Why choose a Church of England school?

What makes a Church of England school in the Diocese of Norwich distinctive?

Our family of schools draws strength both from each other and from the Diocese. We value the individuality of each school, supporting and valuing staff and sharing what we do best, for a sustainable future.

Enabling children to flourish

A key aim of the Diocese of Norwich Board of Education is to enable children – and their families – to flourish. That means equipping children with the emotional and academic skills and resources to help form their aspirations, and providing the support and nurture to set them on their way to achieving them.

That means challenging them academically, but also spiritually, physically, artistically and technically. By working together, schools under the Diocese remit are able to provide a richer curriculum which helps to develop the character and talents of every young person.

High academic standards combine with Christian values to foster creativity, confidence and compassion, in order to develop wisdom, knowledge and skills.

Genuinely inclusive

Our schools are open to all and accepting of all, regardless of faith.

A Christian ethos sets the culture of the schools in the Diocesan family. The values behind this ethos – of responsibility, aspiration, dignity, love and respect – shape the education which young people in our schools receive.

Centred in community

Just as the church has always played a central part in local communities, schools within the Diocese of Norwich education family play a cohesive and established role within those communities, as well as in the wider church community.

Education has a core focus on relationships and commitments, participation in communities and institutions, and the qualities of character which enable people to flourish together – recognising that in life as in education, we are always ‘stronger together’.

Being part of the Diocese of Norwich education family allows schools to develop and nourish strong community links, providing opportunities and experiences across all ages and backgrounds which will allow our young people and those in the wider community to live well together.

The Diocese of Norwich Education Family

The Diocese of Norwich covers Norfolk and the Waveney Valley in Suffolk. There are 110 state schools and academies in the Diocesan family, with more than a quarter of all young people in this area attending Diocesan schools. That means the Diocese of Norwich Board of Education has oversight of the education and nurturing of around 17,000 young people between the ages of 4 and 18.

The Diocese of Norwich education family includes many types of school: large, small, primary, infant, junior, secondary, village, town and city. They are united in their approach to education which is rooted in Christian values and they all benefit from the mutual support which comes from being part of the Diocesan family.

Working together under the Diocesan education umbrella helps schools build a sustainable future. Whether that collaboration is sharing best practice, pooling resources, investing in teacher training, developing school leaders or providing strategic and moral support, we are flourishing together.

Our support for schools

The remit of the Diocesan Board of Education is wide, but includes leading on building the Christian ethos; recruiting and training governors; providing professional development for teaching and other school staff; building links between schools and the church, clergy and the wider community.

In addition, we provide professional advice on a variety of school issues, including buildings and accommodation, governance, headteacher recruitment, strategic planning, inspections and academy conversions. The two Diocese Multi-Academy Trusts (Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust and St Benet’s) provide an even greater level of support for member academies.

Valuing our small schools

As a largely rural area, Norfolk and Waveney has a lot of smaller schools. Traditionally, the church has played a role in supporting small village schools – more than half of our schools are classed as small.

We recognise that smaller schools play a vital role locally, for education, but for the community too, yet many face challenges for the future. By working together in partnerships and federations, the Diocese provides support for these schools around standards, leadership, finance and governance, whilst celebrating the individuality of each school too. We are stronger together.

Our Family of Schools

All our schools and academies are open to families of any religion, and of none, and are there to serve their local community. Although our values are deeply-rooted within the Christian faith, our approach is very much one of inclusivity: our schools are open to all. The education offered by schools within the Diocesan family encourages dignity, respect and living well together, shares other worldviews and helps prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.

The Diocese of Norwich education family is made up of 35 Voluntary Aided (VA) schools, 36 Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools, one Foundation School, two community schools and 38 Academies. Some key differences are:

  • Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools are a type of state-funded school. The majority of governors are appointed by the Church. Staff are employed directly by the governing body. Most of the school’s  funding comes direct from the Local Authority with some from central government.
  • Voluntary Controlled (VC) Schools are also state-funded schools and have some governors appointed by the Church, but no more than 25%. Staff are employed through the Local Authority and all funding is from the Local Authority.
  • A Foundation School is a state-funded school with some governors appointed by the Church. The governing body has a greater say in how the school is run compared to traditional community  schools. Staff are employed by the governing body and all funding is from the Local Authority.
  • Academies are state-funded schools which receive their funding direct from government and which are independent of Local Authority control. They are run by an Academy Trust, which employs the staff, and which sets the curriculum, term dates and more. They have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as all other state schools.


All the schools under the Diocese of Norwich remit are bound by the School Admissions Code published by the Department for Education, which is designed to produce fair and understandable admissions procedures.

Faith schools are permitted by law to apply faith-based criteria when allocating places, but only when a school is over-subscribed. Diocese of Norwich schools aim to serve their local community, be open to all and accepting of all, regardless of faith.