§ Lord Taylor of Blackburn
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their policy towards requests from immigrant communities for schools of their own religions in this country.
§ The Earl of Swinton
It is open to anyone (provided they are not subject to a disqualification order under Part III of the Education Act 1944) to set up an independent school. Any independent school must be registered, and once registered will be inspected to make sure it conforms with the minimum standards laid down in the Act. Provided it does, it can operate without let or hindrance. Many religious and ethnic minorities have set up independent schools in this way.
It is also open to any religious group to put forward proposals, after consultations with the local education authority, for the establishment of a voluntary aided school. Such proposals are considered on their merits and in the light of any objections received to the public notices that have to be published under Section 13 of the Education Act 1980.
The issues raised by this question is currently under review by the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups, chaired by Lord Swann. The committee's report is expected shortly.