What Are Church Schools?

Church of England schools are part of the maintained (state) system of education and their Trust Deeds require them, for the most part, to serve their local communities. There is a great lack of understanding in the world of education, despite high profile debates nationally (for example The Way Ahead report by Lord Dearing 2001), about the role of church schools.

Download a list of Church Schools in Wakefield and Huddersfield Areas - February 2014

The Way Ahead outlines the contribution made to education by Church of England Schools. They were born from a desire to offer education more widely and imbue it with spiritual values. Encapsulated in their vision is a respect for all, including those on the margins. Such a vision of inclusiveness builds rather than divides a community. It offers hope amidst uncertainty, love in the face of fragmentation: partnership rather than segregation.

Many church schools were founded in the 19th century. They tend to be situated in the villages and the older towns and cities. There are fewer in the more modern suburbs. They all tend to be quite different depending on the communities in which they are found.

It was not until 1870 that the national government became involved in education for all. The 1944 Education Act created two broad types of church school: voluntary aided and the voluntary controlled. In the Diocese we treat all our church schools as one family.

What then are the differences in law?

In voluntary aided schools the:

  • School is owned by Trustees, as part of a church educational trust.
  • Foundation (church) governors are in the majority on the governing body.
  • Staff are employed by the governing body.
  • Governing body is responsible for the maintenance of the building and for funding improvements. For this they receive a grant of 90% from the Department for Education and Skills (DCSF). The governing body must fund the other 10%.
  • RE is taught in accordance with the provision of the Trust Deed.
  • Worship is conducted according to the provisions of the Trust Deed.
  • Governing body is responsible for the admissions to the school.

In voluntary controlled schools the:

  • School is owned by Trustees, as part of a Church educational trust.
  • Foundation (church) governors are in the minority on the governing body.
  • Staff are employed by the local authority.
  • Local authority is responsible for the maintenance of the building and for funding improvements, although most of its responsibilities may be delegated to the governing body.
  • RE is taught in accordance with the local agreed syllabus, unless parents request teaching in accordance with the Trust Deed.
  • Worship is conducted according to the provisions of the Trust Deed.
  • Local authority is responsible for the admissions to the school.

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