Faith schools have once again dominated a league table of the best performing primary schools in England.
The official tables, composed by the Department for Education, show that nearly two thirds of the best primary schools are Anglican, Roman Catholic or Jewish.
The success of faith-based primaries comes despite the fact that they account for just one in three schools nationally.
Barbara Jarrett, head of the country’s top-performing faith-based primary, said: “It’s all about shared values. We expect our children to be respectful, care for each other, be committed and hard working. Our values reflect the values of our church.
“And we encourage children to have a love of learning and a belief in their own ability to do well.”
Mrs Jarrett, who heads St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary in Sheffield, added: “There is a real crisis in our education system today, we call on the Government to learn lessons from faith schools.”
This year’s league table revealed that 289 schools in England gained “perfect” results by ensuring that all of their pupils met the standards expected for their age group. Of these schools 61 per cent were faith schools.
However the Accord Coalition, a group which opposes faith based admissions policies, claimed that faith schools were selecting pupils.
Paul Pettinger, the group’s co-ordinator, said: “They do better because they socially select through admissions.”
This suggestion was firmly denied by Mrs Jarrett who said: “Faith schools tend to do well in whatever area they are in – the figures bear that out. And I disagree with the assertion that this is just to do with the intake.”
Faith schools also dominated last year’s league table of the best primary schools in England.
Almost two-thirds of the 268 schools which achieved “perfect” SATs results in summer 2009 were Anglican, Roman Catholic or Jewish schools.
Revd Jan Ainsworth, the Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, said: “The latest results show church schools are raising aspirations and providing inspiration for young people across the country.”
She added: “A distinctive and inclusive ethos undergirds everything that Church of England schools do, from creating a caring atmosphere to developing a sense of strong sense of purpose.”
In 2008 Revd Ainsworth defended faith schools saying: “Some seem to believe that the Christian ethos, which is so valued by parents, is like a sort of magic dust that is sprinkled on church schools simply by association.
“But it is, in fact, achieved through the hard work of staff and governors in building a learning community that is underpinned with Christian values.”