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Community Relations: Religion

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the answer of 5 November 2009, Official Report, column 1120W, on “Community Relations: Faith Schools”, if he will assess the effect on community cohesion of faith schools; and if he will make a statement. (302654)

The Department does not currently hold data or have any mechanisms in place to assess the effect of faith schools on levels of cohesion in particular areas.

All maintained schools in England have had a duty to promote community cohesion since September 2007. This has been inspected by Ofsted since September 2008. Data are therefore available on Ofsted’s judgment of how schools are performing in fulfilling that duty and many faith schools are included in those receiving good or outstanding. The judgment relates to the contribution an individual school is making given its local context. Schools are not held accountable for the level of cohesion in a local area which will be influenced by a large number of factors.

As part of the Department’s work to support schools in meeting their duty to promote community cohesion, the Department’s officials have commissioned Ipsos/Mori to assess the impact of the community cohesion duty on different types of maintained schools which includes faith schools. The findings from the study will be published in autumn 2010.