Fareham MP pushes for lift of religion ratio at Catholic schools

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AN MP has urged the government to change the way it deals with Catholic schools.

Tory MP for Fareham Mark Hoban said the Catholic Church is reluctant to invest in new free schools and academies because they would have to accept a large proportion of children from different backgrounds.

Under the rules, new faith-based free schools or academies must admit at least 50 per cent of their children from different religious backgrounds if they are over-subscribed. He said there were already 243 Catholic academies but lifting the cap would encourage more.

During a debate at Westminster Hall, Mr Hoban said senior figures within the church felt it was too easy for over-subscribed schools to lose their religious focus because half the children they admit cannot be Catholics.

Mr Hoban urged the government to lift the cap.

He said: ‘The faith-based admissions cap is a disincentive to Catholic Church and separate faith schools as it dilutes their ethos.

‘We would have a richer and more diverse set of free schools and academies if the cap was removed.

‘It would give more parents the chance to give their children the education and the values that they support.’