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Academies Delighted by Praise

by Michael Ford last modified 10 May, 2012 04:06 PM

“We very much value the contribution that Church of England schools and academies make to our education system,” said Schools Minister Lord Hill at the Church of England’s Academy Family Conference at Lambeth Palace last week (Monday 15 November).

Academies Delighted by Praise

Cheryl Heron, Principal of St Aldhelm's Academy

The conference, attended by representatives of 36 of the Church of England’s 42 academies, heard that new supporting documents have now been agreed with the Department of Education to enable the smooth conversion of CofE schools to academy status.

Lord Hill added:  "I look forward to seeing more excellent Church of England academies opening over the coming months, working in partnership with other schools to raise aspiration and tackle disadvantage in line with the moral purpose of the Church of England's educational mission.”

Director of Education Chris Shepperd said today, “I’m delighted with the Minister’s comments, as they bear out what we have sought to achieve all along: to bring a positive Christian ethos, to improve educational standards, and to inspire young people to make the best of their abilities.”

Principal of Sarum Academy, Ruth Johnson, attending the conference said, “It’s good to get this endorsement. We are developing tailored learning for each of our pupils, to give them the best start in life they can have. We aim to deal with the whole person, to help them develop personal character and a love of learning, rather than just how to pass exams.”

Principal of St Aldhelm’s Academy Cheryl Heron, speaking at the conference, said, “Our curriculum is based on the belief that we should meet the needs of every individual child, helping them to develop as human beings, whilst continually endorsing the importance of raising standards of educational achievement so that they are equipped to live life fully and contribute to the lives of others.”

She added, “The young people were involved in the development of our curriculum - we asked them what they wanted to do when they left school and what subjects we should offer to help them achieve their dream. We have introduced a lot of vocational subjects into our curriculum now such as Hair and Beauty, Construction, Performing Arts, IMedia and many others. The only students we couldn’t help were the one who wanted to be a wrestler and the other who wanted to appear on X factor!”



The CofE is currently the largest provider of academies, with the majority replacing failing or vulnerable schools in areas of social deprivation.

1. The purpose of the new documentation (memorandums and articles and supporting documents) agreed with the Department of Education is to ensure the continuing development of Christian distinctiveness and connection with the Church of England school family. The documentation will be available at

2. The Church of England, through its dioceses, sponsors or co-sponsors 42 academies with three more expected to open within the next year. The majority of CofE academies have replaced vulnerable or failing schools. More than 300 CofE schools have currently registered an interest in converting to academy status and 24 have submitted a formal application.

The Diocese of Salisbury currently sponsors two academies.

3. The 36 academies were represented at the conference by either the Principal, a senior staff member, a governor (most likely the Chair) or the Diocesan Director of Education; in some cases all four.

4. Lord Hill of Oareford was made a life peer and appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools in May 2010.  Before working in the private sector, Lord Hill was an adviser in Whitehall in the 1980s and 90s.

For further information, contact Michael Ford, Communications Co-ordinator:
01722 438651,

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