Fair Admissions Campaign reveals the 50 segregated schools most unrepresentative of their local areas

The fifty most socio-economically selective state secondary comprehensives in England have been revealed in new research today, published by the Fair Admissions Campaign. The new research ranks schools according to how unrepresentative they are of their local areas in the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM). The list is overwhelmingly dominated by religiously selective schools, exposing sharply the segregating effects of faith-based admissions criteria. The Campaign has called on these schools to urgently review their admissions policies, and for the Government to take more steps to curb such actions.

Following on from similar findings published last month, today’s research compares the figures for each school to those of its Middle Super Output Area (MSOA), a geographical area roughly equivalent in size to the intake of a secondary school. It compares schools’ populations to the pupils living in their MSOAs, as recorded in the National Pupil Database.

Of the 100 worst offending comprehensives on the basis of FSM, 69 have admissions criteria that are religiously selective – including 18 of the worst offending 20. Including grammar schools, 51 of the top 100 are religiously selective, or 11 of the top 20. For comparison, 16% of all secondary schools are religiously selective.

Examining the admissions criteria of the twenty worst offending schools on the basis of FSM, almost all of them are extremely complex, and a number seem very likely to breach the School Admissions Code, which all schools are required by law to follow. Prominent schools in the worst offending twenty comprehensives on FSM include the London Oratory School (which is ninth), where 6.6% of pupils require Free School Meals, compared to 38.7% in its local area. It now has to rewrite its admissions policy after the Schools Adjudicator ruled last month that its current criteria break the Code in ten different places. The sixteenth school on the list, The Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School and Music College, was also similarly ordered to rewrite its criteria after they were found to be too complex. The Campaign’s full analysis can be found below.

Click to read about the top 20 most unrepresentative state comprehensive schools in terms of Free School Meals

  1. Birmingham Ormiston Academy 14-19 is not a faith school. It opened two years ago and focuses on just creative, digital and performing arts, admitting and aiming to cater for pupils interested in this limited range of subject interests, after an aptitude test. It is likely that this has made it unrepresentative of its area. 58% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.
  2. St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, a Church of England school in Bristol has admissions criteria that allow it to select 93% of pupils on the basis of faith, requiring worship by both parent and child at least three times a month for three years. 51% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 8% in the school.
  3. The Blue Coat CofE School in Oldham has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils, requiring at least 45 worships by parent and child over four years. 47% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.
  4. Sacred Heart High School, a girls’ Catholic school in Hammersmith and Fulham, has admissions criteria to select 100% of its pupils and has twelve categories of Catholic. It requires baptism within six months, four years of mass attendance and it uses all Catholic primaries as feeders without naming specific schools (likely to be an Admissions Code breach – if you are to have feeders you have to specifically name them). The school is the girls’ counterpart of the boys’ London Oratory School. 46% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 6% in the school.
  5. Archbishop Blanch CofE VA High School, a girls’ school in Liverpool that has admissions criteria to select 93% of pupils in an extremely complex way; it requires weekly parental and child attendance at worship throughout the last four years. It also gives applicants more points for ‘Involvement of the family in Church life beyond simple attendance at weekly worship’. What this means appears to be undefined, but elsewhere there is talk of ‘e.g. certificate of reception into the church, baptism, communion and confirmation certificates. Other evidence could include altar server certificates, or letters of support from Sunday School or Children’s Liturgy etc.’ This is likely to break the Admissions Code. 51% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 13% in the school.
  6. Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School, which has admissions criteria which are 100% selective, is a Charedi Jewish girls’ school in Hackney, prioritises ‘Charedi Jewish girls who meet the Charedi criteria as prescribed by the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.’ This has a long definition including ‘All members of this community lead an extremely modest way of life dictated by the highest moral and ethical values… Charedi homes do not have TV or other inappropriate media, and parents will ensure that their children will not have access to the Internet and any other media which do not meet the stringent moral criteria of the Charedi community. Families will also dress at all times in accordance with the strictest standards of Tznius (modesty)’. There are no objective measures such as regular worship attendance, which is likely to be a breach of the Admissions Code. 38% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 2% in the school.
  7. St Aidan’s Catholic Academy which has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils, is a boys’ school in Sunderland, requiring applicants to be baptised. 45% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 10% in the school.
  8. St James’s Church of England High School, a 100% selective school in Bolton, gives points for parents and children attending worship but doesn’t say how often or frequent that worship must be – a likely breach of the Admissions Code. 39% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.
  9. London Oratory School, has admissions criteria to be 100% selective and is a boys’ school in Fulham, requires baptism within six months of birth and regular attendance at worship by parent and child for three years. It also has a ‘Catholic service criterion’, requiring two years of service to the Catholic Church, with activities including flower arranging. However, following on from a ruling by the Schools Adjudicator last month, it must now rewrite its criteria. 39% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.
  10. Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College in Coventry has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils on the basis of faith, requiring children to be baptised. 49% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 17% in the school.
  11. The King David High School, a Jewish school in Manchester, has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils and requires membership of a particular Synagogue. It also uses unnamed feeder schools which is likely to be a breach of the Admissions Code. 33% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 2% in the school.
  12. St James’ Catholic High School in Barnet selects 100% of pupils on the basis of faith. It requires baptism and weekly mass attendance in order to get a priests’ signature but fails to define how long or frequent such mass attendance must be. 44% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 12% in the school.
  13. Hull Trinity House School is the second of two schools in the top 20 with no religious character. It selects pupils using aptitude bands across four different geographic zones – the latter of these two facts possibly causing it to be so unrepresentative. 53% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 20% in the school.
  14. Lady Margaret School is a girls’ Church of England school in Hammersmith and Fulham and has admissions criteria to select 56% of pupils on the basis of faith. It is the third religious secondary school in its borough to appear on this list (with there being four religious secondaries in the borough in total). It requires fortnightly Church attendance for three years, and uses unnamed feeder schools – likely to be a breach of the Admissions Code. 40% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 10% in the school.
  15. St Bede’s Catholic College in Bristol has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils on the basis of faith. It requires ‘adherence to the Catholic faith’ without defining what this means, just requiring a priest’s signature – likely to be a breach of the Admissions Code. 34% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 6% in the school.
  16. The Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School and Music College has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils, requiring weekly Church attendance without saying how long for. The Schools Adjudicator has just ruled that the complexity of the school’s criteria breaks the Admissions Code. 36% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.
  17. Notre Dame High School, Norwich is a Catholic school and has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils. It uses unnamed feeder schools, likely to be a breach of the Admissions Code. 33% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 6% in the school.
  18. All Saints’ Catholic High School in Sheffield has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils on the basis of faith. In June it was found by the Schools Adjudicator to be in breach of the Admissions Code. 39% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 11% in the school.
  19. The Trinity Catholic School in Nottingham has admissions criteria to select 100% of pupils on the basis of faith, requiring baptism. 37% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 10% in the school.
  20. The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School is a boys’ school in Kensington and Chelsea that selects 100% of pupils on the basis of faith. It famously had a battle with Westminster Diocese in 2010 as a result of selecting based on parents’ service to the Catholic Church. It requires baptism and regular practice (but doesn’t say how often/for how long – potentially an Admissions Code breach). 34% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 7% in the school.

The worst performing Sikh school in the list is Guru Nanak Academy which is ranked no 28. There are Muslim schools at nos 34 (Preston Muslim Girls High School) and 37 (Tauheedul Islam Girls High School). All have admissions criteria to select100% of pupils on the basis of faith.

Looking at the best performing, no 20 from best is Fulham College Boys’ School, presumably taking all the pupils excluded from the faith schools of Hammersmith and Fulham. 23% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 50% in the school.

No 21 is Waterhead Academy in Oldham, which was deliberately created to bring together white and Asian pupils in one school. It replaced two segregated schools which were shut down. 4% of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared to 32% in the school.

Click to show a table of the full top 50

Note that the adjusted percentage is an attempt to compensate for the fact that the MSOA data also includes primary-age pupils. The below table differs slightly from the one published by The Telegraph in that it sorts based on this adjusted value instead of the raw MSOA percentage.

School Type of establishment Local authority

Religious designation

Gender %age of FSM eligible pupils in MSOA Adjusted %age School FSM %
Birmingham Ormiston Academy 14-19 Academy Sponsor Led Birmingham None

Mixed

57.79

52.03

6.74

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School Voluntary Aided School Bristol City of Church of England

Mixed

51.49

46.35

7.99

The Blue Coat CofE School Academy – Converter Mainstream Oldham Church of England

Mixed

47.45

42.71

6.75

Sacred Heart High School Voluntary Aided School Hammersmith and Fulham Roman Catholic

Girls

45.75

41.19

6.25

Archbishop Blanch CofE VA High School, A Technology College and Training School Voluntary Aided School Liverpool Church of England

Girls

50.80

45.73

12.79

Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School Voluntary Aided School Hackney Jewish

Girls

37.82

34.05

1.62

St Aidan’s Catholic School Voluntary Aided School Sunderland Roman Catholic

Boys

45.37

40.84

10.13

St James’s Church of England High School Voluntary Aided School Bolton Church of England

Mixed

39.46

35.52

7.04

The London Oratory School Academy – Converter Mainstream Hammersmith and Fulham Roman Catholic

Boys

38.73

34.86

6.60

Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College Voluntary Aided School Coventry Roman Catholic

Mixed

48.61

43.76

16.55

The King David High School Academy – Converter Mainstream Manchester Jewish

Mixed

32.55

29.30

2.15

St James’ Catholic High School Voluntary Aided School Barnet Roman Catholic

Mixed

43.78

39.41

12.38

Hull Trinity House School Voluntary Aided School Kingston upon Hull City of  None

Boys

52.93

47.65

20.82

Lady Margaret School Voluntary Aided School Hammersmith and Fulham Church of England

Girls

39.63

35.67

10.07

St Bede’s Catholic College Academy – Converter Mainstream Bristol City of Roman Catholic

Mixed

34.46

31.02

5.68

The Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School and Music College Academy – Converter Mainstream Coventry Church of England

Mixed

35.62

32.07

7.09

Notre Dame High School, Norwich Voluntary Aided School Norfolk Roman Catholic

Mixed

33.33

30.01

6.06

All Saints’ Catholic High School Voluntary Aided School Sheffield Roman Catholic

Mixed

38.73

34.87

11.02

The Trinity Catholic School Voluntary Aided School Nottingham Roman Catholic

Mixed

37.47

33.73

10.04

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School Voluntary Aided School Kensington and Chelsea Roman Catholic

Boys

33.82

30.44

7.14

The Belvedere Academy Academy Sponsor Led Liverpool None

Girls

38.93

35.05

12.31

Macmillan Academy Academy Sponsor Led Middlesbrough None

Mixed

47.49

42.75

20.08

Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Girls School Voluntary Aided School Tower Hamlets Roman Catholic

Girls

56.45

50.82

28.42

Trinity CofE High School Academy – Converter Mainstream Manchester Church of England

Mixed

50.46

45.43

24.14

St Ursula’s Convent School Voluntary Aided School Greenwich Roman Catholic

Girls

36.32

32.69

11.43

Manchester Mesivta School Voluntary Aided School Bury Jewish

Boys

24.85

22.37

2.17

Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Boys School Voluntary Aided School Tower Hamlets Roman Catholic

Boys

56.45

50.82

30.96

Guru Nanak Academy Academy – Converter Mainstream Hillingdon Sikh

Mixed

29.49

26.55

6.80

St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy Academy – Converter Mainstream Blackburn with Darwen Church of England

Mixed

29.30

26.37

6.68

The Camden School for Girls Voluntary Aided School Camden  None

Girls

44.26

39.84

20.45

Abbey Grange Church of England Academy Academy – Converter Mainstream Leeds Church of England

Mixed

33.23

29.92

10.58

St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School, Chelmsford Voluntary Aided School Essex Roman Catholic

Mixed

26.37

23.74

4.43

West Hill School Academy – Converter Mainstream Tameside  None

Boys

31.23

28.11

9.21

Preston Muslim Girls High School Voluntary Aided School Lancashire Muslim

Girls

31.68

28.52

9.63

St Michael’s Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Comprehensive School Voluntary Aided School Stockton-on-Tees Roman Catholic

Mixed

33.21

29.89

11.06

Wardle High School Foundation School Rochdale  None

Mixed

41.05

36.95

18.70

Tauheedul Islam Girls High School Voluntary Aided School Blackburn with Darwen Muslim

Girls

29.65

26.69

8.65

Dixons City Academy Academy Sponsor Led Bradford None

Mixed

33.66

30.30

12.35

Cardinal Hume Catholic School Voluntary Aided School Gateshead Roman Catholic

Mixed

37.44

33.70

16.09

The Grey Coat Hospital Voluntary Aided School Westminster Church of England

Girls

34.55

31.11

13.51

Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College Voluntary Aided School Staffordshire Roman Catholic

Mixed

27.53

24.78

7.22

Gumley House RC Convent School, FCJ Voluntary Aided School Hounslow Roman Catholic

Girls

29.14

26.23

8.76

St Joseph’s Catholic College (Bradford) Voluntary Aided School Bradford Roman Catholic

Girls

32.69

29.43

11.99

St Patrick’s RC High School and Arts College Voluntary Aided School Salford Roman Catholic

Mixed

34.83

31.36

13.93

The John Loughborough School Voluntary Aided School Haringey Seventh Day Adventist

Mixed

40.31

36.29

18.92

CTC Kingshurst Academy Academy Sponsor Led Solihull None

Mixed

33.75

30.38

13.07

Beverley High School Community School East Riding of Yorkshire None

Girls

24.75

22.28

5.52

Woodchurch High School Engineering College Foundation School Wirral  None

Mixed

44.84

40.36

23.71

Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College Voluntary Aided School Lancashire Roman Catholic

Mixed

28.65

25.79

9.22

St Cuthbert’s High School Voluntary Aided School Newcastle upon Tyne Roman Catholic

Boys

35.37

31.84

15.29

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, chair of the Accord Coalition, has written in today’s Telegraph about the findings. He commented, ‘It is astonishing that faith schools, whose remit should be to look after the needy and vulnerable, seem to be ignoring them; it suggests that an admissions policy based on faith selection has become a back door for socio-economic selection, and that is deeply troubling. It is time to abandon the ability to discriminate in this way and instead have a fair and inclusive selection policy for all schools.’

Professor Ted Cantle CBE of the iCoCo Foundation commented, ‘It is especially disappointing that such serious questions are being raised about the way in which schools that profess a religious ethos provide for their communities. As they receive public funds it is really up to them to constantly demonstrate that they are being fair and even handed and are following following the Admissions Code in both the letter and spirit intended. If full and public disclosures are not forthcoming to clearly demonstrate that all questions are being positively addressed, the Secretary of State should ask Ofsted to intervene.’

Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs at the British Humanist Association, commented, ‘The state schools in England that are most likely to exclude the poor are religious schools. These findings make clear that there are a number of schools, overwhelmingly many of which are faith schools, whose intakes are completely unrepresentative of their local areas. A quick glance at the faith schools’ admissions policies makes it apparent that all sorts of extreme engineering is going on, often in breach of the School Admissions Code. All these schools are institutions funded by the state to provide a utility to their local communities. That they have distorted this mission and become so unrepresentative is a disservice to those excluded and also those admitted. We urge the Government to remove state schools’ power to discriminate on religious grounds: it is bad for pupils and bad for our society. It creates religious and racial division, but it also creates sharp socio-economic division.’

Jeremy Rodell, spokesperson for the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, commented, ‘In Richmond we have seen some really clear-cut examples of faith-based discrimination leading directly to the social mix at one school being very different to the mix at its neighbours and in the local area. Of course, all parents want – and should demand – high quality schools for their children. But these are state schools which are supposed to provide good quality schooling for everyone in their local communities. Faith-based selection is inherently unfair because it means some parents have a wider choice of state school than others. And its use to enable back-door social selection is indefensible both on the grounds of community cohesion, and on ethical grounds, especially as many faith schools were founded to provide education for the under-privileged.’

Notes

For further comment please contact BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal on 07738 435 059, Accord Coalition Chair Jonathan Romain on 07770 722 893 or email info@fairadmissions.org.uk.

Read Jonathan Romain’s article in today’s The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10322520/Its-time-for-fair-selection-policies-for-all-schools.html

Visit the Fair Admissions Campaign’s website: http://fairadmissions.org.uk/

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 LecturersBritish 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 AssociationLiberal Youth, the Local Schools NetworkRichmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, the Runnymede Trust, the Socialist Educational Association, and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.