Christian agency gets go ahead for truly inclusive school
Oasis has been given the go-ahead to sponsor a City Academy secondary with a fully inclusive admissions policy following proposals put forward by the Christian charity to the Government.
The Oasis City Academy, which will be based in Enfield, North London, is a partnership between Oasis, the Department for Education & Skills and Enfield Council, aims to increase the number of secondary school places available within the London borough and provide education facilities for the entire community.
The Academy aims to give choice to every parent in the local community by adopting an inclusive admissions policy, accepting pupils regardless of their faith or academic ability. As such it flies in the face of many church schools which give preference to the children of parents who attend the church linked to the school, and which have therefore been criticised as "unchristian" in their approach.
The City Academy scheme, initiated by the Government in 2000, provides businesses, voluntary organisations and faith groups with the opportunity to partner with Government in creating a new generation of secondary schools in areas of disadvantage. As one of only a small number of faith-based City Academies, the Oasis City Academy will specialise in providing young people with academic teaching and vocational training in the field of business and enterprise.
Oasis is currently in the process of consulting with local residents and other interested groups, including local churches, about the proposals for the City Academy, which is currently at the feasibility stage of development.
ìThis is a wonderful opportunity for Oasis to demonstrate that at the heart of the Christian faith is the imperative to serve others. Our goal is to ensure that the Oasis City Academy is an example of innovation and excellence. We are excited to be working with central government and Enfield Council on this ground-breaking educational projectî said Steve Chalke, the Founding Director of Oasis
Cllr Glynis Vince, Cabinet Member for Education, Childrenís Services & Leisure for Enfield Council said; ìI am delighted to hear that the plans for the Academy are coming on well. This new school will give young people a real choice about where to study. In addition DfES funding for the feasibility studies will also enable us to involve the local community and other local schools in our plans.î
The Oasis City Academy, which is due to open in September 2007, will become the latest in a long line of education, healthcare and housing initiatives pioneered by Oasis within the UK and abroad. Projects already operating in secondary schools across the UK include Oasis Youth Inclusion, the schools-based mentoring initiative, and Oasis Esteem, the sexual health and relationships education programme.
In addition, Faithworks, the movement founded by Oasis, will be setting up an ëAcademies Consultancyí to provide advice and support to Christian organisations and groups of churches interested in looking into the opportunities provided by the City Academy scheme.
The Faithworks Academies Consultancy will operate from September 2004.