Revealed: The 7 new faith school trusts at the heart of the DfE’s academies drive

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The government has named the first seven new faith school trusts it is funding to help drive its academisation “vision”.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson announced plans for a Diocesan trust formation pilot last month, along with a host of new policies to get more schools to become academies and join trusts.

faith school
Paul Barber

The pilot was established in partnership with the Church of England and Catholic Church to boost the number of faith school trusts.

The DfE said last month it would provide £800,000 in set-up funding to support the formation of nine new trusts.

Seven have been named today, including five Catholic trusts and two CofE trusts. Two more trusts set up under the initiative are yet to be named.

The government said the pilot would give more faith schools the opportunity to join strong trusts across the country.

Nigel Genders, chief education officer at the Church of England, said the scheme would “improve the experience of hundreds of thousands of children” and “further enrich the academy sector”.

Paul Barber, director of the Catholic Education Service, said it would provide Catholic schools the “confidence” to join an academy trust and allow them to “witness the benefits of working within a family of schools”.

New guidance released today states the pilot will run until March 31, 2022.

‘Turnaround’ trust will help improve Liverpool schools

The government also revealed today a separate £1.25 million “turnaround” Catholic trust will work in the south Sefton and north Liverpool areas.

Williamson had previously said the DfE would work with the CES to establish the North West Catholic Dioceses MAT to “specifically support Catholic schools in need of intensive support”. The trust will act as a “temporary home” for inadequate Catholic schools.

However, until today it was not known which specific areas would be involved.

The DfE said the trust would work with Catholic schools in the Dioceses of Liverpool and Shrewsbury. In practice, it expects most schools transferring to the trust to be located in the Liverpool city region.

Updated guidance states the pilot trust will officially be launched later in 2021 .

Church schools not taking part in the pilot can still join or set up a trust but the DfE advises they speak to their diocese and regional schools commissioner before taking the leap.

New faith trusts: The full list

New Church of England academy trusts

The Diocese of Worcester: Elements Diocesan Learning Trust

The Diocese of Lincoln: St Lawrence Academy

New Catholic academy trusts

The Diocese of Clifton: The Cardinal Newman Catholic Educational Trust

The Diocese of Clifton: The Dunstan Catholic Educational Trust

The Archdiocese of Birmingham: Our Lady and All Saints Catholic Multi-Academy Company

The Diocese of Lancaster: Mater Christi Multi Academy Trust

The Archdiocese of Southwark: South East London Catholic Academy Trust

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  1. Just wondered why the DfE have not supported the growth of multi faith trusts? In this age of inclusion I am surprised that this has not been considered.

  2. John Dowdle

    Is the Government also planning on setting up 7 secular school trusts, where the main syllabus will involve reason and logic, instead of myth and superstition?

  3. C WILKS

    Our experience of Faith Trust here in Warwickshire has been v mixed. Across 6 schools Ofsted reports make illuminating reading none Outstanding. Comments reveal some concerning issues. We are left asking is this ALL about economics… Its certainly not convincing as a sound educational model.In Ofsted speak…. REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT.