The CESEW has welcomed the Government’s emphasis of its support for schools with a religious character. This has come in a recent letter to the CESEW Chief Executive as well as in a recent debate in the House of Lords.
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, wrote, in a letter thanking the Chief Executive of CESEW for its recent Annual Census Digest,
"The document highlights the significant contribution that Catholic schools and colleges make to the education system and I was particularly interested to read that on average Catholic schools were slightly more mixed ethnically than other schools and in terms of inclusivity, are on a par with other schools."
This praise for our schools was followed by comments by Baroness Royall, the Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords, in the House of Lords debate on the Equalities Bill on 15 December. She said,
"We believe that they provide a spiritual ethos as well as a strong moral education and it is this ethos which is so important to parents. In order to maintain their religious character, it is common sense that they must be able to appoint teachers of the same faith. When we are talking about religion, there are occasions where to be of a certain belief is demonstrably of the utmost importance to a particular role or post. When we look at faith schools and, in particular, voluntary aided faith schools, the Government feel that the question of religion is potentially relevant to any members of the teaching staff because all teachers at these schools may be called on to play an active role in maintaining that strong religious ethos."
The Government’s support came despite attempts by anti-faith school campaigners to undermine the existing legal protections for schools with a religious character through proposing amendments to the Equalities Bill.
Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of CESEW, said, "I am pleased to hear the Government’s reiteration of its support for schools with a religious character. Our schools more than deserve this recognition. The Government have noted the good work done in our schools and the fact that this results from their particular ethos, which is maintained and promoted through the distinctive leadership of the school."