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Church snaps up bargain school from council for pound;1

THE Church of England has bought a 850-place secondary school in Nottingham from the city council for pound;1 - although it has yet to hand over the cash.

The deal for Nottingham Emmanuel includes building and land while the Labour-run council retains control of the school playing field.

It comes as Anglican church leaders are being urged to open 100 new schools over the next five years, increasing the number of their secondaries from the 146 it already has.

A review group on expanding church school provision, chaired by Lord Dearing, said government initiatives such as city academies and fresh starts for failing schools all offered opportunities for growth.

Mark Plater, education director for the Southwell diocese, admitted that cash had not changed hands.

"There's not been an official handover yet but I am hoping there will be," he said.

A good day might be the start of the autumn term when the school re-opens with 180 pupils - 60 from the neighbouring estate, others drawn from churches and different faith groups.

Nottingham Emmanuel closed last year with just 50 to 60 pupils on roll. Now there is a waiting list for places.

During the year that it has been redeveloped, the school has been used by pupils from a C of E primary.

Mr Plater said: " League tables and inspection reports show that church schools are strong and are attractive to parents."

Jon Collins, Nottingham's chair of education said: "This is a bargain for all concerned. The agreement safeguards our asset with a clause ensuring that the site will revert back on payment of pound;1 if it isn't used for school purposes."

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