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Taxal and Fernilee CE Primary School

Church school ethos

This page provides further details of our position as a voluntary controlled church school, within the Diocese of Cheshire. Thank you to the Church of England website for providing much of this information.

History of C of E schools

The Church has been involved in education for many centuries. Some Church schools in this Diocese are older than the Diocese itself.

However, most Church schools came about through the drive to provide mass provision of Christian education for the poor in the early and middle years of the 19th century. 'The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church,' now known as The National Society (Church of England) for Promoting Religious Education (or more often simply the National Society) was created in 1811 with the mission of founding a Church school in every parish in England and Wales. In this Diocese an organisation was established shortly afterwards with a similar objective.

By the time of the national census of 1851, forty years later, the Church had established 17,000 schools. State provision for public education came with the 1870 Education Act by supplementing the churches' provision. This Act demonstrated the partnership between the state and the churches in education, which has continued to the present day. At the beginning of the 20th century there were over 14,000 voluntary schools of which rather more than 1,000 were Roman Catholic, and a similar number provided by the Wesleyans and others and the majority of the rest were Church of England.

At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, after seventy years of state provision, the churches were still providing schools for nearly a third of the children of school age. The Church was facing difficulty maintaining the quality of premises and equipment of these schools, but they were needed by the State to maintain provision across the country.

The 1944 Education Act gave Church schools the option of increased State funding and control as ‘Voluntary Controlled schools’ or lesser State support and greater independence as ‘Voluntary Aided schools’. This Act also required all schools to have a daily act of collective worship and religious instruction. By the 1950s and 1960s the Roman Catholic Church expanded its school provision vigorously, especially at the secondary level. By comparison, the expansion in Anglican secondary schools was modest and the number of its primary schools declined.

In 2000, the Government created the first academies were created and these became known as 'Sponsored Academies' to distinguish them from 'Converter Academies' which, along with Free Schools, became possible after the 2010 Education Act. Now a number of our schools sit with Multi-academy Trusts.

In 1939, there were 218 Church of England Schools in the Diocese of Chester. This number reduced but in recent years has grown to 115. 


What does it mean to be a church school?

Church schools pride themselves in providing an education for the whole child in a Christian environment. They seek to ensure that all children and young people achieve the best of which they are capable in a caring atmosphere that recognises the special gifts of each individual. They are places where the beliefs and practices of other faiths will be respected

Each child's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is fostered within a Christian environment. Moral teaching is based firmly within the teaching of the Bible. They enable children and their families to explore the truths of Christian faith, to develop spiritually and morally, and to have a basis for choice about Christian commitment. 


What is a Voluntary Controlled Church

The types of church school within the state education sector are

 - voluntary controlled

 - voluntary aided

 - foundation schools (all maintained by the Local Authority (LA)) 

 - academies. 


The categories, aided or controlled, refer to a schools' association with the LA.

In a controlled school, (like Taxal and Fernilee) the Church appoints some of the governors, and the collective worship is in accordance with the teachings of the Church of England.

Religious Education follows the same syllabus as for community schools, although parents can request teaching in accordance with the teachings of the Church of England. Church trustees normally own the buildings, but the LA is responsible for maintaining them. The LA employs the staff and controls admissions.


Links to our local parish

The vicar for our parish is Reverend Frances Eccleston. For more information about either Holy Trinity church (Whaley Bridge), or St James church (Taxal), please visit the following website.


Our latest church inspection report