Two thirds of the 250 primaries in England achieving "perfect" test results were Church of England, Roman Catholic or Jewish schools. Despite making up just a third of schools nationally, faith schools increased their hold on the top places from 44 per cent two years ago to 66 per cent in 2007. Last night, they hailed the results as a testament to good teaching and discipline.Thus reports today's Telegraph. It goes on to note that critics claim the schools do so well by selecting talented, middle-class pupils, often at the expense of poor children living nearby. However, as David Jesson, Economics professor at York University, comments in the paper, studies have proven that this is not the case: "In a recent study of London secondary schools, it was shown that mainstream faith schools had socio-economic and ability profiles almost identical with that of the society they served - and still helped their pupils gain substantially better results at GCSE than their secular counterparts." The question, as Jesson points out, is: Why?
Jan Ainsworth, the Church of England's chief education officer suggests the schools' "Christian character helps embed strong discipline, a caring attitude, and a sense of purpose." Not so many years ago, that might have seemed like stating the obvious, but with the PC brigade being what it is, I suppose such things cannot be taken for granted any longer.