Trust the schools, not the person in Whitehall – by Edward Leigh MP

Two thirds of the primaries at the top of recent league tables were Anglican, Catholic or Jewish. Faith schools outperform secular schools so much that atheists are happy to submit their children to the font.

At a reception in Parliament earlier this month Education Secretary Ed Balls praised Catholic schools, saying they were “leading the way” in many areas, including – contrary to the attacks often made by their opponents – encouraging community cohesion.

Indeed, that is true of any faith school that is doing its job.

So what are we to make of the points raised in a report last Monday by the Centre for Policy Studies which reminds us that the Government Mr Balls represents has banned these schools from interviewing families? There is no hard evidence that interviews are a tool for keeping out poorer children.

And what about the further rule imposed by Labour that schools can no longer ask for proof of the employment, educational background or marital status of parents?

If schools believe such information is useful, I would rather trust them than the person in an increasingly micro-managing Whitehall.

Yet Minister Jim Knight says that faith-based schools ‘are assured a secure future in the state system under this Government’.

One can only say that actions speak louder than words.

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