Fundamentalist takeover 'isn't much of a danger' in CofE schools - Archbishop

(Photo: York Minster)

Faith schools in Birmingham are being investigated over a supposed fundamentalist takeover but the Archbishop of Canterbury does not think it is an issue for Church of England schools.

Archbishop Justin Welby was speaking to the BBC this weekend following the announcement of an investigation by Birmingham City Council into the so-called Trojan Horse plot to plant Muslim hardliners on school governing boards around Birmingham.

"I can't talk about other faith schools, but it isn't much of a danger in the Church of England schools," the Archbishop said.

He told the BBC faith schools were on the whole a "very good use of social capital" and, for the Church of England, an "expression of our love and service to the community". 

"People seem to choose these schools in large numbers," he told the BBC.

"They are often in the poorest parts of the country, we seek to love and serve people, as we should, through these schools - and havve done for hundreds of years."

Church of England schools account for the vast majority of the 7,500 faith schools across the UK. 

In the interview, the Archbishop also reaffirmed his belief that Britain is a Christian country, despite fewer people attending church each Sunday.

He said the Christian faith could be seen in the "whole way we approach our national life", from the arrangement of the nation's health and justice systems, to social attitudes.

"The way we value people, the basic way we look at the human being and the dignity of the human being, reflects the values of Jesus Christ," he said.

"We are a deeply Christian country in that way."

His comments follow those of David Cameron who sparked a debate about British identity when he said it was a "Christian country".

A group of 50 secularists and humanists subsequently wrote to The Telegraph to refute the Prime Minister's assertion and suggest it was bad for society to characterise Britain as a Christian country.

More News in Society