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Statement by Archbishop Vincent Nichols on Education and Inspection Bill

26/10/2006

I welcome the decision by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills not to table an amendment to the Education and Inspection Bill concerning the planning of future faith schools.

I am grateful to Mr Alan Johnson for the attention he and his colleagues gave to the concerns of the Catholic community and for the discussions I held with him yesterday, 25 October.

In those discussions we came to a broad agreement about how future Catholic schools could be planned in ways that ensure that they always meet the needs of Catholic parents. This is of prime importance to Catholics and accepted by the Secretary of State. In addition further places can be planned for wider access to such new schools through consultation.

I am confident that these areas of agreement provide a basis for further discussion. I agree with Mr Johnson’s decision that this matter does not require legislation.

I thank the very many members of the Catholic community, to schools, parents and others, who took the trouble of writing to their Member of Parliament to make known their views on the proposed amendment. I am grateful to those Members of both Houses of Parliament for the action they have taken in this regard.