An amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, which safeguards land held for church academies has been welcomed by the Church of England’s lead Bishop for Education.
The reintroduction of clauses originally found in the Schools Bill will ensure land is transferred to academy trusts by local authorities, following government plans for all schools to be in an academy trust by 2030. Academies are outside local authority control and government funded.
The amendment will protect the statutory freedoms and protections of church schools and schools with a religious character during this process.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, Lead Bishop for Education said it was a “vital step towards ensuring school sites continue to be used for those original charitable purposes and enabling schools with a religious character to engage with the changing educational landscape.”
Butler said the legislation would be beneficial to all religious schools and provide “reassurance to dioceses regarding academisation and the protection of land provided for the purposes of a church school.”