Church Schools & Academies

The Church of England has a long and successful history of involvement in education and schooling. As a statutory provider of schooling, the Church has built a very strong and respected position in England and Wales.

Key facts:

Church of England schools are highly effective.

76% of CofE Secondary schools are rated 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted. That is 4% higher than the national average for non CofE schools. And 81% of CofE Primary schools are rated 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, which is 3% higher than the national average for non CofE schools.  (Ofsted Summary of Latest Judgements (accurate as of 30th June 2013)

Church of England schools are inclusive

At CofE secondary schools, 15% of CofE Secondary pupils are eligible for Free School Meals. This is in line with the national average for non CofE schools which is also 15%. (2013 School Census, Department for Education)

Pupils at CofE schools come from a wide variety of backgrounds. 25% of pupils attending CofE Secondary schools are from Black or Minority Ethnic backgrounds (Non-CofE 26%) (2013 School Census, Department for Education)

Church of England schools are distinctive

Church of England schools have a distinctive identity and ethos, popular with parents and families, where the development of social, spiritual and emotional intelligence is as important as academic achievement.

92% of CofE Primary schools and 90% of CofE Secondary schools are rated 'Good' or 'Outstanding' under the SIAMS inspection framework, which assesses levels of spiritual and pastoral support 

Download our 'The Church of England's contribution to schools' Factsheet

In Brief

  • Approximately 1 million children attend CofE schools
  • About 15 million people alive today went to one
  • 4443 (25%) of all primary and middle schools are CofE
  • 221 (6%) secondary schools are CofE
  • With more than 80 sponsored and 277 converter academies, the Church is the biggest provider in England
  • 564 independent schools declare themselves to be CofE
  • Across the country, CofE clergy dedicate a million hours every year to working with children and young people in schools, often providing holiday and after-school activities.
  • There are 22,500 Foundation Governors in Church schools recruited, trained and supported by dioceses. 
  • Each diocese runs a Diocesan Board of Education supporting Church schools, which represents an annual investment of over £15 million.

(Figures last updated November 2013)

Inclusive schools for the community

Church of England schools are established primarily for the communities they are located in. They are inclusive and serve equally those who are of the Christian faith, those of other faiths and those with no faith. More on schools.

Admissions Advice from Board of Education/National Society to Diocesan Boards of Education

Church schools are recognised for their distinctive Christian ethos and the impact this has on standards and all round education. The proportions of Church schools regarded as 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted is higher than the national average. .

Focus on the future

Church schools should be effective, distinctive and inclusive.  In 2012 we published the Chadwick Report, which has led to new initiatives and ways of working to maintain high standards.

The Chadwick Report - Church School of the Future: read the full report here

Protecting and developing our schools for the next decade

Secondary schools

During the last 10 years there has been a focus on increasing the number of secondary schools. Nearly one hundred new schools or academies have been opened during this period.


The first wave Academy programme enabled the establishment of many new and forward thinking schools sponsored or co-sponsored by the dioceses. The academies have opened up new opportunities and new life chances for nearly 45000 young people all living in disadvantaged areas. This is a clear example of the out-working of the Church's mission in education.


The Church school system is managed and developed through the individual dioceses.  Each Diocese has a Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) which is served by a Diocesan Director of Education (DDE).  DBEs oversee local developments and support schools on a day to day basis.

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