Skip to main content

Article published 2nd June 2008

There are many schools within the UK for those with faith and their dominance of published league tables has led to an unprecedented rise in demand.

Like all schools they vary in quality but most enjoy good parental support - partly because they are less easy to get into than secular schools!

Faith schools control their own admissions and as such are in a better position to 'select by the back door'; choosing who they want and importantly who they don't want sitting at their desks.

Church of England schools

Most English faith schools are run by the Church of England, an organisation that seems to an outsider to be somewhat fuzzy in its beliefs and self-belief. As a result most 'C of E' schools don't hit you over the head with religion and will look favourably on applications for places from adherents of various other faiths (often quite loosely defined).

Roman Catholic schools

Tony Blair famously got his sons admitted to The London Oratory School, arguably London's most prestigious state RC school. 

Blair is a committed Catholic but is that enough to secure a place?

Roman Catholic or RC schools are the next most numerous group in the state sector.  Much more religious and exclusive than the general run of C of E schools;  many RC state schools will not, in practice, admit your child unless a priest certifies that you have attended mass regularly for 5 years; others set even higher hurdles. RC independent schools - even the most prestigious - are much more welcoming to the lapsed and to other faiths, though all require children to participate in the religious life of the school.
In some areas, the 'faith' school is seen as the only good state option.

Westminster Cathedral Choir School London - an independent prep school for 8-13 year olds, takes boarders.

The head dismissed any 'misconception that chorister boys are whey-faced and insipid' – they need to be 'robust, fit, fun-loving and go-getting'.

Other faiths

A range of other faiths run schools - independent and state - Jewish, Muslim, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, Quaker, Seventh Day Adventist, Sikh and the United Reformed Church, plus several others with religious or quasi-religious associations. There are also a few schools that are sponsored by more than one denomination.

The Good Schools Guide (GSG) on-line allows you to Find Schools  by religion and reviews many of the best of the faith schools in both the independent and state sectors.


Related articles

  • Special educational needs

    Some special needs are easy to spot, others are only determined once a child has experienced considerable difficulties, frustrations or social and emotional problems.  Over the years, diagnosis of and provision for SEN have improved, but both can still be a minefield. Identifying different kinds of special educational needs Few children fit a condition perfectly – if they do, we tend to say they are a ‘classic’ case. Most will not be straightforward: perhaps a dyslexic with dyspraxia and a touch of ADD, or a child with ASD who also has Down’s syndrome. Just as special needs are hard to…

  • The Good Schools Guide online subscription

    Find the best school for your child. One month subscription - £0.49 per day Three month subscription - £0.41 per day Six month subscription - £0.33 per day One year subscription - £0.29 per day Register for instant access to: ☑ Search for more than 30,000 schools in our parent friendly interactive directory. ☑ Create and save lists of schools via My Schools. ☑ Use our comparison grid to get an exam results overview of schools you are interested in. ☑ Find comprehensive advice on state and independent schools, tutors and special needs. ☑ Receive our monthly newsletter. For further…

  • Finding a state grammar school

    Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious. How to find a state grammar school Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…

  • Schools for children with performing arts talents

    As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.

  • Education Consultants

    The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants advise parents on everything to do with children and their education  Our service is a personal one-to-one service. You tell us what you want and we tell you how we can help. And then we do! Our education consultants are our most experienced writers. They have visited countless schools. All are parents. You will have your own personal advisor who has the benefit of the combined experience and expertise of the entire team to draw on. All our consultants work as hard for the children of their clients as they do for their own.…

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews, data and catchment:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory.
 School exam results by subject and performance GCSE, A level or equivalent.
 Which schools pupils come from and go onto.
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools.
Comprehensive catchment maps for English state schools by year of entry.
School data comparison by results, relative success and popularity.
 Independent tutor company reviews.

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Is your child a future entrepreneur?


The fifth issue of Chalk & Chat, The Good Schools Guide’s exciting digital magazine, is out now.