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Test Case Could Dictate Admissions Policy in Faith Schools [UK]
The Daily Telegraph (UK) ^ | 11/15/12 | Victoria Ward

Posted on 11/16/2012 6:41:47 AM PST by marshmallow

New faith schools could be forced to admit pupils from non-religious backgrounds if a judicial review currently being heard in the High Court is successful.

Campaigners have brought a legal challenge against Richmond Council, claiming that in approving two new Catholic schools it had broken the law and discriminated against non-Catholic children.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) and a group of local activists, including parents, argue that all new state schools in the London borough should have religiously inclusive admissions policies.

They say they want to halt the “back-door” spread of new religious state schools in England.

If successful, it could mean that traditional faith schools that cater only for believers, could no longer be opened by a local authority without first seeking proposals from those wishing to establish an academy.

A faith academy would be required to reserve at least 50 per cent of places for non-religious pupils if oversubscribed.

The BHA is fighting to overturn the council’s decision to offer a new £8.4 million site to the Catholic Diocese of Westminster to be used for one primary school and one secondary, which are due to open next September.

It says that the council breached a new law introduced earlier this year which states that if a local authority believes a new school is needed, it must seek proposals from groups wanting to set up free schools or academies.

If there are no suitable proposals, local authorities can the open up the competition to include other types of schools.

However, the Department of Education insists that it is possible to open new faith schools outside of such competitive arrangements. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has personally intervened in the case to back the council.

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TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics

1 posted on 11/16/2012 6:41:51 AM PST by marshmallow
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