An interesting survey from the Fair Admissions people on the levels of relative poverty in Faith and non-Faith schools. Turns out that, on average, pupils at religiously-selecting schools are more affluent than those at non-selective schools. Fair Admissions concludes that this means middle-class people are gaming the system – lying about their faith; attending church for a nominal period of time; becoming ordained – to get their children into faith schools. Fair Admissions say this is clearly unfair and, on a first view of their survey, it would appear they are right.
Middle-class people are iron filings to the magnet of a better life for their kids. After years of getting themselves into better desks in the office, nudging up the hierarchy at the Women’s institute or being conveniently placed to have a word with the Golf Club captain, they know how to play the game. They’ve even been known to move house just to get into the catchment for their local Waitrose.
Give the Middle Classes any “edge” and they’ll take it. Obviously this situation is unfair, and must be remedied.
Church schools obviously attract middle-class parents because they are successful. I suspect they are successful because they have a strong moral ethos, a vision of better things, good disciplinary standards, and an ability to engage with the “soft” things of life (aspirations, hopes, fears) as well as the grind of exam-passing. They are also, through belief in a consistent, faithful God, in a good place to encourage good scientists.
There’s nothing for it. We must act now to end the injustice that Fair Admissions has highlighted. We must let the Church of England run all English schools.