Church of England schools have a much more socially-privileged pupil intake than either local authority or Roman Catholic schools, government statistics have confirmed. Schools minister Stephen Timms said that only 12.2 per cent of pupils in CofE primaries were entitled to free meals in January 2000. The equivalent figures for Roman Catholic and local authority primaries are 17.2 per cent and 20.2 per cent.
An even smaller proportion of CofE secondary pupils - 11.8 per cent - qualified for free meals while the figures for Catholic and LEA secondaries were almost identical (16.5 and 16.8 per cent). However, the state-funded schools with the most privileged intakes are "other religious schools" run by Methodist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh organisations. Only 10.2 per cent of primary pupils and 7.1 per cent of secondary pupils qualify for free meals. Mr Timms provided the statistics in reply to Labour MP Frank Dobson.