Monday, January 01, 2007

Anglican Land Grab

According to this mornings Times the Anglican Church, not content with being encouraged to set up new schools whether they are wanted or not, has decided to exploit the Government's craven attitude towards "Faith" Schools to mount a hostile takeover of one of Liverpool's leading state schools the Bluecoat School.

Currently the Bluecoat is a non-denominational selective state school who's intake is broadly representative of Liverpool. According to the current Headmaster the school has been non-denomintational for at least the 41 years he has been teaching there with no contact from the Church. However the CofE has, on the basis of the school's founding charter that states that the school was created to amongst other things teach "in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of England", applied to the Government to have the school designated as a CofE school under its control. DfES has indicated that it it is minded to do so.

The Church has decided to exploit provisions in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 that state that a school "cannot gain, lose or change its religious character". They are arguing that as the Bluecoat was originally established as a CofE school in 1708 the fact that it has since become non-denominational to all extents and purposes and the Church has had no relationship with it for at least half a century is immaterial it is theirs.

In a city like Liverpool who's education system is already heavily segregated reflecting its history of deep secterian divides the last thing it needs is one of its best schools closing its doors to over 75% of its population. Even worse is the arrogance of the CofE in wanting to waltz in and take over the school (and its land and other assets) for their own purposes and hang the local community. And the Government, well they wil be happy as in a few years time they will be able to point to yet another "faith" school that is outperforming its neighbourhours and put it down to the magic of its "faith" ethos.

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