MPs will next week raise serious concerns about the government's faith schools programme.

The Commons children, schools and families select committee will grill the schools secretary, Ed Balls, at a meeting on January 9 about the government's plans to allow local authorities to open as many faith schools as they want.

Members are concerned the plans will damage social cohesion and widen existing divisions.

The committee's chairman, Barry Sheerman, said: "Faith schools are an important area of concern. This is something the government should look at in a focused way, rather than drifting into the proliferation of faith education.

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