Lost: One ConservativeHome columnist, last seen on these pages on June 14th.

Appearance: Thoughtful mien, Archimandrite-type beard, Aston Villa scarf.

Reward: Please e-mail Lord Ashcroft with your opening offer via the ConHome contact details.


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On faith schools

“The Government should abolish its admissions rule for faith-designated free schools – which requires a school, when it is over-subscribed, to limit the number of pupils it accepts on the basis of faith to 50 per cent – and replace it with a more effective approach. The existing rule fails according to its own objective: it does little to increase the diversity of Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools, because for now at least they are unlikely to appeal to parents of other faiths. But the rule is effectively discriminatory for Roman Catholics: it prevents them from opening new free schools because it is almost certainly against canon law for a Catholic Bishop to set up a school that turned away Catholic pupils on the basis of their Catholicism. Given that there is growing demand for Roman Catholic schools, which are more likely to be ethnically diverse than other schools, more likely to be in poor areas, more likely to be rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, and more likely to provide what parents want, the rule should be replaced by a legal duty on faith schools to ensure that their pupils mix – perhaps through sport, performing arts, or school visits – with children of other backgrounds.” – January 26th

ConHome summary: The laws that govern faith schools discriminate against Catholics.