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Welby backs open access schools

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he supports church schools which abandon their religious selection criteria and open their doors to all pupils.

The Most Rev Justin Welby told The Times newspaper that there is a "deeper and deeper commitment to the common good" within church schools and a steady move away from faith-based entry tests.

Allowing children the chance to apply to faith schools helps the church achieve its mission of alleviating poverty, he added.

Faith schools are among some of the best state schools in the country and regularly oversubscribed.

Mr Welby said: "It's not necessary to select to get a really good school.

"There are unbelievably brilliant schools that are entirely open to all applicants without selection criteria apart from residence, where you live, and which produce staggeringly good results.

"It's a question of - and you can point to them all over the place - it's a question of outstanding leadership."

He later said in a statement: "I fully support the current policy for schools to set their own admissions criteria, including the criterion of faith."

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