CHURCH groups have welcomed the Government's U-turn over plans to force faith schools to accept more pupils from non-religious backgrounds.
Last week Education Secretary Alan Johnson said he wanted to give councils the power to require new faith schools to accept up to a quarter of students from other faiths or of no religious belief.
But yesterday he abandoned the scheme, saying a voluntary deal had been reached with both the Catholic Church and the Church of England.
This made his proposed new laws unnecessary.
The Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, Dr Vincent Nichols, had said Mr Johnson's proposed scheme was "ill-thought-out and unworkable".
But after he met him in London yesterday the archbishop welcomed the "broad agreement".
Mr Johnson said a consensus had been reached with all faith groups to place a new duty on school governing bodies to promote 'community cohesion'.