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Thousands of faith schools are set to become academies in a fundamental shift in the role of the church in state education.
A “domino effect” will mean that up to 70 per cent of the Church of England’s 4,800 schools will convert to academy status within five years, according to the chairman of the church’s board of education, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford.
A number of Catholic and minority faith schools are due to follow suit, resulting in considerable new powers for church schools over admissions, curriculum and funding.
The CofE’s influence is also set to grow as it fills the void created by cuts to local authorities. As well as supporting its own schools, the church is likely to provide a range of services to non-faith schools, Bishop Pritchard said.
“In the long run that there will be a major shift to academies because it is what the Government is determined shall be,” he said.
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