious grounds admitted 31 percent fewer children on free school meals than would be expected for their area, the figures showed.
The statistics, based on comparison with population samples smaller than local authority boundaries, were included in analysis released by the campaign – which opposes selection of pupils by state schools on the basis of religion.
The figures from the campaign showed secular comprehensive secondaries admitted 11 percent more pupils eligible for free school meals than would be expected given their areas.
But comprehensive Jewish secondaries admitted 61 percent fewer , Church of England secondaries 10 percent fewer, Roman Catholic secondaries 24 percent fewerand Muslim secondaries 25 61 percent fewer, according to the campaign figures.
Rabbi Romain said: “This new research exposes the hypocrisy of those who claim religiously selective schools serve the community at large. It reveals that they not only further segregate children on religious and ethnic grounds, but also are skewed towards serving the affluent at the expense of the deprived.
“Crucially, the research also shows that the more a school is permitted to select children by faith, the greater the extent to which it is likely to socio-economically segregate.
“The data poses some very awkward questions for the state-funded faith school sector, especially as many people of faith are appalled that schools that should focus on the poor have become so elitist.”