Last Friday in the Parliamentary system the Conservative MP for Rother Valley, Alexander Stafford wrote out five questions which he sent over to the Department for Education. The person who responded to all of these five questions was Nick Gibb who is the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. Of course the Secretary of State for Education is actually the MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan but it is very rare for senior Ministers to answer questions. However one can assume that the text is something that would be acceptable for both of these MPs. Here are the questions and the answer and the theme is very interesting. It will also be very interesting to find out if this answer was appropriate?
Alexander Stafford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education:
what assessment she has made of the potential role of faith schools in levelling up.
what assessment she has made of the potential role of catholic schools in levelling up.
what recent discussions she has had with (a) faith schools, (b) faith leaders and (c) Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of removing the 50 per cent rule.
what assessment she has made of the potential merits of faith-based education.
how many catholic schools there are in (a) Rother Valley constituency, (b) London and (c) England.
The Department supports schools with a religious character. They add to the diversity of the school system, they are popular with parents both with and without a faith, and they typically deliver high standards of education for their pupils. They also have an important role to play in supporting levelling up, by providing high quality school places throughout the country.
The Department recognises that some groups, including the Catholic Church, feel unable to participate in the free schools programme because of the 50% cap on faith admissions.
The Department is committed to ensuring that all providers of schools with a religious character remain able to open new schools once all schools are in academy trusts and, as such, will continue to keep the 50% cap under review. The Department regularly discusses the matter with groups who provide schools with a religious character, including the Catholic Church.
There are two mainstream Catholic schools in the Rother Valley Constituency, 296 in London and 1,955 in England.