What does it mean to be a 'Church of England school'?
A Church of England school is, like community schools, funded through the Local Authority, but the buildings are owned by the Diocese of Ely. A majority of the governing body posts are 'Foundation' governors, with a specific role to support the Christian foundation and ethos of the school. Church schools undergo SIAMS (Church-run) inspections as well as government OFSTED inspections. Church schools may set their own admission criteria - Oakington's admission policy is to welcome all pupils regardless of religious belief.
In the everyday running of the school, there is little difference between a Church school and a community school. However the ethos of a school can be strongly influenced by its Christian foundation. While recognising that the pupils and staff are of all faiths and none, the school as a whole holds an act of 'collective' worship every day. The love and care for each other which is at the heart of the Christian faith is exemplified in the attitudes and relationships found and encouraged at the school.
The Archbishop of Canterbury explains:
“A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it, that sense that people are worth spending time with, that people need time to grow, need loving attention. The Christian Gospel says that every person has a unique task to do, with God, and for God, whether they know it or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone involved has to share the same theology or philosophy. It doesn’t mean that everyone knows that they have this relationship with God, and is consciously working at it. But a Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by a conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody.”