Building Foundations

The Diocese of Liverpool published its review of the work of the Diocesan Board of Education at its annual Headteachers’ Conference on September 27th.

The review, carried out by an independent review group which took at root and branch look at the way the Board aims to support and promote church schools across the diocese.

While the review group “remain very optimistic about the future contribution of church schools and academies to the mission of the Diocese of Liverpool and the ability of the Board of Education and Education Department to continue to support them appropriately” the report did raise a number of concerns about the changing educational environment and a series of recommendations for the future.

There was concern among church schools over the changing role of local authorities and whether the diocese could and should fill the gaps. It also raised concerns over the uncertainty about future income from capital project work following the government’s spending cuts.

The report records serious objections to the exclusion of Religious Education from the English Baccalaureate and the reduction in university places for the training of RE teachers, recommending that, despite this, RE should remain a ‘core’ GCSE subject in Church secondary schools.

The report concludes in an optimistic tone stating “The last decade in particular has provided firm foundations for the future contribution of church schools and academies and our report is offered as a contribution to ensuring that these are built upon in the next decade and beyond.”

Canon Geoff Almond who chaired the Review Group said “The Diocesan Education Review Group recognises the value and the professionalism of the work undertaken by the staff of the Diocesan Board of Education and by the staff and governors in our schools as they accompany the children in their care on their journey to Faith.

In a world of increasing accountability, this is at the heart of what a Church of England school tries to do as it carries out its distinctive mission of education and faith in its community.”

Jon Richardson, Director of Education said “we’re immensely grateful for this report which sets out in a refreshingly honest way the challenges they set out. Church schools remain a vital part of educational provision in this country and the diocese remains committed to promoting and supporting excellent church schools providing a quality educational experience”.