Diocese of Manchester

Children at St Mary's Moss Side awarded Best School

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Manchester Diocesan Schools (by Local Authority)

Across the Diocese of Manchester there are nearly 200 Church of England primary and secondary schools. We educate over 57,000 pupils in our schools everyday. 

Ofsted judges 87% of our schools to be Outstanding or Good. Because of the quality of education our schools provide and their ethos of caring for the whole person, not just academic achievement, our schools are very popular, and we are constantly trying to meet demand for places by working with schools and local authorities.

Three reasons to choose a church school

Church of England schools are highly effective

Ofsted judges 87% of our schools to be Outstanding or Good and 95% are judged Outstanding or Good in their SIAMS inspections.

Church of England schools are diverse

In Manchester, they include:

  • Schools in predominantly urban areas, though a smaller number serve children in dispersed moorland villages
  • Schools which consistently appear in the list of England’s highest performing schools
  • Schools which serve the needs of children who live in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Europe
  • Schools which serve children of all faiths and none (including some primary schools with an almost exclusively Muslim population)

Church of England schools are distinctive

Church of England schools have a distinctive identity and ethos, popular with parents and families, where the development of social, spiritual and emotional intelligence is as important as academic achievement. They are disinctive in their leadership and management, their religious education and collective worship.

Church school myth buster

There are many commonly-held misconceptions about church schools. Some people think that they only cater for Christian families in middle class areas. This could not be further from the truth. Our church schools cater for people of all faiths or none and we are present in some of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester.

'Our pupils must be Christian or pretend to be Christian' 

Our schools cater for people of all faiths and respect is shown for all pupils, regardless of their particular beliefs. For example St Thomas' CE School in Oldham has a 90% Muslim population.

In voluntary controlled schools the local authority is responsible for setting the admissions criteria, not the church. In all other schools, admissions arrangements are the responsibility of the school governing body.

'Church schools cater for middle classes and exclude much of the local community'

Our schools reflect the make up of the local area and many provide outstanding quality of education in the toughest areas. St Mary’s Primary School in Moss Side serves a very deprived and rapidly changing inner city community. Serving an ethnically diverse area, many pupils do not speak English as their first language (an incredible 22 different languages are spoken at home). The proportion of children entitled to free school meals and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above the national average. The vast majority of children enter the school with low attainment for their age, and the school was within the top 2% nationally for progress in reading when it was awarded Primary School of the Year by the TES in 2014.

'Church schools promote Christianity'

Church schools are accountable for the quality and objectivity of their religious education (education, not instruction) and are regularly inspected by SIAMS. 95% of our schools are judged Outstanding or Good in their SIAMS inspections. Schools do not dictate one particular view as right above others, and children are educated about all the major world faiths.

'Church schools do not teach modern values and ethics'

A proper understanding and respect for personal beliefs and faith is more important than ever before in our multicultural communities. We are proud of the high quality of teaching and the attention paid to ethical and religious education in our schools. Children are encouraged to question, interpret and challenge what they see and hear, and to be confident in the opinions that they form.

'Church schools teach outdated concepts about the world'

Our schools are modern and up to date, teaching religious study as a part of a rounded curriculum. We are proud to have initiated a project for secondary schools called God and the Big Bang that bridges the gap between science and religious faith. 


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The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House,
90 Deansgate,
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400