June 23, 2011

Bishop warns reforms threaten church schools

by Jan Harris

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, has spoken out against the government’s education reforms, claiming that they put the existence of church schools in danger.

The Bishop also criticised the omission of Religious Education from the new English Baccalaureate standard.

The Bishop’s concerns are expressed in a report on the state of faith schools and religious education which will be debated by the Church of England’s General Synod in July.

In the report the Bishop writes: “The changes brought in by the present Coalition government present significant challenges to the Church’s continued involvement in the public education system.

“The changed rationale and growth of academies requires action now to ensure the survival of our provision.”

He is critical of the speed at which the reforms have been pushed through Parliament, saying: “This is not the best way to build for the future.”

In related news, the role of church schools in Wales is today being debated in a seminar today led by the Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews and two Archbishops.

A new document called ‘Faith in Education’ will launched at the seminar.

The document outlines the positive contribution of church schools in the publicly funded school system.

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