KEY figures within North-East Church of England schools have welcomed a report which places their work at the heart of education.

Senior Anglican figures make the comments in a YouTube video based on a conference staged by the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Education Boards.

The event, attended by everyone from headteachers to governors, was in response to publication of the Church of England's Chadwick Report, entitled The Church School of the Future, which said they are at the heart of the nation and should robustly assert their Christian ethos.

One of those taking part in the conference, and who addressed the delegates, was the Venerable Stuart Bain, Archdeacon of Sunderland, the Chair of the Durham Diocesan board of education.

He said: "The changing landscape of education is asking the Church to get on its mettle in terms of its distinctiveness and its inclusivity in providing education.

"It challenges us to go back to what is at the heart of Church school education which is to provide a strong Church Christian ethos, excellent RE and worship and good outcomes across the board. Chadwick is going to challenge both dioceses and schools to deliver excellent education."

The Church of England, which is responsible for more than 4,800 schools across the country, educates more than a million pupils.

The report took evidence from dioceses, school leaders, politicians and other stakeholders with an interest in education.

It says the challenge for all existing Church schools, and any new schools, is to maintain their distinctive Christian character in an increasingly fragmented education system and amid strong attacks from secularists.

The video can be viewed at: