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Voluntary aided schools - how would that affect DC in practical terms?

(11 Posts)
stickygotstuck Fri 26-Apr-13 12:19:07


Just that really. I know that voluntary aided schools are in property that belongs to the relevant church, they get funding from both the LA and the church, and the board of governors has far more autonomy (and the church more say) than those in voluntary controlled/community primaries.

But can anybody please explain what the difference is in practical terms? How does that affect the day to day running of the school, activities, etc.? What difference would it make to DD - and me?

Thanks smile

spanieleyes Fri 26-Apr-13 17:11:14

Possibly-more church services, prayers, teaching of christanity, longer RE lessons etc. Also possibly more requests for "voluntary contributions" for general school costs ( as opposed to trips etc)
But each school will be different, there are no hard and fast rules.

learnandsay Sat 27-Apr-13 11:19:20

We had an example of a blocked sewer in a church school in this forum a while back and the maintenance seemed to be being handled rather ineffectually by the diocese property management office.

I know of two CofE schools in my area one is incredibly "churchy" and sends the children home telling bible stories and saying prayers and in the other on parents visits the Y6 children couldn't explain what the bible in the corridor was, was for or what was in it.

So far voluntary contributions don't seem out of the ordinary and seem a lot less than some that I've head about anecdotally.

BreconBeBuggered Sat 27-Apr-13 14:47:07

From my own experience I'd have said there was little difference, but of course individual schools and governing bodies vary so much. You're not likely to find a head at a VA school who gets away with trying to fudge the statutory requirement for worship of a Christian nature, but that's about all you can guarantee.

stickygotstuck Sun 28-Apr-13 08:29:30

Sorry for the delay in replying - been away.

Thank you for your replies. So it looks like there shouldn't be a massive difference then, aside from the understandable 'churchiness'.

Any other experiences out there?

mummytime Sun 28-Apr-13 08:39:22

The two real differences are likely to be: the application criteria, usually church attendance is on the list somewhere; funding for new buildings, often the church and or school have to raise 10%, which is quite a lot.

Some community schools can be far more churchy than some VA schools.

I wouldn't look at the label but actually visit the school and see what it is really like.

scaevola Sun 28-Apr-13 08:59:32

One thing I think is pretty certain is that you will be harassed more often than you think humanly possible by children coming home with forms and pleas to "sponsor me" for some tedious activity or other.

The required input into capital cost might not sound much as a proportion, but can still be a large sum that has to be met. They often self-fund improvements to buildings and facilities too (any school can do this, it's just VA ones seem to go in for it a lot).

LadyLech Sun 28-Apr-13 09:11:49

The humanists have produced a grid that shows the difference between the different types of schools. I've just had a quick search for it, but cannot find it.

However, this one is similar (but not quite as good)

Frikadellen Sun 28-Apr-13 11:51:57

My children go to a VA Cof E school. We as a family are not C of E.

What happens in our school (small village school 107 students in total) is the priest is closely involved with the school and often comes to assembly. The school attends church about 4 times a year for different services made specifically for the school. (Harvest, Christmas, Easter, Leavers service) and we are often invited to come to other things the church is doing plus informed about church events.

The Bishop of our local Diocese came to open the new school building 2 years ago the children thought this was very exciting, He let them try on his hat..

For RE I don't see them doing more than any of the other 3 primary schools I have had experience with prior to us moving here. They are very good at studying other religions. They are currently setting up a prayer group.

On their Statutory Inspection of Angelical schools by the Diocese

they got told they had to focus on developing
Enable pupils and all teachers to take leadership roles in collective worship.
Establish regular and formalised monitoring of all church aspects of the school,
particularly through questionnaires for parents, pupils and staff.

In practice comparing to the non C of E schools I don't see a great difference bar the 4 church services a year. I suspect the reason why the other schools did not do this was more to do with them not being near a church than a lack of willingness school no 1 used to get us to go to the local collage church hall once a year but it was quite a treck. with this school we are right next door to the school.

They do get told about God and prayers are said and the collective worship each day is happening. However for my children who are non faith they are very good at accepting their opinons (ds who is in Year 6 has a LOT grin) and not pushy towards having to ensure that it HAS to be as they wish.

Please ask more specificed questions if you have stuff you wish toknow I may be able to help.

I was concerned when we went to this school and despite my having had some issues with the school it has only twice been about religion (once a gentle reminder my children were not C of E and we did not observe lent, and recently when they sent out a survey about how to improve on religion it was set up to assume everyone was C of E - this will be changed next year due to my feedback) Overall we have been happy with the school and the support my dd3 has received has been amazing.

Hedgepig Sun 28-Apr-13 19:34:44

I'm a governor at a VC school and found this quite useful to explain the difference between VA and VC schools. here

stickygotstuck Sun 28-Apr-13 20:22:07

Thanks all, and especially to Frikadellen for that detailed first-hand account, that's exactly what I was hoping for. Hedgepig that link is also v useful as is LadyLech's.

We have been to the school, I can't quite make up my mind and I am trying to look at the nitty gritty of what it means to be VA to help us choose. Not sure I fancy the constant 'encouragement' to sponsor various things, and as a non faith family the churchiness is a concern, I must admit.

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