MAX COLSON/CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, at the C of E National Education Conference on Friday
THE Government is still committed to protecting schools with religious character as it continues to strive for universal academisation, the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, told a National Church of England Education Conference on Friday.
In the opening keynote address to the 900 people who gathered for the conference in Union Chapel in north London on Friday morning, Ms Keegan said: “We will protect your schools, so that, when they become academies, they retain the statutory freedoms and protections that apply to church schools. It means working in each area to shape the right plan at the right pace that builds the quality that our pupils need.”
Plans for every school in England to become part of — or in the process of joining — a multi-academy trust by 2030 were first set out in a White Paper, Opportunity for All, last March (Features, 10 June 2022).
Legislation to protect schools with a religious character under these plans were later detailed in the Schools Bill, which the Government had said would “raise education standards across the country”. The nuances of this were scrutinised in the House of Lords over the summer, including by Bishops, many of whom were critical of aspects of the Bill (News, 15 July 2022). Several amendments were proposed but lost.
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Government will protect church schools, Education Secretary tells C of E conference