Education minister urges faith leaders to turn schools into academies
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Education minister urges faith leaders to turn schools into academies

Damian Hinds tells round table of faith representatives of the benefits of academization, as Jewish group speaks of 'interest in forming multi academy trusts' instead

Faith leaders, including a representative of the Board of Deputies (second right) attend the meeting on academisation
Faith leaders, including a representative of the Board of Deputies (second right) attend the meeting on academisation

Faith leaders are being encouraged to convert more of their schools to academies.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds told a round table of representatives from all major faiths that becoming an academy would see them join hundreds of schools already benefiting from higher standards.

During the meeting on Tuesday he set out that academy status means placing freedom into the hands of school leaders and helping schools to work together to achieve more than they can alone.

More than a quarter of state-funded faith schools already have academy status and more than 100 faith free schools are open or due to open soon.

The Department for Education is also calling on more people from faith groups to offer their time and expertise as school governors and trustees.

A spokesperson for the Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), said it “supports all schools including helping schools through the academisation route.”

“However there is increasing interest in the possibility of forming multi academy trusts, and we are working with a number of schools that are considering this option.”

“There are certainly benefits for schools to working in closer collaboration, whether through the formal process of a MAT or less formal arrangements, and this is of increasing interest to our schools. ”

Board of Deputies Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, who attended the meeting, said: “We were pleased to be part of this meeting, which was a useful opportunity to discuss the benefits of faith schools and the academy route in particular. 1 in 7 Jewish schools now have academy or free school status and, through our strong working relationship with the Department for Education, we will continue to support Jewish schools whatever status they choose.”

Mr Hinds said: “The diversity of schools in this country is one our education system’s most valuable assets, and faith schools play a pivotal role in that.

“They have led the way in embracing our reforms, with innovative free schools and high-performing academies, taking advantage of the freedom and autonomy those choices provide.

“Faith schools make up one-third of the schools in England. I want to see even more faith schools enjoying the benefits of academy conversion, with even more faith groups using the exciting opportunity the free schools route provides.

“In doing so, the leaders of these schools will ensure they are the ones making the right decisions for their pupils and for their communities, as I firmly believe they should be.”

Representatives from the Church of England, Muslim, Catholic, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu faiths, and from the Methodist Church attended the meeting.

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