The Fair Admissions Campaign is disappointed to hear from the British Humanist Association that an inconsequential mistake means that last year’s comprehensive decision by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator against the London Oratory School is to be quashed and re-done.
Responding to the news, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Chair of the Accord Coalition for inclusive education, commented, ‘Many people will be puzzled that a high-profile school which asserts it is based on religious principles but was found guilty of several counts of discrimination by the Schools Adjudicator is now being excused on a technicality when the substantial problem still remains. It sends a very poor message to parents and pupils about the importance of fairness and equality. It also poses a major question about internal flaws to those faith schools who feel that they cannot maintain their religious ethos without discriminating against others.’
Jeremy Rodell, Chair of the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, commented, ‘The London Oratory’s failure to follow the Admissions Code unfairly discriminates against some Catholic parents. But addressing it should not blind us to the far greater unfairness of this high quality state-funded school effectively excluding 90% of London’s children simply because their parents are not Catholics.’
BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It is immensely frustrating that this decision is to be scrapped on what can only be described as an inconsequential technicality. We will continue to press this matter and seek a near-identical ruling from the schools adjudicator, as it is wrong that a school can have such an admissions policy when the consequence is so much socio-economic manipulation of its intake. 7% of pupils at the school are eligible for free school meals, compared to 36% locally.’
For further information or comment please contact Paul Pettinger on 020 7324 3071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read details of the case on the BHA website: https://humanism.org.uk/2014/01/24/inconsequential-technicality-leads-quashing-schools-adjudicator-decision-london-oratory/
The Fair Admissions Campaign wants all state-funded schools in England and Wales to be open equally to all children, without regard to religion or belief. The Campaign is supported by a wide coalition of individuals and national and local organisations. We hold diverse views on whether or not the state should fund faith schools. But we all believe that faith-based discrimination in access to schools that are funded by the taxpayer is wrong in principle and a cause of religious, ethnic, and socio-economic segregation, all of which are harmful to community cohesion. It is time it stopped.
Supporters of the campaign include the Accord Coalition, the British Humanist Association, Professor Ted Cantle and the iCoCo Foundation, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, the Campaign for State Education, the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, the Christian think tank Ekklesia, the Hindu Academy, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrat Education Association, Liberal Youth, the Local Schools Network, Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, the Runnymede Trust, the Socialist Educational Association, and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.