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Church of England Free Schools

Volume 671: debated on Thursday 6 February 2020

8. What recent discussions he has had with the Commissioners on increasing the number of Church of England free schools in England. (900643)

The Church has been a successful partner in the free schools programme since it began. Dioceses work hard to help these new schools to open. The Church is also keen to support new alternative provision and special schools through the free schools programme.

The fantastic Fulham Boys School will finally open at its new site in September, after a 10-year campaign. It is a Church of England-sponsored free school whose co-patrons are myself and Graham Tomlin, the Bishop of Kensington. However, the latest wave of free school applications shows very few involving the Church of England. What can my hon. Friend do, in his role, to persuade the Church to sponsor more free schools?

The Church of England educates a million children. It runs a fifth of all schools in England, and 91% of those are good or outstanding, which is just one of the reasons why they are so popular with parents. The Church is the largest sponsor of academies in England, with 900. I am delighted to learn that there has been a happy conclusion to Fulham Boys School’s search for a new site, and I know that lots of parents are very happy with the school.