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A faith academy is an academy with a faith designation order. Faith academies must provide religious education to all pupils at the academy in accordance with the tenets of the academy’s faith as set by its faith body.
Most such academies will teach an awareness of the tenets of other faiths as part of their RE curricula. Those without a denominational designation will normally follow the locally agreed ‘LA’ syllabus. Such syllabi must reflect ‘that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, broadly Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’. Faith academies may also apply a faith qualification in appointing their teachers and give priority to children of their faith in their admissions arrangements
All academies’ admissions arrangements are required, through their funding agreements, to be compliant with the School Admissions Code and admissions law.
As with maintained schools, this allows such schools to give priority to faith applicants but does not allow them to refuse ‘non faith’ applicants if they are under subscribed.
Entirely new academies, i.e. Free Schools that do not replace predecessor schools are required to go further. They will be required to admit 50 per cent of their pupils without reference to faith. This will ensure that such schools give priority to all local children.
Maintained faith schools that choose to convert to become an academy will retain their religious character and their faith based freedoms
As of November 2011 there are 218 Faith Academies all of which have a Christian religious character except seven, one which has a Sikh religious character, one which has a Muslim religious character and the other five are Jewish.
Of the 24 Free Schools opened in September 2011, 7 have a faith domination; which consists of:
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 allows schools which have been registered independent for at least two years to publish proposals to join the maintained sector. These are decided locally without first needing to apply to the Secretary of State for permission to publish proposals outside a competition.
Independent faith schools can also enter the maintained sector as Free Schools. They must be willing and able to comply with the requirements on all maintained schools and have access to an appropriate site and any necessary capital funding.
In the independent sector there are around 2400 independent schools providing education for approximately 570,000 pupils.
Currently there are 1010 independent faith schools educating approximately 305,776 pupils.
Of those 1010 schools, 821 have a Christian ethos or are inter-denominational and the remaining 189 schools comprise:
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Information about the 2013 to 2014 Sponsor Capacity Fund.