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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Schools to transfer to church control
School/church graphic
Two secondary schools are set to be transferred to Church of England control in Merseyside.

Manor High in Crosby and Ainsdale High in Southport will move to Church of England-aided status, in an attempt to stop children travelling out of the borough to receive a faith-based education.

Despite falling numbers in church congregations, the Diocese of Liverpool says there is a high demand for religious-based teaching.

But many children leaving Church of England primary schools in Sefton have to travel to Liverpool or Lancashire to find the secondary education parents want.

The schools and Sefton council promise standards of teaching will remain high.

There is a gap in Sefton that we will fill... Hopefully it will enhance our school and we can grow and develop
Alan Parkinson, headteacher
If all goes to plan the schools will transfer to church control by 2005.

Alan Parkinson, headteacher of Manor High, said: "At the moment a large number of parents are wanting to send their children to a Church of England high school.

"There is a gap in Sefton that we will fill."

He also promised local schoolchildren will not lose out over any new admission arrangements.

"First and foremost we will still serve our community and take pupils from local primary schools," he said.

'Seamless' transition

"After that there will be new admissions arrangements and we will consider a percentage coming from a faith background.

"Hopefully it will enhance our school and we can grow and develop."

The plan now goes out to consultation, after which a formal plan will be put forward tot he government.

Sefton council's cabinet member for education Peter Dowd said parents should not notice the changeover.

"It should be pretty seamless," he said.

"The schools will carry on in the same manner other than the governors will be governors from the Church of England."

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