Faith schools were accused yesterday of "skewing" admissions policies in favour of children from middle-class families – by giving places to those whose families attend bell-ringing classes and church coffee mornings.
In his annual report, Dr Ian Craig, the Schools Adjudicator, warned such practices may be in breach of the Government's admissions code, which only allows the schools to favour pupils who practice their chosen faith.
He argued that ringing a bell or attending a coffee morning did not prove a person was any more religious. "You might have in a middle-class area a lot of women who aren't going to work who might be able to go in and clean the church. It may well be in a more working-class area there isn't that ability."
Dr Craig added that there had been other similar issues where white middle-class families had benefited, and immigrant children living in the community had not.
Dr Craig said some children had been given extra admissions points if they were baptised within three months of their birth, discriminating against Eastern European families who traditionally baptise children a year after birth.