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Thousands keep the faith

There are more than 25,000 state-funded schools in England and Wales, almost 7,000 of which are affiliated to a particular faith.

The large majority are linked to the Anglican and Catholic churches, while a relatively small number belong to other Christian faiths and the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religions.

Most faith schools are voluntary aided, which gives the school's governing body - rather than the local council - control over the admissions criteria and the employment of staff.

A charitable foundation normally owns a voluntary-aided school's land and facilities but, in exchange for extra powers over admissions and other issues, the governing body must contribute towards the capital costs of running the school.

The Government requires faith schools to pay 10 per cent towards all construction costs, although the charge has been waived in a one-off deal for work linked to the Building Schools for the Future project.

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