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UK news in brief

20 May 2016


Success: early years children at Northern Saints primary school meet the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, in November, 2014

Success: early years children at Northern Saints primary school meet the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, in November, 2014

C of E primary schools receive awards
THREE Church of England primary schools have been recognised in the Pupil Premium Awards, which reward high levels of attainment or significant rates of improvement among disadvantaged pupils. Northern Saints C of E Primary School, in Sunderland, and Greenfylde C of E First School both won awards. Ripley St Thomas C of E Academy, Lancaster, was a runner-up. The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, said that the Church “is committed to serving the transformation of the life opportunities of children so that region and postcode do not determine in advance what young people may achieve in their education”.


New group to build ties in Scotland
THE Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland have announced the establishment of a new working group to “further the common goals” the two Churches share. The ecumenical committees of each Church met last week and agreed to launch the initiative, which will be known as “Our Common Calling”. Relations between the two Churches were strained late last year when the Columba agreement between the Churches of Scotland and England was publicised, with the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, describing the agreement as “deeply hurtful” (News, 8 January). The meeting that agreed to set up the working group was described afterwards as “lively and positive”.


Churches to be advised on broadband project
THE Church of England is creating guidelines to allow 10,000 rural churches in the UK to provide wireless internet access to the community, by using their spires as communication towers, Church House has said. The Prime Minister promised in November that every home in the UK would have access to high-speed broadband by 2020, a statement reiterated in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. The Church Commissioners own a company, WiSpire, which is already providing a broadband service from 47 churches in Norfolk. The Church is in talks with the Government to further this coverage. The rural-affairs minister, Rory Stewart, told The Guardian: “Church spires are ideally located in remote rural areas to allow point-to-point broadband coverage.”


Bishop James Jones granted Freedom of Liverpool
THE former Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, is to be honoured with the Freedom of the City, together with Professor Phil Scraton, the former Liverpool FC manager Kenny Dalglish, and — posthumously — the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Bishop Jones, who chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, said: “To have served the city of Liverpool, and especially the families of the 96, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.” The present Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said that the accolade was “richly deserved”.

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