Faith schools are the most ethnically segregated schools in England’s education system, according to new research published today
The research, by the British Humanist Association, shows that the most segregated are likely to be those set up by minority religious groups. For instance, out of the five Sikh state schools for which data is available, four have no pupils at all that are classified as “white British” and, out of four Hindi schools, two have no “white British pupils”.
In addition, eight of the 15 Muslim schools set up around the country fall into the same category - while 29 of the 44 Jewish schools have no pupils classified as “Asian”.
That compares, says the BHA, with only 18 of the 13,121 schools with no religious character having no “white British” pupils.
Professor Ted Cantle, founder of the Institute of Community Cohesion and author of a report into race riots in the UK in 2001, said that his report had identified segregated church schools as a cause of the problem. Young people were living “parallel lives”, he added.
“After this some changes did happen - but now we are going backwards with the increasing balkanisation of children in schools,” he added. “Exclusion of children from schools on the basis of faith or ethnicity is now becoming more and more prevalent.”
The Government insists with new faith schools set up under the free schools programme that half the intake must be open to pupils not of the faith of the school. Minority religious groups have said it may take time before non-followers of their religion have the confidence to apply for places.