Its Lent: a time when the Church of England along with many others of our brothers and sisters in Christ, take the time to reflect and repent. As the seasons changes through these next few days we face the death of God himself and we contemplate our part in that story.
This year our institution needs to repent. We need to every year but in this moment I believe we owe the country an apology. On Wednesday the Chancellor announced that which we have known is coming for a while: that all schools should be academies by 2020. And any of us who have been in education believe this to be a terrible thing. And it is my belief that the Church of England should have stopped this. And it is my belief that we could have stopped this.
The Church of England is the biggest single block of schools that could and perhaps should have a common ethos. These schools were set up to provide education to the poor and yet in a singular apathetic moment we have probably sold many such young people a rough deal. I'm an idealist and so I like to think that if we had stood against academisation in 2010 we could have stopped this. We represent many of the top state schools- we have a voice. We didn't use it: and I think we should say sorry.
So from me: a normal parish priest- to every young person who may now be failed- I am sorry. I can't guarantee anyone more senior will ever say it: in fact they may call me fool.. but I'm still sorry.