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Faith schools

The Prime Minister has made clear that the Government is dedicated to making Britain a fairer society where success is based on merit not privilege, and that education lies at the heart of that mission.

In September 2016 a consultation was launched asking for views on a range of proposals aimed at creating an education system that extends opportunity for everyone, not just the privileged few. It also considered the role of faith schools and the possibility of abolishing the 50 per cent admissions cap. This consultation closed late last year and the contributions are being read and listened to. I look forward to reading the formal response once it is published in due course.

The reforms to the education system since 2010 have transformed education in this country. I am encouraged that there are now more than 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools. Every child should have the best possible start in life. The stark reality, however, is that demand for school places only continues to grow, and too many children in this country still do not have access to a good school. I know that this will continue to be a top priority for the Department for Education over this Parliament.

Schools play a vital role in promoting integration and promoting an understanding of different faiths and communities. Faith schools have a strong record of high pupil attainment and are often very popular with parents. All schools are expected to be inclusive and fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. I know the Department for Education will continue to work closely with faith schools to promote and support integration and will outline its plans shortly.

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