Methodist Church plans to build schools in deprived areas

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The Methodist Church has today reaffirmed its commitment to the education sector, pledging to increase the number of state-funded Methodist schools over the next ten years.

Currently, 22,000 children attend the 65 state-funded and 14 independent Methodist schools in England and Wales. All the schools have a Christian foundation, serve their local community and are fully inclusive, welcoming pupils of all faiths and none.

The Methodist Conference agreed today to reinvigorate the Church's engagement with education and has asked Methodist Districts across Great Britain to identify local communities that need new schools, especially in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

"Everyone matters to God and no one should be deprived of the opportunity to develop to their full potential," said Dr John Barrett, Chair of the Education Commission. "The Methodist approach to education has always been about the development of the whole person - not just reading, writing and arithmetic. We believe that all human beings are made in the image of God and our schools have a strong commitment to creating an ethos in which every person is valued. They seek to fully address children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural needs."

The Conference, meeting in Plymouth this week, also agreed a range of other proposals to expand the Church's involvement. These include offering greater support to Methodists who work in the education sector and aiming to increase the number of chaplains to further education intuitions and Methodist schools.

Last week, two Methodist schools received recognition in the annual Church School Awards. Kent College Canterbury was awarded the London and South East region prize and St Andrew's Church of England and Methodist Voluntary Aided Primary School in Derbyshire also won a special commendation.

You can hear more about the report of the Education Commission in an interview with John Barrett online  here

The full Education Commission report is available online  here

A hi-res photo of Dr Barrett is available to download  here.    

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