Churches warn on school plan

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The Independent Online
Sweeping proposals for a new schools framework could shatter the 50-year-old partnership between Church and state in education, churches warned ministers yesterday.

In separate responses to the Government's education White Paper, Excellence in Schools, the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Catholic Education Service all expressed strong reservations over the plans to divide state schools into three new categories - community, foundation or aided.

Aided status is the category intended to appeal to voluntary aided church schools, but churches' overall majorities on those governing bodies would be reduced from two or three to one. The move, according to the Catholic Education Service "seriously weakens the link between our schools and the Catholic community".

The churches also fear the proposals could deny governing bodies control over admissions. Schools might even decide to abandon formal links with churches entirely.