Church of England to Create 100,000 New Faith School Places

The Church of England is preparing to create up to 100,000 places across 100 schools over the next four years, The Telegraph newspaper has reported.

This week the General Synod will come together, and it is expected to give its endorsement to plans which could see the Church oversee almost one in ten of England's secondary school pupils by 2011.

The decision is likely to reignite the faith schools debate. In 2001, a report by the former chairman of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, recommended that the Church, which runs 4,470 primary schools but just 220 secondary schools, take control of an additional 100 secondary schools.

The recommendation was made so that children who went to Church primary schools could continue their studies at similar Church secondary schools.

However, in the six years that followed that recommendation, just 34 new Church secondary schools have been opened up.

In the proposals set for this week's General Synod, the Church may look to build new schools, as well as take over other non-church schools.

The Telegraph reports that 24 schools are already in a well-advanced stage, while William Fittal at the release of the Synod agenda said a further 70 were "within reach".

In total, more than 2.7 million children attend faith schools of all denominations in England.

If the Synod does give its blessings to the plans, it will be good news for parents. Many of the Church of England secondary schools are heavily over-subscribed.