What is a Church of England school?
Church of England schools were originally founded way back in 1811 when Joshua Watson, a wine merchant, founded the “National Society for the Promotion of Education for the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church” with the aim of establishing a school in every community. This was intended to enable all children to receive an education – no longer just the children of the wealthy – in recognition that education would help children to flourish. In modern Britain, Church of England schools remain rooted in the original and fundamental principle of service to all children, all communities and all of society. Church of England schools strive to embody Christian vision driven by clear Christian values and are welcoming to children of all faiths or none.
We are not practising Christians. Can we still apply?
Yes! As a Church of England School we welcome children of all faiths and none. Our admissions arrangements do not favour church attendance or religious affiliation. Our Christian ethos will be manifested in our daily acts of worship (as required in all schools by the 1988 Education Reform Act), however, parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from the daily act of worship either partially or wholly. Teachers also have the right to withdraw from leading or taking part in worship.
How inclusive are Church of England schools?
Within our Trust we already have Church of England schools and so have first-hand experience of how education provided in CofE schools is fully inclusive (starting with admissions, which you will see have no faith-based criteria). These schools share universal British values, such as mutual respect and tolerance. The curriculum in a CofE school is as broad and enriching as a community school with the RE curriculum ensuring that children learn about all religions as set out in the locally agreed syllabus. A CofE school is established to serve the community in which it is situated and is fully inclusive, welcoming children and families of all faiths and none.
How much control will the Diocese/Church of England have over the school?
In maintained schools the ‘control’ of a Church of England School is expressed as a Majority (Voluntary Aided) or Minority (Voluntary Controlled) school. The difference is the extent to which the Governors of the school own their own land and employ the staff, and how many of the Governors are appointed by the Diocese. As a Free School, Windrush CofE will be modelled on a Voluntary Controlled School legal arrangement. All Local Governors at Windrush CofE will be appointed by RLT Trustees and only a minority (25%) will initially have been nominated by the Diocese. All Governors will need to commit to RLT’s objectives. The school estate will be owned by the county council and leased to the Trust for 125 years. The school will be subject to a Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). Details of this inspection are available here.