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Any Answers
YouGov for Observer
Response to Green Paper
NOP for Bella
National Centre for Social Research - Scotland
NFO System 3 - Scotland


Polls and public opinion about faith schools

Radio 4, Any Questions, February 2002

95% of the listeners who called in after a broadcast in which Gwyneth Dunwoody MP expressed opposition to faith schools agreed that faith schools were divisive (according to the programme editor).

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Voters oppose expansion of faith schools

Nearly twice as many people oppose the Government's plan to expand faith schooling as support it, a MORI poll conducted exclusively for the TES reveals.

More than two in five are against increasing the number of state-funded religious schools, the survey of nearly 200 people found.

Only a quarter of the adults interviewed throughout Great Britain earlier this month favour expansion. Just 5% strongly supported the plan…

Among those who opposed faith schools, the main reasons were the belief that religion should not be part of education (34%) and that faith schools can increase divisions in the community.

Four out of five of the adults polled felt that state-funded religious schools must be open to pupils of other faiths and none.

[Times Education Supplement, 30/11/01]

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80% are against new faith schools, Observer, 11/11/01

The public is deeply sceptical about Government plans for an increase in the number of religious schools, a poll for The Observer reveals. Asked whether they supported the extension of single faith schools - to include religions such as Islam and Judaism - 80% said they did not. The YouGov/Observer poll of nearly 6000 people found that only 11% backed the move…

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DfES analysis, August 2001, of responses to Green Paper Schools: Building on Success

. . . Some did not support the proposed increase in the number of faith schools. They thought that the government should promote equality of opportunity and that these proposals would reinforce and extend the divisions within the existing education system.

[There was strong support for most of the proposals in the Green Paper, with 79% supporting or strongly supporting, 18% supporting some but not all, and 3% not supporting any of the proposals. But on the section including faith schools (and other specialisation proposals) the figures were 49%, 36% and 15%].

[Source: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/sor/sorsections.cfm?CONID=53&SORSECNUMB]

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Margaret Tulloch, from the Campaign for State Education, said "They really should take this [response] seriously; it's noticeable this is so different from the support for everything else." A spokeswoman from the Department for Education and Skill said: "We are looking at the concerns. The forthcoming White Paper will set out detailed plans for taking forward our policy." [Times Education Supplement, 17/8/01]

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Survey by NOP Solutions:

— 79 per cent say separating children according to religious belief is as wrong as separating them according to colour or accent.
— 72 per cent believe that children should never be excluded just because they're of a different faith, or of no faith at all.
— 55 per cent say single-faith schools create a divided society.
— 37 per cent say the proper place to teach religion is in Sunday School.
— 8 per cent of parents who have sent their child to a religious school admit they attended church just so they could get them in.

[Bella magazine, June 2000 ]


Scots against separate Catholic schools

MEMBERS of the Roman Catholic Church last night reacted angrily to the results of a survey which claimed four out of five Scottish taxpayers were opposed to the idea of segregated Catholic schools.

The poll, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, has shocked many of Scotland’s educationists and Church leaders. It showed a rise of 6 per cent to 81 per cent from a decade ago, when three quarters of those polled wanted the schools abolished.

[The Scotsman, 4/3/02]

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Scottish poll majority backs the abolition of Catholic schools,

ALMOST half of Scots, including nearing a third of Roman Catholics, believe that state-funded Catholic schools in Scotland should be abolished.

A poll by NFO System Three for The Herald reveals that 48% of Scots are in favour of the abolition of denominational schools, and shows that almost as many, 42%, believe they should be retained. The results of the poll, the first of its kind since Jack McConnell, the first minister, announced a strategy to tackle sectarianism last month [December 2002], are likely to fuel the debate on the issue of the separate system of Catholic education in Scotland which has been accused of fostering religious bigotry.

In what is probably the most comprehensive poll on the issue, a surprisingly large proportion of the Catholics questioned, 29%, said they were in favour of abolishing denominational schools, with 67% believing that they should be retained. Among the non-Catholics involved in the survey, 53% said they believed Catholic schools should be abolished and 37% said they should be retained.

The poll of 1030 people produced a revealing breakdown of people's views according to their age, gender and socio-economic category. In general many older people were more likely to support abolition of Catholic schools while younger people backed their retention. The age category which most favoured abolition was 55-64, where 57% believed Catholic schools should be scrapped, compared with 45% of 35 of 44-year-olds and only 39% of 18-24 year-olds. Those who most favoured the retention of Catholic schools were in the 18 to 24 age group, where 50% backed them, while the age category which least favoured retention was 55 to 64 where just 35% supported them.

A total of 55% of men believed Catholic schools should be abolished while 37% said they should be retained. This compared with 42% of women favouring abolition and 48% retention.

A total of 49% of participants in the top AB socio-economic category favoured abolition while 40% supported retention. The level of support for Catholic schools dropped slightly in the C1 category where 51% backed abolition and 39% retention but increased in the lower C2 category where 45% favoured abolition and 46% retention.

[The Herald (Glasgow), 13/1/03 ]

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Updated 23/5/03