Church of England schools receive living wage accreditation

The National Society and Church of England schools are to pay the living wage to all staff. 

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The National Society, which resources and promotes Church of England schools, reached a deal with trade union Unison that paves the way for all schools to receive living wage accreditation.

The schools will be given a step-by-step implementation plan, covering both directly employed and contracted staff. 

The Church of England has almost 4,700 schools that already pay the living wage, but the new agreement guarantees that all support staff will receive it.

The living wage is curremtly set at £7.65 an hour, or £8.80 in London, higher than the current minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.

The agreement follows a motion that was passed by the Church of England General Synod, which recognised that “The widening gap between rich and poor harms all society and tht paying a living wage lifts people out of poverty.”

It also agreed to strongly encourage all Church of England institutions to pay at least the living wage, as recommended by the Church Action of Poverty. 

Dave Prentis, general secretary at Unison, said: “I’m delighted that Unison is working so closely with the National Society to encourage Church of England schools to pay the living wage. Times are tough and low-paid workers are struggling under the burden of rising prices for basics like food.” 

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and chair of the Living Wage Commission, added: “Church of England schools were set up to serve the poor and marginalised and they have always been committed to treating staff and pupils fairly.

”This new agreement with Unison will reward schools with living wage accreditation for their commitment to treating staff and pupils fairly.” 

Nigel Genders, chief education officer at the National Society, said: “In signing up to this commitment; schools are taking a clear stand against poverty, and setting a very public example for pupils about how people should be treated.”

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