By David Browne Education Correspondent
A CONSERVATIVE MP has called for an investigation into the attitude of local Labour parties towards denominational schools. Mr John Butcher, MP for Coventry, South West, said independent and voluntary-aided schools were under attack from Labour councillors and to an extent by Social Democrats.
He was introducing a half-hour debate on the future of voluntary schools, in the House of Commons last week. He said he wanted the debate to reaffirm the role and value of Church schools "and to put a shot across the bows of those who may be tempted to produce policies that threaten their existence within a pluralistic society".
He said there was a major onslaught on Catholic schools at present, particularly in areas where school places are being cut because of falling rolls. "The antagonists are saying that if, in an area, the number of Church school places has been in the past. 10 per cent of the total
number of maintained school places, then when the total demand for school places falls, as is happening in London and the other big cities, the number of Church school places should still be no more than 10 per cent," he said.
"Yet, if the free expression of parental choice is permitted, all the evidence is that far more parents prefer a Church school for their child than they have been able to achieve in recent years."