Saturday, 18 April 2009

Faith schools don't raise standards or increase choice - report

. The Guardian carries a report by the London School of Economics and Institute for Education which draws some interesting conclusions about faith schools; specifically, faith secondaries. It tracked 550,000 children in state secondaries in 2005, looking at their school type poverty indicators and exam results and will be presented to the Royal Economic Society annual conference next week.

The study rather reinforces the view that good exam results in faith schools are not actually down to their superiority but the fact that they select on other criteria; the study found that those attending faith schools had good test results at primary level and are from less disadvantaged backgrounds. Anne Vignoles, co-author of the study, said;

"If faith schools genuinely give parents a choice, what should happen with lots of faith schools there is more choice, competition with other schools and standards being driven-up. We didn't find that. Even in areas with high proportions of children in faith schools, there is certainly no evidence that standards are higher."

The report also deals a blow to government suggestions that some form of market should be introduced into education. This report is an effective counterblast to people who do insist that faith schools increase choice and are a motor of higher general standards.

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