Bishop Alan Hopes, said: “We are extremely disappointed to hear that the Government has decided not to stand by its election pledge to remove the 50% cap on faith admissions to new faith schools. The cap has never achieved what it was set out to do, namely to increase diversity in faith schools. Instead it has served as a very effective barrier to building new Catholic schools, which are some of the most successful and popular schools in the country. They are also more ethnically and socially diverse than non-Catholic schools, as indicated by recent census data on Catholic schools. This shows that in Catholic schools, more than 39% of pupils are not White British, compared to just 31% in non-Catholic schools.
“In addition, East Anglia has some of the severest shortages of Catholic school places in the country and has also been identified, according to the Governments own data, as needing more school places both now and increasingly over the next five years. We sincerely hope that a way forward can quickly be found to meet, not only the demand for Catholic school places, but also the need for more school places generally in East Anglia.”
The Diocese of East Anglia has been working on plans to open up to eight new Catholic schools across the region to meet demand for places.
Assistant director of education, Helen Bates, spoke to Radio Norfolk about the announcement and how its future plans will be affected. Start listening at 1.10.24 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0659jld'