Board of Education
Promoting Christian distinctiviness through excellent education in the Diocese of Rochester

What's the difference between VA & VC schools

 

What’s the difference between Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled Church of England Schools?

 

Governors

In a Voluntary Aided School, a majority of the governing body is made up of Foundation Governors, who are appointed by the Church with a duty to include maintaining the Church of England character of the school in their overall governance. There are foundation governors in Voluntary Controlled Schools, but they are a minority. The Vicar or Priest in Charge of a parish is automatically a foundation governor of the parish school or schools, whichever category they are in. The governors also have some different responsibilities.

Staffing

The Voluntary Aided School governing body are the employers of the staff: the Voluntary Controlled governing body have delegated powers in relation to the staff, but all members of staff are employed by the Local Authority. Staffing in both schools is paid for from the delegated budget under very similar terms and conditions of service. The only difference is in the detail of teachers’ contracts.

Finance

Capital works in VA schools are the responsibility of the governing body, and grant aided, generally up to 90%, by the Department for Children Schools and Families, via the Diocesan Board of Education. In Controlled Schools, the capital work is paid for by the Local Authority, though there is often a requirement for the school to raise some of the money needed. There are different forms of insurance as a result. Both categories of school are financed for revenue and some routine premises costs by the delegated budget.

Religious Education

The Voluntary Aided School has responsibility for its own RE, which is of a denominational character. So the governors can choose their own RE syllabus of a Christian type. The Diocesan Board of education does supply a suitable Christian RE syllabus for Primary Schools, which includes some coverage of world religions. The Voluntary Controlled Schools generally use the Local Authority Agreed RE Syllabus, which cannot be denominational, and has certain requirements for more coverage of world religions.

Christian worship

All Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled Church of England Schools are required by law to conduct worship in accordance with the Christian character of the school. There is no difference in law.

Religious Character

All our schools have a Church of England religious character. This cannot be removed, as it is fixed by law. This means that the general conduct and spirit of the school should be imbued with Christian morality and ethics, as well as worship and general ethos.

Admissions

Voluntary Aided Schools are their own admissions authority. Annually they must decide on their admission arrangements, and consult other admissions authorities and the Diocesan Director of Education when there are substantial changes. However, like all other authorities they are bound by the Admissions Guidance from the Department for Children Schools and Families, which is designed to produce fair and understandable admissions. Nevertheless, the Guidance permits Voluntary Aided schools to admit children on the grounds of the parents’ or the children’s’ practice of their faith and the details for this are decided by the governing body. Practically all village VA schools simply admit all the children living in their parish first, and the same is true of many parishes in urban areas.