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Why This Won’t Happen

A story has been reported in a quite a few places recently. Here’s The Guardian piece on a Bishop calling for the changing of CofE admissions procedures.

Given some of the coverage (yes, I mean the Daily Mail and it’s ilk) you’d be forgiven for thinking that all CofE schools are to abandon their ability to manage their own admissions and start turning away the children of the faithful in favour of the offspring of criminals and crack-heads.

Look carefully at the article. It says the Bishop is “encouraging” CofE schools to reduce their allocated faith-places to 10%. It does not say the Church is going to compel them to do this – and the CofE probably doesn’t have the power to do so anyway.

It won’t happen. At present faith is used as a proxy for parents who give a damn about their kid’s education: the ones who will go to church to get into a better school. This will tend to favour higher-achieving, better-behaved pupils. Thus the faith school does well in terms of exam results, goes up the league tables and becomes more sought after….

If this changed, then far fewer parents would attend church to get the place (there would be no need) and so Church attendance would decline further. The CofE wouldn’t like this.

The intake of the CofE school would then be much closer to the nearby community schools and so it’s position in the league tables above them would fall. The Schools wouldn’t like this.

So, unless compelled, the Schools are unlikely to adopt this policy to a significant degree. And they are unlikely to be compelled by a Government that is setting up Academies as fast as it can – Academies that have even more control over their admissions policies than current faith schools.

A shame because the Bishop’s comments are quite sensible.

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