Bishop calls for church to have legal power to intervene in struggling schools

The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James. Picture: James Bass

The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

The Bishop of Norwich has called for church boards of education to be given legal powers to intervene in under-performing church schools.

Speaking about the education bill in a House of Lords debate about the Queen's Speech yesterday, Rt Rev Graham James said there are 4,500 Church of England primary schools and about 200 high schools, but, unlike local authorities, the church only has direct responsibility for school improvement with its academies.

He said: 'I ask the minister whether his department will grant diocesan boards of education such powers, because dioceses are sometimes criticised for failing to take action without the capacity to do so.'

Government minister Lord Hunt said: 'Church schools and academies play a crucial role in the education system and we will, of course, engage with the church and other faith groups as the bill progresses.'

The bishop was one of the original sponsors of Norfolk's first academy, the Open Academy in Norwich, and the Diocese of Norwich Education & Academies Trust is the fastest-growing academy chain in Norfolk.


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