Faith schools are religiously inclined learning institutions that base their entire operations on their practiced faith, including their admission procedure.
This sentiment runs so deep that it subjectively influences their staff recruitment process. Most Faith schools prefer to employ staff members who practice their faith.
We already spoke much in the previous article concerning what Faith schools are, their features, pros, and even their cons, so now we will be giving you an insight into How Faith Schools are funded.
This will be simultaneously accomplished as we tell you about the types of Faith schools in the United Kingdom and how they operate. Journey with us.
Faith schools can be classified into two: State-funded Faith Schools and Private/Independent Faith Schools.
1. State-funded Faith Schools
These are religious-based schools that often get a part of their funding from a religious organization. These said organizations own the school buildings and even the land in most cases.
They also have school governors who are usually saddled with formulating admissions policy and appointing staff members. Specific exemptions from Section 85 of the Equality Act 2010 allow Faith schools to use faith criteria in selecting pupils for admission to the schools.
Even though the state funds these schools, it only retains a significant influence on some and little on others. State-funded faith schools must obey the National Admissions Code, which states that they have to admit 50% of students without reference to faith.
There are several types of state-funded schools, including Voluntary Aided Faith schools, Voluntary Controlled Faith schools, and Faith Academies.
- Voluntary Aided Faith Schools (VA):
This is a state-funded school in England and Wales in which a religious organization, usually a foundation or trust, contributes to building costs and has a significant influence on the running of the school.
This means that even though the state mostly finances these schools, the foundation or trust still reserves autonomy, unlike Voluntary Controlled Faith schools that are completely funded by the state.
The foundation has a bigger influence on admission, recruitment, and curriculum (as long as they don’t deviate from the National Curriculum).
The arrangement is that the school’s total running cost and 90% of its capital cost would be met by the state while the foundation takes care of the remaining 10%.
They are not allowed to charge fees to students, but they get money through diocesan maintenance schemes or voluntary contributions from the parents, usually for school maintenance. In most cases, the foundations own the buildings and even the land built upon.
The foundation assigns most of the school governors, who are usually in charge of formulating admissions policy, recruitment of staff, and general running of the school. Roman Catholic schools are examples of Voluntary Aided Faith Schools.
- Voluntary Controlled Faith Schools (VC)
This is a state-funded school in which a Christian denomination that serves as a foundation or trust has some formal influence in the running of the school.
These schools are funded by the central government through the local authority and are not allowed to charge fees to students. The local authority is in charge of recruiting the school’s staff and plays a huge role in the formulation of admissions policy.
Unlike Voluntary Controlled Faith schools, VC is completely funded by the state, which means the school has very little autonomy, and the local authority retains a great influence over the school.
The school buildings and the land it is built upon are usually owned by a charitable foundation that also gets to appoint some school governors. Half of Church of England schools are Voluntary Controlled Faith Schools.
- Faith Academies
This is a type of state-funded school which is directly funded by the Department for Education and is not under the control of the local authority. They are completely self-governed and not profit-oriented, although they may accept donations from corporate sponsors.
These schools are allowed to deviate awayfrom the National Curriculum as long as they keep it broad and balanced and incorporate the core subjects of English, Maths, and Science.
Many academies specialize in one area or the other, and these include science, arts, business and enterprise, computing, engineering, mathematics, modern foreign languages, performing arts, sport, or technology.
These schools are established as “companies limited by guarantee” and usually have a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The members of the Academy Trust, known as “Trustees”, are legally, but not financially, responsible for the running of the academy.
They oversee the day-to-day running of the school, sometimes through a local governing body that they designate, while the Head Teacher and their senior management team are in charge of administration.
Other types of Academy include Sponsor Academy, Converter Academy, Free School, and Co-operative Academy.
2. Private/Independent Faith Schools
These are private schools with a particular religious identity or character. They are not obliged to meet the same standards as state-funded schools as they are not under the influence or control of the state.
The state is not responsible for meeting its running cost or capital cost. Therefore, private schools are independent enough to make final decisions regarding all affairs of the school.
They are allowed to design their science or sex education curriculums according to their religious ethos. They are also allowed to formulate their admissions policy and recruit staff on their reconnaissance.
These schools are usually independently funded, meaning their funding stems from tuition paid by students for every term spent at the school.
They also organize fundraising activities and programs to generate funds that are used for the operation and maintenance of the school. There is a vast number of religious schools in the private school sector in England and Wales.
In conclusion of this article: “How Faith Schools are funded“, providing funds for a Faith school doesn’t automatically grant control or influence; instead, it is usually dependent on the type of school. Most state-funded schools are often controlled by foundations, trusts, or a contracted organization.