Nationalisation of Church Schools by Coalition
to church schools who they may admit is an unprecedented shift in church and state
relations, according to the Christian Peoples Alliance party. The Christian Democrats
are pointing out that continuing encroachment by Government into the sphere of school
admissions is an unwelcome move, tantamount to nationalisation. The party says that
if pursued, it would be a grave violation of parental rights, as primary educators of their
The deal that brought the Liberal Democrats into government, entitled The Coalition:
our programme for government, stated: “We will work with faith groups to enable more
faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools
as possible.” The meaning of 'inclusive' can be drawn from a section of the Lib Dem
election manifesto entitled Freeing Schools for Excellence, which said "We will ensure
that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair
discrimination on grounds of faith”.
Dr Tom Rogers is a university lecturer and on the National Executive of the Christian
Peoples Alliance. A Roman Catholic lay-minister, Dr Rogers commented:
"The Lib Dem notion of “inclusivity” is a complete misnomer – as disingenuous as the
rest of the politically-correct diversity agenda. What it really amounts to is the imposition
of atheistic secular values, and the deliberate frustrating of parents’ rightful capacity to
bring up their children in the context of the values they know to be truthful and best.
"True inclusivity is what is actually already offered by Christian schools, which have a
very long history of bringing free education to children who would not otherwise have
such vital life-affirming opportunities. In Britain, both independent studies and the
Government’s own inspection system, Ofsted, have consistently praised Christian
schools for their often disproportionately large representation of children on free school
meals and from ethnic minorities. There is no evidence that Christian schools are not
inclusive, and attempts to prove as much have consistently been shown up to be simple
-muckraking from the secularist lobby.
Dr Rogers also warned that state interference of this kind would finally kill off the goose
that lays the golden egg of successful schooling:
"No school can expect to maintain the ethos which makes it a success if a significant
number of parents do not support that ethos. Christian schools want as many children as
possible to benefit from what a faith education brings, but non-Christian parents and the
Government cannot have it both ways.
"Entry requirements into Christian schools which stipulate baptism are, firstly, there to
protect the integrity of the faith-education freely-chosen by Christian parents for their
children. Secondly, they are a protection of the conscience of non-Christian children and
their parents, that the faith is not imposed on them. Christ is all inclusive and does not
prevent anyone on this planet from following Him who wishes to – including parents who
know Christian values are the best for the education of their children."
Dr Rogers also welcomed plans announced this week in the Queen's Speech for a new
Academies Bill, which will make it easier for parents and other groups to set up "free
schools", including new faith schools. He also says it is important that middle-class
parents don't use the measure to opt out of comprehensive schools to form socially
exclusive schools of their own. He added:
"Church schools have delivered high quality education over many generations, driving up
standards and tackling educational under-achievement. They have a better track record
on inclusion than their secular counter-parts. But this new Bill risks under-mining the
partnership between the state and churches in the provision of education. The bait of
new faith schools must be resisted if it means breaking the principle of non-interference
on admissions. "
If the policy is implemented, it will only impact new church schools. But if conceded, it
could be a step towards loss of control of the admissions process over 4,470 Church
of England, 2,300 Catholic and 85 Jewish schools.