Pupils in Catholic schools and academies are significantly more diverse than the England average, according to the latest data.
Overall, 44% of pupils at Catholic state-funded primaries and secondaries are from an ethnic minority background, compared to 36% nationally.
A total of 11.4% of the 820,994 pupils in England’s 2,090 Catholic schools and academies are either Black or Black British, compared to 5.8% nationally. The percentage of black teachers is also slightly higher, at 2.6%, above a national average of 2.4%.
There are more than three times the proportion of White Irish pupils (1%) than in other state-funded schools and academies (0.3%).
Sixty per cent of pupils in Catholic schools and academies are Catholic, as are just under half of the 47,662 teachers employed. Of the 316,070 non-Catholic pupils, just under half are from other Christian denominations. The largest non-Christian religion represented is Islam, with more than 34,000 Muslim pupils.
Only 0.03% of all pupils, or just 277 of them, in Catholic schools across England are withdrawn from acts of collective worship such as Mass and prayers in assemblies.
The figures come from the annual census of Catholic schools and academies conducted by the Catholic Education Service (CES), which acts on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and has supported Catholic education since 1847.
Paul Barber, CES Director, said: “Catholic schools have led the way on diversity since the nineteenth century, when many were established to meet the needs of immigrants from Ireland.
“Today they outperform national GCSE averages for English and Maths by five percentage points, with more pupils from the most deprived areas, and from ethnic minorities. Parents and pupils of other faiths and none rightly value this success and the distinctive, all-inclusive ethos of Catholic education.”
Due to a 50% admissions cap for new religious schools, only two new Catholic ones have been built in England since 2010. The cap means a new Catholic school could be put in the position of turning away a pupil for being a Catholic, which is against canon law.
Catholic schools continue to convert into becoming Catholic academies, with a 17% increase in the past year. There are now 814 Catholic academies in England, run by 77 multi-academy trusts.
Altogether, Catholic schools and academies make up 9% of the national total of the state-funded sector, making the Catholic Church the biggest provider of secondary education and the second-largest provider of primary education overall.