Letter: Church schools are here to stay

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The Independent Online
Sir: Judith Judd (6 August) raises some interesting points. I must, however, take issue with her statement that during the past 30 years church schools have been playing down their differences with county schools.

During the Eighties, when I was this board's Schools Officer, we were constantly debating what made church schools distinctive: this is no recent preoccupation. Indeed, the Durham Report of 20 years ago addressed this very issue - a very proper issue because if church schools are not in some way distinctive, then why have them? What is highlighted in Ms Judd's quotation from the Rev Dr John Gay is perhaps the proper reticence of church schools to claim that by being distinctive or different from county schools they are necessarily better or more caring. Such a claim would indeed be presumptuous.

Ms Judd's reference to the handbook on church schools and colleges is a reminder that church schools which become grant-

maintained do not cease to be church schools and the range of publications the board and its sister body, the National Society, produce will be no less relevant to them.

The White Paper does indeed raise many questions, and consideration of its implications must continue. This board is currently actively considering what opportunities, challenges and, indeed, possible dangers, can be discerned both for church schools and the maintained system as a whole. There should be no underestimation of the Church of England's determination to continue to play a significant part in the schooling system of this country.

Yours faithfully,

GEOFFREY DUNCAN

General Secretary

Board of Education

The General Synod of

the Church of England

London, SW1

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