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All Church of England high schools 'want to become academies'

EVERY Church of England high school in Lancashire is interested in becoming an academy, according to teaching unions.

Now six unions have joined forces to fight the potential changes.

No-one from the Blackburn Diocese was available for comment but unions said its members had been told of the plans.

Already it has been announced that St Wilfrid’s CofE High School Technology College, Blackburn and St Christopher’s CofE High School, Accrington, are interested.

Outside of East Lancashire bids are expected to be made by Bishop Rawstorne CofE High School, Croston, St. Michael’s CofE High School, Chorley, Ripley S Thomas CofE High School, Lancaster and St Aidans CofE High School, Preesall.

Now National Union of Teachers, NASUWT, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, along with UNISON, Unite and GMB have teamed up to fight the plans.

The unions fear the move by the Church of England schools have a financially ‘detrimental’ effect on schools who do not sign up to the government scheme.

Becoming an academy allows schools to control their budgets and offers additional benefits such as developing their own curriculum, and taking charge of their admissions.

But unions have argued that additional money is taken from the budget for other schools to give to those which convert.

John Girdley, national executive member and Lancashire representative for the NASUWT, said “This is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“I am concerned that schools that set such store by the local family of church schools have not seen that their proposals could lead to other church schools, and in particular their local feeder primary schools, losing money.”

“There is a lot of disquiet among our members in these schools.”

Ken Cridland, Lancashire secretary of the NUT, said: “I am surprised that Church of England schools are putting their own interests before those of others. It simply doesn’t seem to fit into the Christian ethos.”

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School was the first school to open as the new type of academy in the new year.

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