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C of E academies and special needs

by
29 June 2011

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From Canon Stephen Kelly

Sir, — Dennis Richards’s article “Admission-shaped schools?” (Education, 17 June) usefully informs us that, as local education authorities disappear and academies become ubiquitous, funding for special-needs support will transfer to those academies at an additional £430 per child.

He is surely right to infer that, for that amount, most academies will not be tempted to admit a child with special needs, given the choice. “But, as for church schools, we will need to think again about that one and think harder. We have got the Bishop of Oxford to answer to.”

It is a no-brainer, and it is not the Bishop of Oxford we have to answer to. Are not we to demonstrate, by obvious practical expressions of righteousness and justice, that God’s people have an incomparably counter-cultural set-up, precisely because we are God’s people?

So, should we not be requiring each church academy to have an admissions policy giving priority to those children with a special need to attend — whether that need is the child’s or the parents’?

STEPHEN KELLY
The Vicarage, Church Street
Woolley
Wakefield WF4 2JU

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