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Demands on new faith schools opposed

    The Jewish Leadership Council's education division has objected to conditions the government plans to attach to the opening of new free faith schools.

    Partnerships for Jewish Schools (Pajes) is "disturbed" by proposals which it says single out faith schools.

    Pajes has welcomed plans to lift the cap which currently restricts religious free schools to selecting only half their applicants on the basis of faith.

    But the government has suggested new faith free schools would have to demonstrrate proof of support from parents of other faiths and to twin with other schools.

    In response to the recent green paper on schools, Pajes says "we strongly object to the premise upon which these changes have been proposed, namely that there is an inherent danger in the establishment of free faith schools."

    It recommends either dropping the requirement of support from other faiths or asking a new school to demonstrate "sufficient need from the local faith community to fill the places and how the new school will try to develop links with the local community".

    On twinning with schools of other faiths, it says this might be acceptable for some. But it adds "we would have… to ensure this did not impinge on religious sensibilities and cultural mores".

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