The Church of England has a long association with education in this country stretching back over 200 years. It was from 1811 that the Church, through its various Christian benefactors, started providing what could be described as the very first ‘free schools’ when education was made available without charge for all. It is a proud history and one not passed up or passed over lightly.
The Church has never stood still in its links with education and schooling. It has evolved and adapted its role in the light and context of changing times, both social and political. This is as true in today’s world as ever, and is why there has been two centuries of unbroken provision.
The Church needs to respond to new educational landscapes and the challenges and opportunities they bring. Hence the Diocese’s creation of an Academy Trust. It wants to be in a position where it can continue to serve and support the schools for which it shares responsibility and care; those in the Diocesan family of schools and, in turn, those whom such schools seek to serve.
Our aim is to establish an environment in which schools can flourish as successful Academies. The Church of England schools in our Diocese have always had a commitment to working together; operating as institutions living their Christian mission. We have always tried to work effectively with other organisations: with Local and National Government, and with each other, to create the very best for the children and young people in our care. Belonging to the Diocesan Trust strengthens those opportunities. It provides a supportive and appropriately-challenging environment for school leaders and governors to achieve the very best for their school.
We believe we have created a context for bringing about rapid improvement where it is needed by working collaboratively with other improvement partners. We also believe we can help already-successful schools to grow in strength by providing the right kind of challenge, as well as targeted support. We will provide excellent professional opportunities for all those working in our schools, maximize the financial resources available for pupils and students and ensure that the successes of our schools are widely publicised.
We firmly believe in autonomous schools that are properly accountable and focused on providing the richest possible learning environments for their children. We think that other schools, beyond the family of Church of England schools, will be attracted to the values of our Trust and they will be welcome to explore and consider joining us.