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Saving faith or saving the best for believers?

The comments made by the Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, about church schools were revealing.

He said that if the church opened its schools to the community at large, reserving at most 10 per cent of places for practising Anglicans: "We may not get the startling results that some church schools do because of getting some very able children, but we will make a difference to people's lives." Is this not a tacit admission that the impressive results achieved by some church schools are entirely the result of strict selection and not the "Christian ethos" of the school, which is what the Church insists is the explanation?

The Church knows as well as the rest of us that, if it removes its selection criteria, its schools will cease to be "faith schools" in any meaningful sense and the taxpayer-funded resources will have to be shared among us all.

Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society.

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