Do parents go to church to get children into better schools?

Research on church attendance led by David Voas, Professor of Population Studies, commissioned as part of The Church of England Growth Research Programme, has revealed “the most direct impact on attendance may be felt in areas where a popular CofE school is over-subscribed".

The study finds that many parents are only attending church to get their children into oversubscribed, religiously selective schools.

Writing in the report Professor Voas said: “Some churchgoing is clearly motivated by a desire to qualify for school admission.”

The research aimed to to identify what causes church congregations to grow and found that “middle class suburbs with church schools…offer great opportunities [for growth]”.

Professor Voas led an extensive analysis of existing church attendance and other data to test hypotheses around factors relevant to church growth and completed in depth profiling of a sample of growing churches (from a wide variety of contexts and traditions) and a randomly selected control group.

Media coverage

Parents ‘only go to church for places at faith schools’ Daily Mail

CofE’s own research shows parents attend church to gain admission to oversubscribed faith schools Times Education Supplement


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