ALL Church of England schools will become accredited Living Wage
employers under a plan announced by the National Society and the
trade union Unison on Monday.
Unison will produce a step-by-step guide to ensure that all
employees, including support staff, of church schools are paid the
Living Wage, which is currently £7.65 an hour, or £8.80 in London.
They will then help schools become officially accredited by the
Living Wage Foundation.
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, who recently chaired the
Living Wage Commission examining the future of the initiative, said
that it was an excellent scheme. "Church of England schools were
set up more than 200 years ago to serve the poor and marginalised,
and they have always been committed to treating staff and pupils
fairly. This new agreement with Unison will reward schools with
Living Wage accreditation for their commitment to treating staff
An investigation by the Church Times in June found that
every diocese that responded to queries was already paying its
staff the Living Wage, as were Lambeth Palace, Church House, and
27 June). A spokesman for the C of E, however, declined to
comment at the time on whether the Living Wage would be expanded
beyond dioceses and national church institutions, into schools and
Campaigners said that, although the Church's efforts were
encouraging, to make a significant difference the Living Wage
needed to be rolled out to the hundreds of smaller C of E
employers, including schools.
The National Society said that - inspired by a General Synod
motion in 2012 which praised the Living Wage as a means to lift
people out of poverty - a commitment has now been made that all
4700 church schools will become accredited Living Wage
Thirty-six schools across the country are currently accredited
with the Living Wage Foundation, including six Roman Catholic
schools, an academy sponsored by the London Diocesan Board for
Schools, and one C of E primary school.
Rhys Moore, from the Living Wage Foundation, said: "We are
delighted with the great support of Christian organisations in
leading by example when calling for the Living Wage. The recent
strong message from the Archbishop of York . . . makes a great
The general secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said: "Times are
tough, and low-paid workers are struggling. . . Schools and heads
are under a lot of pressure, and that is why Unison wants to make
it easier for them to win Living Wage accreditation by producing a
The general secretary of the National Society, the Revd Nigel
Genders, said: "In signing up to this commitment, schools are
taking a clear stand against poverty, and setting a very public
example for their pupils about how people should be treated."