Faith Schools: Pros And Cons

faith schools
faith schools

Faith schools, also known as religious schools, have been a subject of considerable debate and discussion in the realm of education.

They present a distinctive approach to learning by integrating religious teachings and values into the educational curriculum.

While these schools boast a deep foundation rooted in religious principles, character development, and integrity, there are also significant drawbacks and debates associated with faith schools that need to be considered.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons to provide a comprehensive understanding of these schools; carefully read through!

What are faith schools?

A faith school in the United Kingdom is one that teaches a general curriculum but which has a particular religious character or formal links with a religious or faith-based organization.

The term is most commonly applied to state-funded faith schools, although many independent schools also have religious characteristics.

They frequently have ties to a local place of worship. Except for religious instruction, faith-based schools must follow the national curriculum while teaching all topics. Some opt to educate about other faiths as well, while others may solely teach about their own.

They are authorized to use religious standards to choose students, such as going to church or becoming baptized. Students of any faith are welcome to enroll, but only if there are more applicants than available spots.

What are the Benefits of attending Faith Schools?

Attending faith schools can offer several potential benefits for students and their families, but it’s important to note that these benefits can vary depending on the individual school, the specific faith, and the educational context.

Here are some potential advantages:

Religious Values and Moral Education

They provide a strong foundation in the religious beliefs and moral values associated with a specific faith. This can help students develop a deeper understanding of their religion and its principles.

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Community and Identity

Faith schools can foster a sense of community and belonging among students and their families who share the same faith. This can create a supportive and tight-knit environment.

Parental Choice

For families who are deeply committed to a particular faith, the schools offer an educational option that aligns with their religious beliefs and values. This can be important for parents who want to instill their faith in their children’s upbringing.

Strong Ethical Framework

They as well emphasize ethics and character development, which can lead to a strong sense of personal responsibility and ethical behavior among students.

High Academic Standards

Some faith-based schools are known for their rigorous academic programs and high standards of excellence. These schools may provide a strong academic foundation that can prepare students for further education and career success.

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Cultural and Language Preservation

In some cases, faith schools may offer instruction in languages or cultural traditions that are associated with a particular religion. This can be important for preserving cultural heritage and language skills.

Teaching about Diversity

Some faith schools incorporate teachings about other religions and cultures, promoting tolerance and understanding of diversity.

Character Development

Faith schools often strongly emphasize character development, emphasizing virtues such as compassion, empathy, and humility, which can benefit students throughout their lives.

Involvement of Parents

These schools encourage parental involvement in their children’s education and in the school community, which can enhance the educational experience.

What are the pros and cons of Faith Schools?

Faith schools, like any type of educational institution, come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of faith schools to consider:


#1. Value and Morals

They provide a strong moral and ethical framework based on religious teachings, which can help instill values in students. They can offer a grounding in religious principles and beliefs that some parents find important.

#2. High Academic Standards

Some religious institutions are known for their academic prowess and for giving students a demanding education. Due to their academic success, faith-based schools are frequently listed among the state’s top-performing institutions of learning.

These schools’ students are renowned for their exceptional academic accomplishments. The school makes every effort to maintain this record.

#3. Students are Disciplined

Students are well-behaved, disciplined, pleasant, honest, and respectful. Every student is required to behave at their highest level at all times in the tight environment that the school maintains.

A clear code of conduct governs students’ behavior, and when they don’t follow it, penalties are immediately implemented.

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#4. Unified Application Process for Secondary Schools

For secondary, the structure for applications is the same as for all other schools. Some parents are concerned that applying to a faith-based school may be more challenging, although this is not always the case.

There should be no mistake when accepting or denying places because the applications are identical. Your prospects of being admitted ought to be no different from those of a conventional secondary public school if you can demonstrate your dedication to your place of worship.

#5. It Exposes Students to a Particular Belief System

Attending a faith school ensures that the student’s belief system remains unchallenged. Unlike when children attend a school that practices a different faith or one that doesn’t practice any at all, faith schools complement all they have been taught at home instead of contradicting it.

#6. Parental Involvement

Faith schools often encourage active parental involvement in their children’s education and in school activities. Parents who are deeply committed to a particular faith appreciate the alignment between their religious beliefs and their children’s education.


#1. Faith Schools are Selective

Majority o them rarely admit students from other faiths. They give preference to children who practice the institution’s religion over those who don’t.

For example, Catholic schools will usually make it mandatory for students to have actively practiced the faith alongside their parents for several years prior.

Lawfully, faith schools cannot turn away any students purely due to their faith or lack thereof. However, the majority of the kids applying to these institutions will be following the right religion, so they will automatically be given preference over those who don’t.

#2. Cost-Intensive

Unlike public schools, some of them expect families to contribute financially to the growth of the religious organization that runs the school. As a criterion for registering students, some institutions necessitate financial contributions from parents and careers. 

#3. Limited Exposure to Diverse Perspectives

They may provide a limited view of the world, potentially isolating students from different beliefs and worldviews. Exposure to diverse ideas and cultures may be limited, hindering a well-rounded education.

#4. Inclusivity and Discrimination

Some may have admission policies that favor students of the same faith, potentially leading to exclusion and discrimination. LGBTQ+ students and teachers may face discrimination in faith schools that adhere to traditional religious teachings on sexuality.

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How Do Faith Schools Work?

The main aim of a faith school is to teach the standard curriculum while including and emphasizing its religious character. Religious parents frequently place high importance on ensuring that their kids understand, cherish, and recognize their faith in everything.

The majority of state-funded religious institutions are voluntarily aided (VA) or voluntary controlled (VC) institutions. This indicates that schools receive a portion of their money from a religious organization, which typically also owns the land and the school buildings. The school must have a specified percentage of foundation governors, or governors chosen by the school’s religious authorities to represent its religious culture.

While generally the governing body rather than the local government is in charge of things like establishing the admissions policy and hiring staff, state religious schools are managed similarly to other maintained schools. This can imply, for instance, that when hiring instructors and support personnel, they look for individuals who adhere to the school’s religion.

All topics in faith-based schools must adhere to the National Curriculum. Although many will also teach the students about other religions, teachers are free to discuss their own religion in religious education sessions.

Like other state schools, faith schools are inspected regularly by Ofsted. Most are also inspected by a religious body, with the inspection focusing in particular on the impact of the school’s faith ethos.

How to Apply to Faith Schools

The admissions policy for VA and VC faith schools is set and administered by the school’s admissions unit. Commonly, priority is given to children whose families have some sort of affiliation with the school’s faith. For example, places might be allocated in the first place to:

  • Children who are baptized in the religion
  • Children whose families regularly attend specified places of worship

When applying to a faith school, you need to apply through the local authority admissions system, and directly to the school using a Supplementary Information Form, available from the school office. 

If you’re applying for a place on religious grounds, you’ll usually be asked for proof; such as your child’s baptism certificate, or a letter from the religious leader certifying your attendance.

Admission criteria are different for each school. Most faith schools give priority to children who/whose:

  • Live close to the school
  • Have a brother or sister at the school already
  • Come from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • Pass an entrance exam (for selective schools, for example, grammar schools)
  • Went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)
  • Are eligible for the pupil premium or the service pupil premium
  • Parent has worked at the school for 2 years or more

Because admissions policies differ based on school, you should contact them directly to find out how they allocate their places and what information they need.

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Why You Should Attend A Faith School

Now that we’ve explored the pros and cons of attending this school, here is what we think about attending a faith school.

Attending a faith school can offer a unique and enriching educational experience for several compelling reasons. Firstly, faith schools provide a strong moral and ethical foundation that can guide your personal and academic growth.

These institutions often prioritize values such as compassion, empathy, and integrity, instilling a sense of responsibility towards others and the community. The integration of religious teachings fosters character development, encouraging students to become not only academically proficient but also morally upright individuals.

Also, they offer a close-knit and supportive community, allowing you to connect with like-minded peers and families who share your faith. This sense of belonging can create a positive and nurturing environment where you feel understood and supported in your spiritual journey. Also, faith schools often encourage active parental involvement, fostering a strong partnership between parents and educators to ensure holistic development.

Lastly, attending a faith school can provide you with a well-rounded education that combines academic excellence with moral values, fostering a deep sense of identity and community. This unique environment can empower you to grow academically, morally, and spiritually, equipping you with the tools and values needed to navigate the challenges of life with resilience and integrity.

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Do they follow the national curriculum?

The national curriculum must be followed at all public schools, regardless of their religious affiliation. If a school is receiving government financing, it is required to teach all of the core topics and the material the government has determined is essential for students to know.

However, if schools so desire, they may prioritize religious studies more. Additionally, they have more latitude than other schools when it comes to the subject matter they decide to cover as part of the religious studies curriculum. This enables religious institutions to emphasize their religion more.

Since they adhere to the national curriculum just like other schools, it is permissible for any child, regardless of religion, to apply to join a faith school. Similarly, a faith-based school is not permitted to deny admission only because a prospective student lacks the required religious upbringing.

However, there are a finite number of openings, just like at all public institutions. Siblings are typically given preference in the majority of institutions’ first-come, first-served admission policies. However, a religious school may also consider a student’s religion, commitment to their place of worship, and willingness to lend a hand in the neighborhood.


What is a faith school?

A faith school is an educational institution that is closely associated with a particular religious faith or denomination. These schools often integrate religious teachings and values into their curriculum and daily activities.

Do faith schools exist in all countries?

Faith schools can be found in many countries, but their prevalence and the way they are funded and regulated can vary significantly from one nation to another. Some countries have a strong tradition of faith-based education, while others have more secular systems.

Do faith schools teach only religious subjects?

No, faith schools typically offer a standard curriculum that includes subjects like mathematics, science, history, and language arts. However, they may incorporate religious studies into their curriculum, and religious education is often a core component.

Do faith schools perform better academically?

Academic performance in these schools can be depends on many factors, including the quality of teaching and resources. Some are known for their high academic standards, while others may not perform as well.


Attending a faith school can provide you with a well-rounded education that combines academic excellence with moral values, fostering a deep sense of identity and community.

This unique environment can empower you to grow academically, morally, and spiritually, equipping you with the tools and values needed to navigate the challenges of life with resilience and integrity.


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