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Catholic schools record rise in pupils from ethnic minorities

Children from New Hall school in Essex at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral (Photo: Mazur/

More children from ethnic minorities attend Catholic schools than in the national average of schools, according to new figures from the Catholic Education Service (CES).

In its annual census of Catholic schools and colleges in England and Wales the CES revealed that Catholic schools continue to serve more diverse communities and there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils from ethnic minorities. Over a third (36 per cent) of pupils in Catholic primary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds, against 30 per cent nationally, while 31 per cent of pupils in Catholic secondary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds, against 25 per cent nationally.

The proportion of pupils from deprived areas is also higher than the national average: 18 per cent of pupils at Catholic secondary schools (12 per cent nationally). In primary schools the proportion has increased significantly, from 18 per cent in the 2013 survey to 19 per cent this year, while the national proportion has reduced from 14 per cent to 10 per cent.

Paul Barber, director of CES, said: “It is a testimony to the hard work of all involved that this year’s census had a 100 per cent return rate. This means that our data is much more reliable than many other sources of national data and provides a clear indication of the important role that Catholic schools play in the education sector.

“As the largest provider of secondary schools and the second largest provider of primary schools, we will continue to work to raise education standards and provide an inclusive education for all,” he said.

The survey confirms a report from the think-tank Theos last year that generally there is no evidence to support claims that faith schools promote racial or social division.