The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: December 2014

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

 

As we enter the season of Advent as Catholics we celebrate and take comfort from the hope and trust we place in the Coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Our schools are not engaging in winter festivals, but rather preparing our students to welcome the presence of Christ into their lives and into the lives of others. Our schools are defined by what we stand for and what we actively promote within our communities. The witness to faith; the witness to Christ and the witness to baptism are intrinsic to what it means to lead and manage a Catholic school. Be very proud of what you have achieved this year and reaffirm your mission through the birth of Christ. 

 

On behalf of all the Education Service I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in your school for their contribution and dedication to the on-going witness to Faith. Our schools throughout the Diocese continue to add capacity and faith-based values to thousands of students and outstanding professional opportunities to the dedicated and committed staff that work for them. We are not just about Value Added performance, but rather Values Added.     

 

This has been a year of great challenge in education and so many of you have met that challenge to take your school to new heights. I am very grateful to you and all those who have helped shape the Catholic identity and mission in your school. Whatever has been planned to celebrate the end of term do so with great joy and welcome Christ in the form of the Child back into the community who embrace Him with open arms.

 

The Education Service is changing and the support we will be providing to you will change. Next year sees the introduction of the new Inspection Framework and Handbook. The consultation into the new A Level and GCSE Religious Studies needs your voice and your insight to help shape this challenging and rewarding subject. Please read carefully the advice sent to your school and act on the advice. Our schools are more exposed to challenge and criticism than ever before and we need to stand up and make it clear that what we have benefits not only the Catholic community but also all of our society. We make a difference. We are proud of that difference and we know that at the heart of what we do are the teachings of Christ and the witness to Gospel values.

 

There are statutory changes to be made in governance by September next year and your school needs to ensure that it complies as quickly as possible. The Education Service will be moving to a more Commissioned based Service utilising the expertise of those who serve in our schools for the benefit of others. Details of how this will work will be a core component of the Conference Season.

 

Enjoy your well earned break when it arrives and use the time with family and loved ones to reaffirm your belief that what you do and what we are all trying to do for our schools is to welcome Christ the Child to shape the character and identities of those we serve. Thank you for what you have done this year. I wish you every happiness, good health and success for the year ahead. You are in my prayers.

With best wishes

 

JP Morrison

Director of Education

 

Senior Appointments

For the appointment of a Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher or teacher in charge of Religious Education, the Diocese must be invited to send a representative to the Appointments Panel. Please ensure that the shortlisting /interview  dates are set by prior arrangement with the Diocese. In the first instance, please contact Mike Pittendreigh, who has responsibility for senior appointments.

Contact: Mike Pittendreigh mikep@rcdow.org.uk

 

Inspection Update

January 2015 sees the implementation of the changes to the Diocesan Inspection Framework and Handbook. All revised documents – Framework; Handbook and SEF - will be available online on the Diocesan website from Friday 12 December. 

A hard copy of the new Inspection Framework – January 2015 will be sent to each school on 12 December 2014; schools are encouraged to order copies for their governing bodies, leadership team and subject leader in religious education at the cost of £1 per copy.  An order form is included with the complimentary copy.

During the first half of the Spring Term 2015 there will no Diocesan inspections in order to give schools time and the opportunity to update their SEF’s according to the new Framework and to receive support from their advisors on the changes.

The key changes are:

  • Schools judged to be Requires Improvement will be inspected again after 2 years, instead of 3, in order to give them more support. Outstanding and Good schools will be inspected every 5 years with a monitoring visit after 3 years
  • The 5 % curriculum time required by the Bishops’ Conference for 6th Form Core religious education is understood to be the equivalent of 30 hours of guided study for all registered students.
  • Grades for Diocesan inspection are: Outstanding; Good;

Requires Improvement; Causing Concern. The ‘very good’ grade has been removed.

  • GRADE DESCRIPTORS have been revised in the light of the removal of the ‘very good’ grade
  • While the use of national levels have been removed from schools in the measurement of pupil progress in the core subjects, the use of the National Levels of Attainment in Religious Education, produced by NBRIA ,will continue to be used in religious education.
  • The role of all governors in holding the head to account for the Catholic life of the school and religious education has been increased and the importance of the link governor for religious education has been heightened.           

For support or clarification please contact:  Sr. Mary Jo Martin at maryjomartin@rcdow.org.uk or on 07881 641575 and/or 0208 7798 9005                                                                         

 

GCE A Level /GCSE Reform

As you are aware the consultation period for the reformed GCE/GCSE in Religious Studies began on 7th November. The following links take you to the consultation:

 Ofqual: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/religious-studies-gcses-as-and-a-levels-new-qualifications-for-2016

 DFE: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-and-a-level-reform-religious-studies

 

In order to help formulating responses to the consultation and to ensure consistency across the Dioceses the CES and NBRIA have produced a ‘toolkit.’ This contains three documents:

 A Guide to responding to the Ofqual consultation on GCE and GCSE reform of Religious Studies, which details the changes to assessment objectives;

  • A Guide to responding to the DFE consultation on the reform A and AS Level of Religious Studies, which details the draft GCE AS and A Level subject content;
  • A Guide to responding to the DFE consultation on the reform GCSE of Religious Studies, which details the draft GCSE Religious Studies content.

Each document gives a number of points and questions which respondents to the consultation may find helpful to use in their deliberations. It is important that as many as are able respond to the consultation and, in responses, be positive as well as negative. By responding to the consultation our voice will be heard and will support the CES in getting the best possible outcome for Catholic education. The toolkit has been emailed out to schools via Heads of Religious Education on 28th November. The DFE consultation period closes on 29th December and the Ofqual consultation period closes on 5th January 2015.

Contact: Stephen C Horsman, stephenhorsman@rcdow.org.uk

 

SAFEGUARDING UPDATE

The DfE has now produced advice for schools entitled, ‘Keeping children safe in education: childcare disqualification requirements – supplementary advice.’ (Safeguarding 1). This advice is an addition to the guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (Safeguarding 2), which was published earlier this year. Both of these documents are attached.  The important point of the new advice is that on page 2 it discusses, ‘Qualification by association.’ It imposes a requirement for schools to obtain information on all staff (including governors and volunteers) showing whether or not someone who lives (or works) in the same household as them, poses a risk to children. In which case the staff member or volunteer may pose a risk to children ‘by association’. It suggests that schools may ask staff and volunteers to sign a declaration to help identify those caught by the ‘by association’ requirement. Relevant information should be passed to Ofsted.  Both chapter 1 of the original guidance and the supplementary guidance should be read by all staff members and governors.

For further information please contact maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

 

ADMISSIONS UPDATE

Thank you to all schools who have sent in their admission arrangements to the diocese.  Remaining schools are requested to send their arrangements (policy & SIF) as soon as possible and before they are sent to the local authority. The new School Admissions Code will be published on 19th December 2014 and its provisions are almost the same as the consultation document.  The advice sent out to schools by the diocese in September remains current. There is School Admissions training for governors and SLT on 6th December and also on 10th January 10.00 -12.30.  Followed by Admission Appeals on 17th January 10.00 – 3.00pm.  To book please email margarett@rcdow.org.uk

For further information please contact maryryan@rcdow.org.uk or ianmcgibbon@rcdow.org.uk

 

RECONSTITUTION OF THE GOVERNING BODY

A gentle reminder to those who have not yet chosen their model for reconstitution: It is important that schools let the diocese know which model they have chosen so that we can produce the Instrument of Government and return it to governors for approval and signature.  Governing bodies with particular difficulties should contact the diocese for assistance.  We would like to ensure that all Instruments of Government have been signed by the bishop and governors and sent to the local authority before the Easter break.  This will give the local authorities time to process the documents and meet the deadline of 1st September 2015.

For further information please contact maryryan@rcdow.org.uk or ianmcgibbon@rcdow.org.uk

  

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

The website of the Information Commissioner’s Office has published details on what information schools should be providing on their websites.  There are two documents attached: the first, (FOI 1) for Secondary Schools, Academies and Sixth Form Colleges and the second (FOI 2) a template for primary and small schools.  Small schools may also use FOI 1 if they wish.  These documents are to assist schools to keep their information relevant and up to date. They are not exhaustive lists and not all of the information needs to be on the website.  However, it is important that all information on the website is relevant and up to date. This is one of the areas that Ofsted examines before they visit schools.  Please pass these documents to the staff member/parent/governor who deals with the website.

There will be governor and SLT training on Compulsory Policies for Schools on Thursday 12th February 2015 1.30 – 400pm and Data Protection and Freedom of Information on 25th February 2015 6.00 -8.00pm to book please email  margarett@rcdow.org.uk

For further information please contact  maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

 LEGAL UPDATE

New advice on cyberbullying was published today by the DfE.  This Advice can be reached through the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/374850/Cyberbullying_Advice_for_Headteachers_and_School_Staff_121114.pdf

 

Further updates are attached at (Legal update 1) on:

•             Educating young people about counter-terrorism

•             Legal challenges on term-time holidays

•             Data protection and subject access requests

•             Shared parental leave

 

Training on the new SEN regulations for governors and staff will be on:

Saturday 24th January 2015 10.00 – 3.00pm and

Saturday 7th February 10.00 – 3.00pm.  The contents of the two days training is different but delegates are welcome to attend either day or both.

Complaints Procedure training will take place on Saturday 9th March 6.00 -8.00pm.

To book please email margarett@rcdow.org.uk

CAPITAL

LCVAP 2015/16: Thank you for all of the proposals for capital projects. The School Building Committee (SBC) will be reflecting on the information supplied and creating a provisional ranking, in anticipation of the announcement of 2015/16 DfE Capital Funding for Schools, that is expected in December 14. The SBC is hopeful of confirming the list of projects that will receive LCVAP Grant before the February half-term break.

 

SCHOOL BUILDING INSURANCE

The guidance on all aspects of School Building Insurance can be obtained from the CCIA. Please contact John Rogers on 01296422030 or email jrogers@ccia.org.uk. In the event of an incident at your school where damage occurs, please inform the insurers as a matter of course. The loss adjuster will be able to confirm whether the loss is covered under the policy. In recent months, we have become aware of a number of loss related events that have been managed without reference to the insurer. We discovered that more than 60% of those losses would have been covered under the insurance scheme had a referral been made at the appropriate time.

 

Recently, one of the primary schools in our Diocese suffered a catastrophic loss. The cost of repair, including temporary accommodation (Business Continuity) and fees etc. is now in excess of £500,000.00. Had the school been uninsured or underinsured, it is doubtful that the school would have remained viable. The DfE does not retain funding for emergencies; therefore, it is essential that all of the Capital Assets used by our Catholic School Communities are correctly insured.

 

The Diocesan Trustees spent many months negotiating a package that protects Governors and their Schools. The vast majority of Schools have joined the Approved Scheme that is managed, on behalf of the Diocese of Westminster, by the Catholic Church Insurance Association (CCIA). Governing Bodies that have elected to purchase their insurance cover from elsewhere are reminded that they must secure the consent of their Landlord/Trustees before entering into or extending a contract. The CCIA has been commissioned to compare provisions. The CCIA has approved a number of applications where the school is insured through their local authority.

 

IMPORTANT: Please remember that it is the Governing Body that must obtain the consent of the Trustees and are therefore responsible for submitting detailed evidence in sufficient time to allow for a full assessment to be completed. It is advisable to commence this process at least six months before the current policy is due for renewal. In the absence of a letter from the Diocese/Trustees granting consent to purchase an alternative package, Governing Bodies will be expected to purchase the approved package and will be invoiced accordingly.

 

PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING

Thank you to all of the schools that have successfully uploaded evidence relating to applications for admission (September 2014). Members of the Diocesan Team will be working closely with the few remaining school to ensure that an appropriate submission from every school is logged on the TF Cloud Pupil Placement Planning Website.

 

Advanced Notice: In the Spring Term we will be asking every school to supply a data relating to:

 

  • Registered pupils – This will help us to monitor changes over time, particularly focused on the transition of pupils between school phases/sectors and demographic information relating to changes of location. Colleagues from Technology Forge are currently working on a process that will allow for the extraction of the required information from your School Information Management System without creating an onerous burden for your administration team. In order to be effective, every school will need to generate their evidence on the same day. The date of this years “snapshot” will be confirmed once we are confident that the process is robust and functional. Governors are advised to ensure that data protection policies are updated to include the transmission of pupil level data to the Diocese. Further advice on this matter will be issued next term (Spring 2015).
    • The data required includes:
      • Unique Pupil Number (UPN)
      • Date of Birth
      • Gender
      • Postcode
      • Religion

 

  • Applicants to Secondary School – Every school admitting pupils into year 7 is required to submit data relating to children/young people who are not registered pupils at their school but who have formally applied for a place at the school in September 2015. The deadline for the submission of this information is Friday 15 May 2015. The Upload CSV Form will be available from TF Cloud.
    • Access to TF Cloud is at: https://tfcloud.technologyforge.com/rcdowppp/
    • If you are unable to remember your password, you will be able to prompt for a new password and one will be sent through to the registered email address that has been established by each school. A full list of the registered email addresses will be circulated in April 2015 and we will facilitate changes as necessary. Most of the registered email addresses target a specific individual and these will need to be changed if that member of staff has left the school.
    • The data required will be:
      • UPN
      • DOB
      • Gender
      • Postcode
      • Catholic (Y/N) – Evidenced by Baptismal Certificate and/or Priest Reference
      • Expected to Start in September 2015 (Y/N) – Evidenced by Offer/Acceptance

 

  • Applicants to Primary/Infant School – Every school admitting pupils in to Reception is required to submit data relating to children who are not registered pupils at their school but who have formally applied for a place at the school in September 2015. The deadline for the submission of this information is Friday 15 May 2015. The Upload CSV Form will be available from TF Cloud.
    • Access to TF Cloud is at: https://tfcloud.technologyforge.com/rcdowppp/
    • Forgotten the TF Cloud Password: Please see the note above.
    • The data required will be:
      • UPN (Where Known)
      • DOB
      • Gender
      • Postcode
      • Catholic (Y/N) – Evidenced by Baptismal Certificate and/or Priest Reference
      • Expected to Start in September 2015 (Y/N) – Evidenced by Offer/Acceptance

 

Deanery Coordinators

Only two Deaneries opted to appoint a coordinator. This person can access the data relating to every school in their area and review applications. They can also support local colleagues with the uploading of data. With their local knowledge, the Deanery Coordinators can ensure that attendees at local Deanery Meetings are informed about local trends, issues and needs. The confirmed coordinators are:

  • Jon White – Stevenage
  • Peter Sweeney – Watford

Other Deaneries are welcome to submit the name of their coordinator once they have been appointed/elected. Those nominated individuals will be issued with the appropriate access rights into TF Cloud.

 

Further Developments: During 2015, there are two further aspects of Pupil Placement Planning that we hope to address:

  • The inclusion of evidence from our Independent School Colleagues. It is very likely that a number of the children listed on our database as unallocated are attending one of our Catholic Independent Schools. Therefore, it is important that the status of these children is accurately reflected when we engage in dialogue with local authorities. Our evidence becomes even more compelling if we can demonstrate that it accounts for placements in every school, maintained, academy and independent.
  • The inclusion of information relating to children and young people that are known at Parish level. Parish priests are concerned that some parents are not applying to Catholic Schools because they live too far away from a school. This data, and all of the parish data relating to children between the ages on zero and 5 years old (pre-school would support our engagements with the local authority when we are trying to demonstrate a Catholic Need. We would be delighted to work with a deanery that could help us to develop an information gathering and sharing protocol that is beneficial at both parish and diocesan levels.

 

We would welcome a conversation with representatives from both of these groups to determine how to proceed. If you would like to participate in this process, please contact Nigel Spears nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk.

 

Good News Slot

(Please note: this section of the communique 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! Please send your news to greenyl@rcdow.org.uk )

Congratulations to St Ignatius’ College, Enfield on their 120th Anniversary. They were delighted to welcome the Cardinal to celebrate Mass and bless a commemorative plaque; Cardinal Pole School, Hackney has won a Design Award for their wonderful new building; St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Brent has been awarded Gold Club status under a scheme set up by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to recognise exceptional schools in the capital; St Thomas More Primary School, Berkhamsted, has become one the first schools in Hertfordshire to receive the Primary Science Quality Mark Gold Award.  The PQSM award recognises excellence in Science.  For the Gold Award a school must also show that it has had an impact on the wider community; Finally, John Sloan, has recently been awarded Hertfordshire’s Outstanding Governor of the Year for his fantastic contributions to St Margaret Clitherow Primary School, Stevenage over many years.  Well done John.

 

Congratulations!