Until the introduction of the National Curriculum, Religious Education was the only compulsory academic subject in all state funded schools. It remains the first subject of every school’s core curriculum, and the first entitlement of all pupils in maintained schools. How far and how well that entitlement is delivered in all schools is another matter, but for our schools the subject is truly the “core of the core curriculum”, as recent documents from our bishops continue to stress. It is therefore timely that new research among young people aged between 16-24 indicates that Religious Education is a valued subject that leaves a lasting impression on those who study it. This study included school leavers as well as those in full-time education from all types of schools. Contrary to some popular myths, 80% of respondents thought that studying RE could promote better understanding of different religions and beliefs – this sentiment was true for those of all religions and beliefs, even the vast majority of those who identified themselves as atheists.
For these and many other reasons it is disappointing that the government’s proposals for the “English Baccalaureate” does not yet recognise Religious Education as a “humanity” subject. All our schools have curriculum religious education as their primary and inbuilt specialism, and the pressure caused by the new arrangements risk serious consequences for this, our flagship subject. I am therefore pleased that so many of you are putting pressure on the Secretary of State and your local MPs, and would encourage you to continue to do so until RE is included.
I was pleased to be able to wish many of you a Happy New Year at one of our two very successful discussion meetings about Academies last week. It was a pleasure to have a wide ranging and sensible discussion with so many of you on the complexities of one of the most far reaching reforms to Catholic education proposed for years.
As I stressed at the time, the meetings mark the beginning of a dialogue, not the end. Many of you were not able to be present, and we will need to continue these and other discussions in order to inform Trustees and Governing Bodies so that the right decisions may be made for the benefit of Catholic education at the appropriate time.
There seemed to be a strong consensus from the meetings that, as a sector, we should maintain our unity of voice and purpose, and fully support the CES’s work in requesting a more appropriate and distinctive solution for the Catholic community.
Religious Education and the English Baccalaureate
The Government’s proposals for the “English Baccalaureate” introduce (retrospectively) a new performance measure: 5 GCSEs at A* to C including English, maths, science, a foreign language and a “humanity”. The current definition of a humanity subject does NOT include religious education, with potentially serious consequences for the Catholic curriculum. All schools have been asked to write (and encourage parents to write) to the Secretary of State AND to their local MP. The RE Council have published timely research about how much pupils value RE, and the support of ASCL for the change we are requesting is to be welcomed. More information is available on our website at: www.rcdow.org.uk/education/default_view.asp?library_ref=8&category_ref=171&content_ref=3143 Contact: Peter Ward, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 020 7798 9005
Two discussion meetings with Chairs of Governors and Head Teachers on 13th January 2011 were well attended and a very positive and fruitful discussion took place. Thank you to all those who gave up their time to attend. About 70% of our secondary schools were represented, but only 17% of primary schools. We are keen to continue effective dialogue with all schools, as decisions made on Academies will affect Catholic education as a whole. We will continue to update our website with recent developments, and are investigating the possibility of a regular e-mail to schools on this issue. We are continuing our conversations with religious order Trustees, and will be planning other opportunities to discuss further developments with all schools and the wider Catholic community. All views and ideas for continuing this discussion are welcome. See our website at: http://www.rcdow.org.uk/education/default.asp?library_ref=8&content_ref=3129
Contact: Paul Barber, E-mail: email@example.com, Tel: 020 7798 9005
Attached is a copy of Leadership Audit form sent to all head teachers recently: please ensure that the form is completed and returned by 28th January 2011.
Contact: Maureen Roe on 020 7798 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Attached to this bulletin are details of further opportunities to find out about the Class Movies project which is proving very popular with our schools.
Contact: Maureen Roe on 020 7798 9005 or email email@example.com
Ukrainian Catholic University Summer School – Volunteers Required!
The Ukrainian Catholic University is looking for volunteers, particularly teachers, to teach English at their month-long summer school near the Carpathian Mountains. Volunteers will live with Ukrainian college students, experience Byzantine Christianity, and learn about the new challenges facing this ancient culture. No knowledge of Ukrainian is necessary. The Summer School is supported by a new UK Charity, the Ukrainian Catholic Foundation.
More details and an application form can be found at:
Churchmarketplace members can now SAVE £££'s on their catering supplies!
You should, by now, have heard of Churchmarketplace, the co-operative purchasing scheme, initiated to take advantage of the high volume discounts we can achieve by working as a Church. As a Churchmarketplace member you can now benefit from DISCOUNTED PRICES with wide range of national and regional food and drinks suppliers - immediately reducing cost of your catering supplies. Pelican has been chosen by Churchmarketplace as the Official Suppliers of catering procurement services for its members. You can take advantage of this service FREE OF CHARGE. There is also NO CONTRACT and you have FULL FLEXIBILITY to choose as few or as many of the Pelican suppliers to work with. What’s more, there is NO CONTRACT COMMITMENT and Pelican offers FREE PRICE ANALYSIS of your existing catering purchasing to help identify where potential savings can be made.
Over the last few months Pelican has helped many schools to reduce their cost and increase their savings, including:
- Westminster Cathedral Choir School secured savings of 31% with 3663 Frozen and Grocery
- Tyssen Community School secured savings of 16% on Grocery, 5% on Dairy Produce, 30% on Frozen Produce, 13% on Fruit & Vegetable
- Randal Cremer Primary School secured savings of 24% on Grocery and 13% on Frozen Produce
Over 2,000 schools trust Pelican with their catering purchasing, to find out how much you can save simply register at www.churchmarketplace.org.uk and go to “Catering Management”
Education Sunday – 20 February 2011
For well over a hundred years there has been an annual recognition of Education Sunday in England and Wales. It is a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone in the world of education with a different theme devised each year by an ecumenical steering group representing different Christian denominations and organisations. This Year of Catholic Education is being marked while education policy and practice is the subject of intense political attention. Education Sunday, and the week leading up to it, provides a good opportunity for prayer and celebration for the whole school community – through assemblies and liturgies, class prayer and special events. Many schools also take the opportunity to collaborate with local parishes in a variety of ways including erecting displays, providing speakers and offering the services of musicians and/or (members of the) school choir. The theme this year is Firm Foundations. To support schools explore this theme a range of resource materials including Primary and Secondary assembly notes, prayers and prayer station ideas is being produced and will be available on the website on Friday 28 January. Education Sunday also provides a beginning to the month of Celebrating RE - a National Celebration of Religious Education taking place throughout March 2011. Please visit the celebration’s website at www.celebratingre.org to find out more about the celebration and ways that you can get involved.
Seminar for parents on Understanding Adolescence - 5 February 2011
The above seminar run by qualified child and adolescent psychotherapists from the Catholic Children’s Society will be held at the Bishop Harvey Family Service in Muswell Hill, just off the North Circular Road. It runs from 10.30am to 3.30pm on Saturday 5th February. Led by Jane Maltby, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, from the Bishop Harvey Family Service Team, the workshop will give parents an opportunity to explore key issues and to gain a greater understanding of the importance of their teenager’s emotional development. There will be opportunity for discussion and questions, as well as suggestions on how parents can continue to help their children through the next few years as they journey through adolescence and mature in to adulthood. Please inform any parents you think may be interested; more information is available at: http://www.cathchild.org.uk/data/files/ccs_workshop_1110e_layout_1.pdf
Alternatively if you have a group of parents who might benefit from or be interested in this, you may like to ask the Bishop Harvey Family Service to run a seminar at your school. If so, please telephone Alison Webster on 020 8883 7826 or e-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Services to Schools from the Catholic Children’s Society
The Catholic Children’s Society will soon be contacting all primary and secondary schools in the Diocese to ask them about their need for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The Society currently provides play therapy, school counselling and child and adolescent psychotherapy to schools. They are planning to develop their services to expand provision for training and consultancy to schools and parents. The Society will be seeking additional funding to help address identified needs from trusts and other sources to increase their service offer to schools. Please respond to this questionnaire to provide the necessary information to help support their application or telephone Dr Rosemary Keenan on 020 8969 5305 or e-mail her on email@example.com
Lent 2011 – Good Shepherd Collection
The annual Good Shepherd Collection during Lent for the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) begins on Ash Wednesday. It is hoped that as many schools as possible will support this Diocesan charity which over the last year has assisted children, parents and adults in every one of the Diocesan deaneries. The Good Shepherd Mass will take place in Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday the 24th May. Materials linked to the curriculum and the theme of the appeal will be available on the Society’s website and on the Diocesan Education Service website.
The Society would like to hear from schools in Hertfordshire to know if they would like to consider participating in a Good Shepherd service in the county. Please contact Rosemary Keenan on 020 8969 5305 or e-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the change in government and the abolition of the BSF programme, the Government has been reviewing school capital investment strategies and options. This process is taking longer than originally anticipated and in order that basic need and maintenance work can proceed in the interim, ministers have agreed to release some capital funding for 2011/12. We will shortly be entering in to dialogue with local authority colleagues to agree an LCVAP programme for 2011/12. Ministers have confirmed that we will not be committed to plan for additional funding in subsequent years and this has reduced options for larger/multiyear projects. The 2011/12 LCVAP Proposal forms were circulated to representatives in each local authority on 4 January 2011 with a return date of 28 January. The form has also been circulated to consultants and is available on the diocesan website. Please use the following link to access the form online. http://www.rcdow.org.uk/education/default_view.asp?library_ref=8&category_ref=171&content_ref=3166
The School Building Committee will meet to review proposals on 9 February. Any head teacher who believes that they may need financial assistance from the diocese to manage their 10% contributions must speak to John Lee as a matter of urgency. John can be contacts on 0207 798 9168 or you can email him on email@example.com
The LCVAP bidding process is open to all Catholic maintained schools within the Diocese of Westminster, irrespective of trusteeship and you are encouraged to submit 2 proposals per school. It is helpful for representatives from the Education Service who attend national meetings to be fully aware of the priorities affecting all schools in the diocese. For the few schools that do not use the services of the diocesan financial team to administer their LCVAP project, we would like to remind you that for guaranteed payment of claims in this financial year (2010/11), correctly presented claims plus supporting documentation must be sent to the DfE by Tuesday 1st March 2011
Contact: Nigel Spears on 020 7798 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also contained in the recent announcement was information about the DFC rates for 2011/12. Officers from PfS/DfE should be contacting all schools to confirm their allocations however, the following table has been circulated by the DfE to help schools assess their DFC for the forthcoming year.
Devolved Formula Capital VA School
Per School Sum £4,320.00
Per Primary Pupil £12.15
Per Secondary Pupil £18.23
Per SEN pupil £36.45
The School Building Committee is aware that some schools have committed DFC to registered LCVAP project and that the reduction in allocation is causing concerns about affordability. John Lee and Nigel Spears will be reviewing the diocesan risk relating to the advancement of DFC and will be working with schools to identify a pragmatic solution.
For further information on all School Capital issues, please contact Nigel Spears email@example.com Mobile: 07738183828. If you would like to arrange for Nigel to visit you at your school, please contact Greeny Longville or Carol Campbell on 02077989005 to make an appointment.
Admissions Policies Academic Year 2012 – 13.
By the end of the Autumn term governing bodies should have sent their proposed Admission Policies for admissions during the academic year 2012 -13 to the diocese for consultation. Under the Admissions Code admission authorities of Catholic schools must consult with the diocese on an annual basis. Consultation with the diocese should have ended on January 4th and, whilst a large number of schools have sent in their policies, there are a number of schools that have not. Governing bodies are urged to send their proposed policies and the associated Supplementary Forms (SIF) to the diocese immediately if they have not already done so. Please email the policy and SIF to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good News Slot
(Please note: this section of the bulletin consists of good news which have been sent in from schools around the diocese. It may well be that others have achieved similar awards or success and, if so, we congratulate them too!)
Congratulations to Our Lady of the Visitation Primary School, Greenford for their re-accreditation of the Healthy School Award and for their International School Award.