The spread of faith schools across the country has been shelved because ministers fear they could help create a new generation of Muslim extremists, it was claimed last night.
A favourite project of Tony Blair, the schools have previously been seen as a success, with good academic results and satisfied parents.
But in a Commons committee on Wednesday, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, appeared to take a step back from plans to create more. He said ministers had no ideological commitment to faith schools, in which children are admitted on the basis of their parents’ beliefs.
Mr Balls added that he did not necessarily believe they were best for communities and that it was up to local people to say if they wanted one in their area.
He also said he wanted faith schools to avoid dividing neighbourhoods along racial lines, adding: “There were many examples of faith schools who actually promote community cohesion. I want that best practice to apply to all schools.”