16 May 2018, The Tablet

Harsh new rules in the classroom: the cap on faith-based admissions

by Mike Craven

Damian Hinds’ U-turn over the scrapping of the cap leaves the cause of Catholic education at a crossroads.

Harsh new rules in the classroom: the cap on faith-based admissions

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, left, and Damian Hinds.
Photo: PA

 

What on earth went wrong? We had a government firmly committed to removing the 50 per cent cap on faith-based admissions to new free schools; a Conservative Party whose manifesto included this as a firm policy, citing the discrimination against the Catholic Church as its reason; a newly appointed Catholic secretary of state for education on record supporting the scrapping of the cap; an unusually well-organised campaign, encouraging Catholic lay people to lobby their MPs to back the removal of the cap. And yet it is difficult to disagree with Archbishop Malcolm McMahon’s description of the announcement last week, that the cap would be staying, as a U-turn. In other words, it was a defeat for the Church.

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