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Preachers with whiteboards

One-third of academies are sponsored by Christian groups, most of which are not officially affiliated to a church. Although the majority do not reserve places for children of a particular faith, they do make it clear that the schools follow an overtly Christian ethos, which permeates all areas of school life.

The TES revealed in April that 36 out of 100 academies either already open or under development are backed by Christian organisations.

The biggest individual sponsor of the flagship schools programme to date is the United Learning Trust, an Anglican charity listing Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, among its trustees, with 12 schools open or planned.

Bob Edmiston, founder of the IM Group and Christian Vision, a charity set up to spread the Christian message worldwide, is sponsoring two academies.

The pound;10 million Greig city academy, sponsored by the Church of England and the Greig Trust, an educational charity, says in its agreement that the latest technology will be used as a worship aid, with sermons being beamed directly into classrooms using interactive whiteboards.

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