Schools: Admissions

(asked on 15th June 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child that the UK should prevent the use of religion as a selection criterion for school admission in England.

Answered by
Baroness Barran Portrait
Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
This question was answered on 3rd July 2023

The UK is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’s (UNCRC), and the department will consider carefully the Committee’s recommendations. The government does not always agree with, or implement, UNCRCs recommendations, and there is no requirement to do so.

Mainstream state-funded schools designated with a religious character, commonly known as faith schools, may choose to give priority for places to applicants on the basis of faith, but only where they are oversubscribed. Where they have places available, they must admit all children who apply without reference to faith. Faith-based oversubscription criteria provide a means to support parents to have their children educated in line with their religious and philosophical beliefs, where they wish to do so.

Some faith schools only prioritise a proportion of places with reference to faith, and others do not use faith-based criteria at all. Free schools which are designated with a religious character must allocate at least 50% of places without reference to faith, where they are oversubscribed.

The School Admissions Code exists to ensure that admission arrangements are fair, clear and objective, and is binding on all state mainstream schools, including faith schools. Where anyone is concerned that a school’s admission arrangements are unfair or unlawful, the department encourages them to refer an objection to the independent Schools Adjudicator.

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