Approximately a quarter of all primary schools and a number of secondary schools have a Church of England foundation, through which they strive, in partnership with the state, to provide the highest standard of education possible.
Each school has a distinctive Christian vision and embodies the fundamental principle of service to all children, all communities and all of society.
Many church schools were established in the 18th and 19th centuries, long before the state became involved in providing education for all children. The Church of England had a vision that it wanted every parish to have a school for the education of poor children and they were established under trusts to provide education for the ‘poor of the parish’. The Church of England formed the National Society to promote this vision and this continues today in the work of the Church of England Education Office.
Today, church schools should be distinctive in their collective worship, Religious Education (RE), their ethos and the ways in which their Christian vision is realised in the daily life of the school. While church schools have a Christian foundation it is not assumed that children are practising Christians. However, the ethos of church schools is based on a distinctively Christian vision and they will offer children an experience of faith through collective worship and links with the parish church.
Church schools are inspected by Ofsted and also by inspectors trained and appointed by the Church of England Education Office (CEEO). This is not a diocesan inspection; the inspectors follow the Schedule for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS).