Church of England schools are established primarily for the communities in which they are located. They are inclusive and serve equally those who are of the Christian faith, those of other faiths and those with no faith.
Church schools are recognised for their distinctive Christian ethos and the impact this has on standards and all-round education. The proportions of Church schools regarded as 'outstanding' (by Ofsted) is much higher than the national norm and yet the Church schools are fully inclusive.
Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools
A voluntary aided school is a State-funded school in England or Wales in which a foundation or trust (the Church of England) owns the school buildings, contributes a proportion to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school. Such schools have more autonomy than voluntary controlled schools, which are entirely funded by the State. VA schools always have a majority of Foundation (Church appointed) Governors on the Board of Governors.
Voluntary Controlled (VC) Schools
A voluntary controlled school is a State-funded school in England, Wales or Northern Ireland in which a foundation or trust (the Church of England) has some formal influence in the running of the school. Such schools have less autonomy than voluntary aided schools and normally Foundation (Church appointed) Governors are in a minority on the Board of Governors.
The Church of England, through its dioceses, is the biggest provider of academies established under the original programme. There are now 45 open academies, either sponsored or co-sponsored by the Church. The academies, serving over 50,000 young people, are part of the Church's mission towards community regeneration. In his speech at the 2009 founding conference of the Church Academy Family, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about academies being a fresh investment in giving people the tools they need to make sense of life and a resource for achieving justice and liberation for people in situations of challenge. Lord Hill spoke positively and encouragingly at the 2010 Family Conference about the Church's Academy Programme. The Academies' Act 2010 introduced the possibility of all schools becoming academies. The National Society, in conjunction with the dioceses, is working actively with the Department of Education to provide specific guidance and support on the process of conversion. There will be further developments in the near future concerning other variations on the academies' theme. This will include Free Schools, University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools.