The chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael MP, has reiterated his support for Church schools.
Mr Carmichael confirmed his support for faith-based education at a fringe event organised by the Catholic Education Service (CES) in conjunction with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at this year’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
The panel also included IEA director, Professor Philip Booth, Schools Week editor Laura McInerney, Daily Telegraph journalist Dr Tim Stanley and CES director Paul Barber.
The panel was unanimous in its support for the continued state funding of Church schools, with many citing the fact that Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in England and take higher than the national average of children from the poorest backgrounds.
During the discussion around the subject ‘should the state fund faith schools?’ Mr Carmichael commented on the important role Church schools play in providing parental choice in education.
He said: “Church schools play a big and important role in our wide range of schools.”
Mr Carmichael went on to stress the importance of strong leadership and governance in these schools, especially at the hands of parent and foundation governors.
He added: “It is necessary for Catholics, as well as members of other religions, to understand what they need to cultivate in schools is a culture of strong leadership and governance, and Ofsted has every right to inspect schools on this.”
CES Director, Paul Barber commented: “Our event at this year’s Conservative Party Conference was a great chance for us to promote the fantastic work Catholic schools do and I warmly welcome Mr Carmichael’s comments.
“The panel discussion was really interesting and I’d like to thank all our key speakers for their robust defence of Church schools. I would also like to thank the IEA for co-hosting this event with us.”