THE Church of England will work to retain control over its
schools, including the few in special measures, its chief education
officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, said on Wednesday after the
publication of the new Education and Adoption Bill.
This will give the Government powers to scrap local consultation
and speed up the pace at which failing schools become academies.
The Bill could be completed by the end of the current parliamentary
session, lawyers believe.
"We will retain control of the whole family of church schools,
most of which are good or outstanding, and ensure the improvement
of any that give cause for concern through partnership and
collaboration," Mr Genders said.
Since 2010, just two or three C of E schools and academies have
been handed over to other sponsors, but in each case with the
consent of the diocese.
The more common picture is of dioceses themselves acting as
sponsors, sometimes in collaboration with other organisations, and
succeeding in turning round struggling schools.
This week, C of E educationists and their legal advisers were
scrutinising the Bill for measures that could adversely affect
dioceses' control over their schools and trustee-held sites. These
issues were foreseen by contributors to the Church Times
One significant concern raised was the powers of regional school
commissioners, who will have delegated authority to require a
school to become an academy, but who, in the case of a church
school, might have little understanding of the position of the
In an open letter to the Secretary of State, Lichfield diocese's
director of education, Colin Hopkins, calls for greater
transparency in the way decisions are taken by school commissioners
and ministers. "There is a rumour that the next Education Act will
contain powers to overrule diocesan boards of education if they
impede your desire for structural change. If that is the case, then
I think the provision is based on a misunderstanding. . .
"I am worried about the back-door erosion over time of the
church ethos in our academies because non-church directors do not
understand or value the church dimension."
Matter of control -
Nigel Genders reports that the C of E is
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more changes? - Poorly thought-out legislation could
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