Thursday, 3 April 2008

Telegraph: Faith schools 'face witch-hunt over admissions'

Ministers have been accused of a "witch-hunt" after naming dozens of faith schools which they said were illegally selecting the best pupils.

Critics said the "outrageous" attack on 87 Anglican, Catholic and Jewish schools risked undermining their religious ethos.

The schools were reprimanded for using banned admissions policies to weed out children from poor homes, including charging parents up-front fees for ostensibly free state education.

One Anglican and five Jewish schools were identified as asking for "voluntary" contributions as a condition of entry. One Jewish primary wanted almost £2,700 a year for extra security and Jewish studies classes, which are not funded by the taxpayer.

Others were asking parents for marriage certificates and failing to give priority to children in social services care.

Critics accused Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, of attempting to divert attention from the fact that 100,000 parents failed to get children into their first choice school this year. Read more
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