Catholics are being asked to show their concern about the future of Catholic education by petitioning the Education Secretary to ask for the Government to fulfil its manifesto promise to remove the cap which currently limits the number of Catholic students to be admitted to some new Catholic schools to 50% of total admissions.
The cap was placed by the Coalition Government in 2010 on faith admissions in new schools, which has meant that only 50% of places could be allocated to pupils on the grounds of their faith if the school was oversubscribed. This means that many Catholic pupils would be denied a place. By forcing Catholic schools to turn away Catholic school children on the basis of their faith, the very principle of a Catholic parent’s right to choose a Catholic education is under threat.
In a letter to priests of the diocese, Bishop John Wilson explains: 'The Government has acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and it is vital that the Catholic community makes its voice heard on this issue.'
He pointed out that in 2016 'the Prime Minister reiterated her belief that the cap should be removed, and the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto promised to do so. However, the Secretary of State for Education is now reviewing this decision and there is no guarantee this promise will be kept. If the cap is not withdrawn, it will remove the right of parents to give their children a Catholic education and also remove the right of children to receive a Catholic education.'
Catholics are therefore asked to petition the Secretary of State about this 'deeply concerning and important issue to the Catholic community'.
The petition can be found on the Bishops' Conference website: http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap