Church schools and academies

There are 4,630 Church of England schools and 200 church schools in Wales. Church schools are supported by their local Diocesan Board of Education.


Young school child writing at table in class Diocese of Guildford

Church schools in numbers

  • Approximately 1 million children attend Church of England schools.
  • About 15 million people alive today went to a Church of England school.
  • A quarter of all primary schools and 228 secondary schools are Church of England.
  • There are 1,540 Church of England academies with 280 Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) holding Church of England Articles. This makes the Church of England the biggest provider of academies in England.
  • Over 500 independent schools declare themselves to be Church of England in ethos.
  • Across the country, Church of England 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.

Types of church school

Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools
Voluntary Aided (VA) schools
Foundation schools
Affiliated schools


Governors are volunteers who offer strategic guidance and support to their school communities. Anybody over-18 can be a governor and it is a great way to give your skills back to the community. The Education Office, working with diocesan education teams, supports the training, resourcing and development of governors in Church of England schools.

If you have any questions concerning governance issues, becoming a governor, or are looking for training as a governor in a Church of England school please contact your diocesan education office.



Schools' admissions policies are not decided at a national level. They are set at a local level so that they can take into account the specific needs of their communities.

In Voluntary Aided and Foundation schools the Governing body is the admissions authority.  For academies the Academy Trust or Multi-Academy Trust itself acting through its board of directors is the admissions authority.  As such, it is the governing body or board of directors that draws up the admissions policy in consultation with the diocese, the LA and all other admissions authorities in the area.

In Voluntary Controlled schools it is the Local Authority that is the admissions authority.

Admissions policies must conform to the Government's Admissions Code and have regard to the school's Trust deed.

If you have any queries about a school's specific admissions policy please begin by contacting your diocesan education office.


History of church schools

The Church of England has always been concerned with education in many forms and the history of Church schools began when the National Society for the Promotion of Education was founded in 1811.


Learn more

School anniversaries

If your Church of England school is celebrating a significant anniversary you can order a certificate to commemorate the occasion.

The certificate is signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (President of The National Society), the Bishop of Ely (Chair of the National Society Council) and Revd Nigel Genders (Chief Education Officer).

Please use the form below to order a certificate. Orders should be submitted at least 2 months before the certificate is required.

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Main administrative and pastoral area in the Church of England – often roughly coincides with local county boundaries. There are 42 dioceses.