The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: January 2013

Message from Bishop John Sherrington, Chairman of the Education Commission

I would like to congratulate Paul Barber on his appointment as Director of the Catholic Education Service beginning in April this year. Since his appointment as Diocesan Director in 2003, Paul has brought energy and dedication to the Service to ensure that the Catholic identity of our schools is fostered and that Catholic education was been developed. I wish to thank him for this commitment and assure him of prayers for his future work at a national level on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference.

We will shortly be advertising and seeking a new Director of Education for the diocese. In a rapidly changing national environment of education, it is essential that we seek the right person and find a committed Catholic leader for this important post. The Director promotes the educational work of the diocese by providing vision, leadership and direction to the Education Service. In this he or she is responsible to the Education Commission which has delegated to it overall responsibility for strategy and policy. I would be very grateful for your view on the qualities which will be needed in a future director to ensure that our schools provide outstanding Catholic education in all subjects, excellent religious education, and the education of the whole person in their God-given gifts. You may also wish to identify priorities for the work of the new director. The views submitted by head teachers and governing bodies will be collated and discussed by the members of the Commission dealing with the appointment. They should be sent to education@rcdow.org.uk 

Please pray for the successful recruitment of a leader to fulfil this important post.

Bishop John Sherrington

 

Director of Education: New Official E-mail Address

For some time we have encouraged schools to establish permanent ‘official’ e-mail addresses, particularly for the head teacher.  In order to facilitate a smooth handover to the current Director of Education’s successor, we are doing the same. We have therefore set up a new e-mail address: directorofeducation@rcdow.org.uk for use for all official correspondence with the Director of Education. We ask all schools specifically contacting the Director on diocesan business to use this e-mail address rather than the existing paulbarber@rcdow.org.uk which will eventually be discontinued. Alternatively, if the message is not specifically to the Director, please continue to use the generic e-mail address: education@rcdow.org.uk which will allow your correspondence to be directed quickly to the most appropriate member of the Service. 

The Wednesday Word

A National Mission to 21st Century School Families

All schools will shortly receive a pack introducing the primary school version of The Wednesday Word. We know some schools already subscribe to this initiative, and others may already be familiar with the parish version of The Wednesday Word. The Wednesday Word spreads the Gospel in a powerful new way - sowing seeds to school parents and their families. It is endorsed by the Archbishop of Westminster, and the Diocesan Education Commission has authorised its promotion among schools in the Diocese. 

The Wednesday Word is a Charitable Trust based at St Austin’s Catholic Church in the Diocese of Leeds. The Trustees are all committed Catholics and consist of a Catholic head teacher, a Benedictine Monk, three priests and two Catholic parents, including a foundation governor. The Trustees endeavour to further the mission of the Catholic Church. They seek to serve our Bishops by working in partnership with head teachers, priests and school governors to strengthen the Home, School and Parish partnership through the distribution of The Wednesday Word leaflet.

The Wednesday Word mission aims to help all school families draw closer to God, to the Church and to each other. The Wednesday Word particularly seeks to reach those parents who do not take their baptised children to church or read the Bible together. The primary school version of The Wednesday Word is a double-sided A4 leaflet which carries the Sunday Gospel into school family homes. The children receive the leaflet in school each week for them to take home with them to read with the rest of the family. This way, the Word will be sent out (as in the Parable of the Sower and the Seed), creating a new opportunity for the Word to be present in the homes of school families connected to participating primary schools. The weekly appearance of The Wednesday Word in the home is also designed to act as a regular invitation to the Eucharist throughout the time that the family is connected to the life of the school. This is a most excellent way to support school families and a wonderful new way to enhance the Home, School and Parish partnership. We strongly encourage schools to consider subscribing to this initiative. For further details, see: www.wednesdayword.org 

New Diocesan Inspection Schedule (including s.48)

As a consequence of new arrangements for OFSTED inspections, all Diocesan Inspections (including s.48) will in future be scheduled independently from the timing of the Ofsted inspections (including s.5 & s.9 inspections). These new arrangements – to conduct Diocesan inspections according to our own Schedule based upon the last Diocesan Inspection Grade received by the school - offer us greater freedom to manage the Diocesan inspection process as we wish and free us from the constraints of Ofsted schedules which did not always meet the needs of our schools. As a result of these arrangements, the Education Commission, on the recommendation of the Inspection Committee, have agreed the following Schedule for all our Catholic schools in the Diocese.

Schools awarded the following grades on their previous Diocesan Inspection will be inspected according to the following timescale:

GRADE 1*OUTSTANDING    Every 5 years

GRADE 1VERY GOOD            Every 5 years

GRADE 2GOOD                        Every 5 years 

These schools will have a risk assessment after the 3rd. year 

GRADE 3REQUIRES IMPROVEMENTEvery 3 years 

GRADE 4CAUSING CONCERNEvery 2 years*

*In the case of schools causing concern, there will also be monitoring visits in accordance with the Inspection Handbook

As the Diocesan schedule now has 2 grades awarded at each inspection, the lower grade will be the trigger for either the risk assessment or the timing of the next inspection. Schools will be informed of their inspection the term before it is due and the inspector will arrange the date with the head, as in present practice. Copies of the New Framework for Inspection can be purchased from Vaughan House (an order form is enclosed/attached). A complimentary copy is included with this Bulletin.

With the introduction of the new Schedule, responsibility for the organisation and management of the inspection process will pass from Mike Pittendreigh to Sister Mary Jo Martin. Mike Pittendreigh organised and managed an excellent process over the past 8 years with great success. This change of responsibility enables him to carry forward his work with heads and governing bodies.

As of January 2013, all matters relating to inspections should be made directly to:

Sister Mary Jo Martin, Diocesan Chief Inspector  maryjomartin@rcdow.org.uk    tel: 020 7798 9193

Succession Planning

The final day course for those considering leadership in school is on Friday 8th February 2013. These courses provide support and advice on next steps for teachers at various stages of their careers. If you are interested in attending please contact josephinelewis@rcdow.org.uk.

Admission Appeals Training*

There will be admission appeals training at Vaughan House on Saturday 9th February 2013       10 a.m. - 3.00 p.m. This training is aimed at governors who wish to know more about admission appeals and who may wish to sit on an admission appeals panel.  There will be a further session next term on 24th April 2013. There will also be two sessions for presenting officers (the governor or head teacher presenting the school's case to the appeals panel) on 11th May and 10th June.  All members of the admissions committee (and head teacher or deputy where applicable) should have attended one of these sessions.

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

Admissions*

All 2014-2015 Admission Arrangements should now have been received by the Diocese and forwarded to your local authority.  Please note that the latest date to begin consultation on these arrangements was 7th January 2013. You are, however, permitted by the School Admissions Code to make any alterations necessary in order to comply with legislation and Guidance without going out to consultation. If you are not sure whether or not you should have consulted please contact: maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

In March 2013 all governing bodies should meet to discuss any representations made during the consultation, decide whether to make amendments and then determine the admission arrangements. The determined arrangements must be forwarded to the Diocese and the local authority by 15th April.  They should then be displayed on the school website. 

Schools must also publish their arrangements for 2013 admission appeals on their website by 28th February 2013. This should include any form, a date by which the appeal should be received and contact details of the person who will be supplying information to parents and organising the appeals.

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

Aspiring Heads of Religious Education – 26th February Vaughan House

All secondary schools are encouraged to send delegates who may be looking towards becoming a Head of Religious Education to attend this course. The course will present delegates with the opportunity to:

  • meet and share with colleagues from other schools; 
  • explore the skills of leadership and management; 
  • explore the vision of what it means to be Head of Religious Education.

The course will be of particular benefit to those who may already be deputy Head/Second in Charge of Department, or who have at least three years’ teaching experience. 

Please book with Margaret Theissl email: margarett@rcdow.org.uk tel 020 7798 9005

Celebrating the Year of Faith

We have been asked by a firm called ‘School Signs’ to circulate the enclosed/attached flyer to our schools. It offers a cost effective way of promoting the Year of Faith.

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!)

Please send it any items of Good News to be included in the next Bulletin.