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Replace the inclusivity rules around faith schools

We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school.

Our Verdict

The “inclusivity rules” mentioned here are “funding agreements for entirely new academies and free schools with a religious character” which state that “where the school is oversubscribed at least 50% of places are to be allocated without reference to faith” (as explained in this briefing paper).

So new religious academies and free schools which are oversubscribed cannot simply give all their places to children from religious backgrounds. This policy proposed removing that 50% rule, so that 100% of places could be given to pupils based on their faith.

The policy arose from a consultation in 2016. Then, in May 2018, the government published its response to that consultation and announced that it had decided to retain the 50% rule.

There is a plan outlined in the consultation response to fund more voluntary aided faith schools, which would be permitted to have 100% faith-based oversubscription criteria. But this policy pledged to “replace” the existing inclusivity rules and the government has actually decided to retain them. So this one is definitely ‘broken’.

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