Posted: Mon, 10 Dec 2018
Almost three in ten families in England live in areas where most or all of the local primary schools are faith-based, National Secular Society research has revealed.
The NSS's report The Choice Delusion, published on Saturday and featured exclusively in The Sunday Times, highlights a severe lack of reasonably accessible religiously-neutral schools for those that want them.
The report reveals:
- Between 111,000 and 136,000 applicant families lived in areas where the availability of secular schools was highly restricted in September 2018.
- A further 45,000 to 60,000 lived in areas where it was extremely restricted.
- More than one in five families who missed out on their first choice of a non-faith primary school were assigned a faith school.
- This includes 1,398 families who had made all their preferences (typically five) for a non-faith school.
- Families in rural areas were most affected by the restrictions, as 53% of all rural primary schools are faith based.
- The analysis found high or extreme restrictions on secular schooling in 43.4% of rural areas.