1,600 NHS bosses earn more than PM: Big pay rises handed out as front-line staff face axe
At least 1,600 NHS chief executives and managers are paid more than the Prime Minister, according to figures published today. Average salaries for chief executives have soared by five per cent in the last year, nearly twice the pay rise given to nurses, a report says.
The increases have been handed out despite the fact that thousands of doctors, nurses and midwives’ posts face the axe to save the NHS billions of pounds.
The figures show the average pay for a hospital chief executive is now £158,800 a year, up from £150,000 last year. David Cameron earns £142,000.
At least 125 of the chief executives earn more than £150,000. At the top of the scale is Ron Kerr, who runs Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London and earns £274,000 a year.
In addition to the chief executives are hundreds of doctors who have taken on senior managerial roles.
Around 1,500 of these medical directors earn more than £150,000. Their average salary is £175,000. Their main role is to advise health trusts on medical issues and many cut back on seeing patients to concentrate on their managerial duties.
The report, by researchers Income Data Services, looked at figures for 195 chief executives and 2,141 medical directors from hospitals and ambulance trusts in England.
It shows that chief executives from foundation trusts – the ‘elite’ hospitals – typically earn £164,500, while those in the others earn £152,500.
Many medical directors are former consultants, who would have already been earning well in excess £100,000. Hospitals say they have to offer them lucrative packages to entice them into their new roles. The report shows trusts have flouted Government orders not to award pay rises of more than 1.5 per cent.
Over the last five years chief executives’ salaries have risen by 27 per cent, up from around £125,000 in 2006, it says.
NHS trusts are meant to be making combined savings of £20billion over the next four years and many are axing front-line posts and restricting treatments for patients.
Latest estimates show 40,000 posts could be at risk – half of them front-line workers including doctors, nurses and midwives.
Commenting on the report, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘This is yet another example of some trust chief executives showing extremely poor judgment and leadership at a time when the NHS is facing huge financial challenges.
‘It also sends an extremely poor message to hard-working nurses and other health workers, many of whom are worried about their jobs.’
David Stout, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents Health Service bodies, said: ‘A large city hospital could have a budget of between £500million and £1billion and employ as many as 10,000 staff – comparable to many FTSE 250 companies.
‘Because of the challenging nature of a chief executive’s role, NHS boards must consider a range of factors, including pay, to encourage the best candidates.’
The £112m bill for blood clots missed by doctors
The NHS avoids diagnostic tests to save money. But treating missed diseases and compensating mistreated patients could well be more costly
The NHS has paid out £112million in compensation over the past five years because doctors failed to spot blood clots, a study has revealed. The amount paid to patients after medics failed to screen for the condition or give appropriate medication has risen each year, NHS Litigation Authority figures show.
Last year, the health watchdog said more than 10,000 lives could be saved each year if patients were screened for the clots, also known as venous thrombo- embolism or VTE. One of the most common is deep vein thrombosis. They kill an estimated 25,000 patients every year.
Former chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said in 2008 that all hospital patients should be screened.
In 2005, £21million was paid out to those patients who had an avoidable blood clot or one that was missed by doctors, but this rose to more than £26million in 2010. The study of NHS data by charity Lifeblood suggests claims for the period 2005 to 2015 could top £250million in total.
It also suggests that blood clot screening is still falling short of official guidelines. From October to December 2010, only 68.4 per cent of inpatients on average were checked despite the goal being 90 per cent. This suggests 1.16million were not screened during this period.
‘Breastfed babies grow to be better behaved children’
This is real old chestnut. And the research is pathetic. What the authors have most likely shown is that higher IQ and middle class mothers are more likely to breastfeed and the children concerned inherit their mothers’ characteristics genetically. Even that is uncertain as the data was a garbagy retrospective self-report questionnaire: The lowest of the low in methodology
Just four months of breastfeeding can cut the risk of children becoming badly behaved by almost a third, a study suggests.
It found 16 per cent of children brought up on formula milk had problems including anxiety, lying, stealing and hyperactivity – more than double the proportion breastfed for at least four months.
When other influences are taken into account, such as social and economic background, the reduction in the risk of behavioural problems at age five brought about by breastfeeding is 30 per cent, according to the Oxford University study.
New mothers are advised to breastfeed for the first six months to protect their babies against stomach bugs, chest infections, asthma, eczema and allergies. It also has health benefits for mothers.
But the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, with almost one in three new mothers never attempting it, compared with 2 per cent of mothers in Sweden.
The study of 9,500 mothers and babies was led by Dr Maria Quigley of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University.
Dr Quigley said possible reasons for the findings included greater interaction between mother and child because of close physical contact from an early age.
In the study of infants born in the UK over a 12-month period between 2000 and 2001, 29 per cent of children born after a full-term pregnancy and 21 per cent of those born prematurely were breastfed for at least four months.
Parents were asked to complete questionnaires designed to assess the behaviour of their children at the age of five.
The results showed that 16 per cent of formula-fed children and 6 per cent of breastfed children were given abnormal scores, indicating behavioural problems.
For full-term babies, the pattern persisted after taking account of social and economic factors, says a report in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Dr Quigley said: ‘We found that children who were breastfed for at least four months were less likely to have behavioural problems at age five. However, that observation might not have been the direct result of breastfeeding – it could have been down to a number of factors.
‘Fewer behavioural problems are another potential benefit of breastfeeding’ ‘As a group, mothers who breastfed for four months were very different socially to those who formula fed. They were more likely to be older, better educated and in a higher socio-economic position.’
Dr Quigley added: ‘We just don’t know whether it is because of the constituents in breast milk which are lacking in formula, or the close interaction with the mum during breastfeeding. ‘But it does begin to look like we can add fewer behavioural problems as another potential benefit of breastfeeding.’
Offshore wind farm plans ‘are a costly mistake’: British climate experts demand rethink on turbines and more nuclear power
Ministers are backing the construction of too many expensive offshore wind farms too quickly, senior advisers on green policy warn today.
In a report into the future of energy, the influential Committee on Climate Change calls on the Government to scale back plans to build thousands of turbines off the coast of Britain.
Instead, the report calls for hundreds more wind turbines to be built onshore at a lower cost over the next eight years.
The committee also says renewable green power should play a central role in Britain’s energy policy and that the UK needs a new generation of wind farms, nuclear power plants and other sources of green energy to keep the lights burning.
The Coalition is planning a massive expansion of wind farms to meet tough EU climate change targets.
By 2020, the UK will have to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, wave and wood burning. Currently it produces only 3 per cent.
Many of the 10,000 new turbines will be built at sea, producing up to 13 gigawatts of electricity. The rest will be built in the countryside.
The Government claims the wind farms are needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and gas-fired power.
But critics say the plan is too expensive, the turbines ugly and that the UK will become over-dependent on the variable power of the wind.
The report says the Government’s plans for offshore wind are too ambitious and that the EU target could be met more cheaply. David Kennedy, the committee’s chief executive, said offshore wind was ‘a very promising technology and one we are keen to support in the UK’.
He added: ‘The renewable energy target is a legally binding one. But within that there are different ways to meet the target and at the moment we are doing a lot of offshore wind. There are other things we could do that are cheaper to meet the 2020 target.’
The Government should consider scaling back offshore farms by up to three gigawatts, he said. Instead of building expensive offshore wind farms, it should encourage more on land and import more renewable energy. The report also says wind will play a crucial role in Britain’s low carbon future.
By 2030 it is calling for 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewables, 40 per cent by nuclear power, 15 per cent from clean coal and gas and less than ten per cent from traditional gas.
To meet those targets, the UK would need another 3,600 giant offshore wind turbines, each one capable of producing five megawatts, or enough power for 1,200 homes. Another 11,000 turbines would be needed onshore. The Government is already committed to building the next generation of seven nuclear power plants. But another three would be needed to meet the low carbon targets, the report says.
It estimates that meeting the 2020 renewable energy targets set by the EU will add £50 to the typical household’s electricity bill. But if homes take advantage of the Coalition’s green deal insulation finance scheme in the next decade, average bills could be cut by 14 per cent, it says.
Lord Turner, chairman of the committee, said: ‘Renewable energy technologies are very promising and have an important role to play in helping to meet the UK’s carbon budgets and 2050 target, alongside other low-carbon technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage.’
Climategate: Why Don’t We Know Who Leaked the CRU Emails?
Is that the biggest coverup of all?
Why don’t we know who released the emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)? Is it an attempt by the CRU and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to divert even more attention from their involvement in this scandal? Is it part of the larger cover up apparently orchestrated by the Royal Society? Apparently to divert and control the fallout former CRU Director Phil Jones immediately called in the police, which established the event as a criminal act.
This raises the question of what he had to hide. If there was nothing in the files of consequence then loss of the information had no currency. The British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee perpetuated this idea by referring to the emails as “stolen” in their whitewash investigation of Jones’ behavior. They didn’t even take testimony from scientists qualified to address the problems with the science, yet still concluded the science was solid.
The answer is more likely that the whistleblower will disclose motive and chicanery well beyond what is disclosed in the actual emails. There is a distinct boundary between those who understand the science, and know what the emails say, and those who don’t have the knowledge and claim they are of no consequence. If the latter also have a political bias the tunnel vision is narrowed even more.
From Phil Jones to Paul Hudson
Because of Jones’ actions, the Norfolk police, a regional force, involved the national government through the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which is surely another measure of the seriousness of what was involved in the files. This led to the University turning over all the files related to skeptics and their requests through Freedom of Information (FOI). Apparently the police and subsequent investigations bought the CRU claims that requests for information were politically driven and caused hardship that diverted them from their work. When interrogated by the police, skeptics were asked about their political affiliations.
The idea that politics was the motive only developed because the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made global warming a purely political issue. Besides, why has motive got anything to do with request for scientific data and process, especially when funded by taxes and used to create potentially devastating policies?
Prior to leaking the emails to the world on November 19th 2009 the person sent them to Paul Hudson, weather and climate change expert with the BBC and former UK Met Office employee. Hudson received them on October 23rd, 2009, five weeks before.
Hudson has not explained why he did not release them, although he did confirm they were identical to the ones released later. Hudson knew the implications of the emails because he had written an article a month earlier titled Whatever happened to global warming. It is likely this article and his access to the world through his position with the BBC explain why he was chosen. It is also likely that previous admonitions about his views from CRU people prevented him from releasing the information.
Hudson blogged that he only received some of the larger set released and could not confirm they were all genuine. However, after he failed to release the information the person sent them to a Russian internet provider. Apparently the trigger was the impending meeting in Copenhagen, which planned to perpetuate devastating and unnecessary energy and climate policies. From there they were picked up and released through the web page Air Vent. That triggered Jones’ claim of a burglary, exposure of what skeptics had suspected for many years and justification for their FOI requests. But what has happened is that the people who requested the FOI are made out to be the problem.
Has the Person Been Silenced?
There is no apparent evidence of where the investigation is concerning who leaked the information. Does Hudson know who sent him the emails? Has he been interrogated? Surely, it is easy to track his emails and determine the source. One can only assume that hiding the identity of the person who released the emails is a necessary part of the whitewash and cover-up. What has happened to the concern that drove the ‘leaker’ in the first place? Was he convinced, as Hudson appears to have been, that silence is a wise choice?
Centre for Social Justice: British PM has broken pledge to support family values
David Cameron’s Coalition has failed to support marriage, unfairly penalised middle-class parents and done “almost nothing” to address the breakdown of families, according to a think tank founded by Iain Duncan Smith.
In opposition, Mr Cameron promised to make Britain “the most family-friendly country in Europe” and tackle the social problems arising from break-ups.
But in an audit of the Coalition’s first year in office, the Centre for Social Justice, which was set up by the Work and Pensions Secretary, said little had been done to support marriage and strongly criticised plans to cut child benefit for middle-class parents.
Marking the Coalition’s performance on family policy at just two out of 10, the centre concluded that the deal with the Liberal Democrats had seen family-friendly plans being watered down.
“Compromise to avoid difficult family policy decisions means it’s just business as usual,” the report said. The Coalition’s family policy was “a disappointing continuation of the last government’s failed approach”.
Gavin Poole, the centre’s chief executive, accused the Coalition of “compromise-driven inaction in tackling our devastating culture of family breakdown”.
The criticism will increase the pressure on the Prime Minister to enact more traditional “family values” policies. Mr Cameron fought last year’s election on a promise to introduce a transferable tax allowance for four million married couples worth £150 a year.
The centre said that transferable allowances “could make a genuine difference”, but despite its popularity among Tories, the policy had “moved off radar”.
The centre was set up by Mr Duncan Smith in 2004. He remains its patron, but is not involved in its day-to-day work. In opposition, its research on family breakdown and welfare dependency informed Conservative social policies and led to Mr Cameron’s warnings about Britain’s “broken society.”
The think tank’s “Report Card” for the Coalition also criticised the “unfortunate and unfair” decision to withdraw child benefit from higher-rate taxpayers.
The benefit will be taken away from a single-income couple earning more than £42,475 but retained by a couple where both parents work and earn £40,000 each, prompting allegations that ministers were penalising mothers who stay at home to care for their children.
The criticism will add to pressure on ministers to make changes to the Child Benefit plan, which will take effect in 2013.
The report was more positive about Mr Duncan Smith’s work to reform the benefits system, giving his plans to increase incentives to work eight out of 10.
However, some of the strongest criticism was reserved for a policy conceived to please Right-wingers, the planned cap on benefits claims. Under the new rules, no household will be able to claim more than £500 a week, regardless of how many members the family has. The centre warned it could bring hardship to thousands of large families “who will have the rug pulled from under them overnight”.
The Department for Work and Pensions said around 50,000 households would be affected, losing an average of £93 a week. However, some could lose as much as £150 a week. The centre said the move was “likely to be devastating” for some families.
Only nationalism can justify a welfare state
The standard consequentialist argument in favour of the welfare state essentially says that the harm caused to rich people by taxation is outweighed by the benefit to poor people from government services. That’s probably wrong, but for the sake of argument let’s say it’s not and concede the idea that governments should redistribute resources. The question that redistributionists have failed to answer satisfyingly is, to whom should the resources be distributed?
The redistributionist argument may seem defensible if we look at one country alone – taking from the rich in Britain to give to the poor in Britain sounds good to a lot of people. But why do we only look at the poor in Britain? Compared to, say, the poor in Peru, they don’t seem to be so badly-off. The redistributionist logic would imply that money should be given to the worst-off, wherever they are. So, why give money to the poor in Britain rather than the very poor in Peru?
A redistributionist might say that a government’s job is to look after its own citizens. That argument, frequently made, has no real ethical basis. Unless the redistributionist believes that the value of, say, a Mancunian’s welfare is of greater importance than a Peruvian’s welfare, there is no outcomes-based argument for favouring the Mancunian over the Peruvian. Taking the redistributionist premise that governments can improve outcomes by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, the only moral argument for spending tax money in Manchester rather than relatively-poorer Peru is based on implicit nationalism. How many redistributionists would admit to that? Yet it is the only logical justification for preferring a big welfare state in Britain to a lot of money being spent around the world.
Some would say that it would be politically impossible to implement this kind of redistributionism. Yes, it would, but that isn’t a convincing argument. Even the argument that overseas spending delivers less bang for the buck than domestic spending is highly dubious, and returns to the question of why redistribution supposedly works inside a country’s borders and not outside them.
This is a fundamental flaw in the redistributionist manifesto. The only intellectual justification for favouring people in Britain over people in Peru for government spending would be that British people are more deserving. This is implied by arguments for a welfare state. The libertarian alternative, on the other hand, doesn’t suffer from this implicit nationalism. The outcomes we argue for treat people as equals: Free markets benefit everybody, wherever they are. I’ll choose that kind of egalitarianism over the narrowly nationalistic redistributionist egalitarianism any day.
Home education in Britain is unrestricted and works well
Education in Britain is a mess. The complaints roll in. The children are taught less than their grandparents were, but are more pressured by tests and the meeting of other arbitrary targets. They play truant. They are bullied-around 20 children every year commit suicide because of this. They take too many drugs and have too much sex. They are force-fed political correctness. For the past month, the politicians have been issuing competing promises to sort out the mess-as if they had not made it in the first place.
We can be sure of one thing: nothing will improve. Of course, if you can move to the right catchment area, or join the right religion, your children may get a semi-decent education. If you have the money, you can go private and get them a good education. For everyone else, though, it is a matter of what the Prime Minister, with uncharacteristic honesty, calls the “bog standard comprehensive.”
Or is that it? The answer is no. There is an alternative.
The law on education in Britain is clear. Parents have a legal duty to educate their children, but no duty to send them to school. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 reads: “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable: (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b) to any special education needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.” The meaning of this is that you can educate your children at home.
Until quite recently, home education was a common alternative to school. Noel Coward, for example, was educated almost wholly at home, briefly attending the Chapel Royal Choir School. Agatha Christie had no formal schooling before the age of 16. She later wrote that her mother believed “the best way to bring up girls was to let them run wild as much as possible; to give them food, fresh air and not to force their minds in any way”. C.S. Lewis had only two years of formal schooling as a child-part of this at Wynyard School in Watford-a place he later called “Belsen”.
By the middle of the last century, home education seems largely to have died out. Recently-partly because of the collapse of standards in the state sector, and partly following the American example, where the home schooling movement is huge-there has been a revival of interest. No one knows how many children in England are being educated a home. The estimates range between 84,000 and 150,000. The only agreement is that the numbers are growing fast. They include children who have been bullied or otherwise harmed at school, the children of the devoutly religious, and the children of parents who simply do not like what formal schooling has to offer. They are from all social, educational, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
One reason why we cannot know the numbers is because the law is so astonishingly liberal. You do not have to seek permission from the Local Education Authority to educate “otherwise”; nor inform the Local Education Authority that you have children of school age; nor have regular contact with the Local Education Authority; nor have premises equipped to any specified standard; nor have any teaching or other educational qualifications of your own; nor cover any specific syllabus; nor have any fixed timetable; nor prepare lesson plans of any kind; nor observe normal school hours or terms; nor give formal lessons; nor allow your children to mix with others.
The only requirement is that children receive a “suitable” education. In a landmark decision from 1981, this is defined “one such as to prepare the children in life for modern civilised society, and to enable them to achieve their full potential”. And that is it. You can sit your children down in a room full of books and maps and reproduce a school at home. Or you can tell them Bible stories as they help make bread. Or you can let them run about, picking up whatever learning takes their fancy. There are no controls.
You might suppose that children not committed to the care of professional teachers would become illiterate barbarians. There is no evidence at all that they do. Indeed, what evidence there is shows that children educated at home do significantly better. In 2002, Dr Paula Rothermel of Durham University published the largest study ever made in the United Kingdom. She found that 64 per cent of such children scored over 75 per cent in standard tests, as opposed to only 5.1 children nationally. Other achievement levels were far above the national average. She found that “home educated children were socially adept and without behavioural problems. Overall, the home educated children demonstrated high levels of attainment and good social skills”.
She also notes that the children of working class, poorly-educated parents were doing better than middle class children. While five and six year old children from middle class backgrounds scored only 55.2 per cent in the test, they scored 71 per cent.
Of course, just because it appears to work is no reason for the authorities to approve of it. The law remains unchanged in England. But there is pressure for change. We can be sure the teachers hate anything that shows them in a comparatively poor light. In June this year, one of the main teaching unions heard calls for regulation. Apparently children educated at home were “the only group… who have no consistent level of monitoring or inspection yet are the only group taught in the main by those with no qualifications”. One can almost hear the nervous shuffling of bottoms.
If this were not enough, we live in an age where the authorities just cannot let anything alone. During the ten years to the beginning of October 2004, the phrase “completely unregulated” occurs 153 times in the British newspaper press. In all cases, unless used satirically, the phrase is part of a condemnation of some activity. We are told that the advertising of food to children, residential lettings agents, funeral directors, rock climbing, alleged communication with the dead, salons and tanning shops, contracts for extended warranties on home appliances, and anything to do with the Internet-that these are all “almost completely unregulated” or just “completely unregulated”, and that the authorities had better do something about the fact.
Then there is the ideological agenda. Schooling is only partly about teaching children to read and write and do basic sums. It is mainly about teaching them to think and do as the Establishment desires. When the Establishment was broadly conservative, children were taught how sweet and fitting it was to die for the country: would ten million young men have marched semi willingly to their death in the Great War without the prior conditioning of state education?
Nowadays, the Establishment is almost solidly of the left. Children now are taught how guilty they must feel if they happen to be white or male or middle class, and how they must accept the anti-western, anti-rational, anti-Enlightenment values of political correctness. And this is even thought a basic human right. In its own draft bill of rights, the National Council for Civil Liberties asserts the “right to an education that prepares them… to respect diversity and human rights”.
Given this fact, the Establishment sees home education as a challenge to its ideological hegemony. The academic literature is filled with denunciations of “neoliberals, neoconservatives, and authoritarian populists” who seek to frustrate the noble efforts of teachers. Home education is seen as an example of “individualized behaviour” that “threatens to undermine the quality of public education”.
There has been no concerted attack in England There are ugly stories to be found in the newspapers. It seems that some authorities are trying to conflate home schooling with truancy. Individual officials have been accused of threatening parents known to be educating their children at home-saying that their children would be put on the “at-risk” register. There is one story of a school that informed a mother that it was illegal for her to take one child out of school following the suicide of another who had been bullied there. But none of this yet reflects official policy.
There has, however, been an official attempt in Scotland to make home education less easy for parents. In 2002, the Scottish Executive, proposed that local authorities should be able to use details from the United Kingdom Census, from birth registers, from medical records, and from other confidential sources, to identify those children being educated at home. These proposals were bitterly fought by the home education movement-not just in Scotland, but also in the United Kingdom as a whole, and also from America. The law remains unchanged, but the proposals have not gone away.
But, for the moment, home education is perfectly legal in Britain. It is expensive: at least one parent must be at home at least some of the time to look after things. On the other hand, it can be brilliantly successful. So if you are really think your children are not getting the best at school, stop looking to the politicians. They either have no idea how to make things better, or are planning how to make them still worse. Do it yourself-and almost certainly do it better.
Catholic schools in Britain
The Catholic church was Britain’s original education provider and still offers high-quality learning to 800,000 pupils of many faiths
It is a key part of the church’s mission to offer good quality education as part of our contribution to society as a whole. Catholic schools are always happy to welcome children from all backgrounds whose parents seek a Catholic education for them, where there are sufficient places to meet this demand. In cases of oversubscription, priority is given to Catholic pupils.
The Catholic church was the original provider of education in this country. From the Middle Ages onwards, the church took responsibility for teaching children. Central to this work has always been our dedication to providing education for the poorest in society. Following Catholic emancipation in the 19th century, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales prioritised the building of schools before the building of churches. Then, as now, the church’s commitment to education was strong.
As time went on of course the church ceased to be the only provider of schools in this country as state-funded education for all became available. So why have we continued to be involved? We consider education to be crucially important as a means of forming the whole person intellectually, morally and socially and we want to help to give children as good a start in life as we can. Catholic schools strive to offer children a well-rounded education, providing them with a moral basis from which they are free to make their own decisions.
And we all know that Catholic schools have long been a success story. Ofsted rate them more highly in terms of their overall effectiveness than other schools nationally, and they also achieve higher examination results. Of course, the immeasurable benefit of a Catholic education is that students are encouraged to engage with the wider community and to make a positive contribution to society as a whole.
The current government, like previous governments, recognises the value that a Catholic education offers young people, which is why the state continues to fund many of the costs associated with Catholic schools. But the Catholic church doesn’t just expect handouts. We own the land on which most of our schools are built. This is no small financial contribution, and it has been made over a long period of time: it is an arrangement that has been in place since the 1944 Education Act when Catholic schools became partners with the state in the provision of education. The financial contribution made by the church comes from Catholics up and down the country, who not only pay their taxes, but who also give generously to the church, thus helping to fund Catholic schools.
Catholic schools are inclusive. Our schools are more ethnically diverse than schools nationally (26% of students in Catholic secondary schools come from ethnic groups other than the “White British” category, compared to only 21% of students in secondary schools nationally). Recently published data also showed that Catholic schools have a higher proportion of students from the most deprived areas compared to schools nationally. Catholic schools are rated more highly by Ofsted when it comes to their commitment to community cohesion than other schools are. Visit your local Catholic school and you’re unlikely to find it full of middle-class children with pushy parents.
Central to this is the Catholic ethos and distinctive nature of our schools. This is maintained, in part, by Catholic children having priority in cases of over subscription, defined by local bishops according to local circumstances. Steps are taken to ensure that the system meets the needs of genuine applicants rather than those parents who might try to “play the system”. Interestingly, in England around a quarter of pupils in Catholic schools are not Catholics and in Wales the figure is a third.
As Baroness Warsi recognised in a recent speech, the provision of education is a major part of the Catholic church’s contribution to British society, part of a centuries-old tradition. We are proud to offer a well-rounded, high-quality education to almost 800,000 pupils and students in England and Wales: Catholics, members of other faiths and none.