More than 26,000 Muslim pupils are now educated in Catholic schools across the country, according to the latest research.
The figures, which form part of the annual Catholic Schools’ Census, show that one in three pupils who attend the country’s Catholic schools are not of the Catholic faith.
For the first time, the Census has collected data on pupil religion other than Catholicism to get a better picture of the religious diversity in Catholic schools.
The data found that one of the biggest religious groupings was pupils with no religion. This group accounted for more than a fifth of the non-Catholic pupils.
The largest religious group were pupils from other Christian denominations. More than 148,000 of them are currently enrolled in Catholic schools and make up half of all non-Catholic pupils.
Once again, the figures from the Schools’ Census show that Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in the country with 21% more pupils coming from ethnic minority backgrounds than the national average.
Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service, which compiled the Census, commented: “It is great to see Catholic schools acting as beacons of diversity and integration up and down the country.
“Often, parents of different faiths and none value the distinctive and unapologetically Catholic ethos of the Church’s schools.
“It is precisely because we are open about our faith that parents of other religions feel comfortable with the all-inclusive ethos of Catholic schools.”
Notes to editors
There are more than 2200 Catholic Schools in England and Wales.
The Catholic sector is the second largest provider of education and currently educates 852,321 pupils.
There are 287,934 non Catholic pupils in Catholic schools with the breakdown as follows (alphabetical order):
Buddhist – 1,175 (0.41%)
Hindu – 5,855 (2.03%)
Jewish – 276 (0.10%)
Muslim – 26,264 (9.12%)
No religion – 63,062 (21.90%)
Other Christian – 148,018 (51.41%)
Other religion – 15,195 (5.28%)
Religion refused 2,407 (0.84%)
Religion not known – 22,181 (7.70%)
Sikh – 3,501 (1.22%)