The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: July 2014

From the Director of Education

Dear Colleagues in Catholic Education,

The end of term is very much within reach and on behalf of the Education Service I wish to extend to you our deep felt appreciation and gratitude for all the leadership and work you and your governing body have accomplished over the academic year. I hope that you enjoy your well-deserved rest and return with vigour to build on the successes of this year and continue to develop and nurture the Catholic life and identity and academic achievements of your school community.

We have a lot to be proud about. We have a lot to contribute to education and the wider community and a key focus next year will be developing the networks of support and sharing of outstanding practice across our Diocesan schools. We will be commissioning work on leadership and management; governance; curriculum and the Catholic life of the School. The Education Service seeks to share the expertise and quality we have in these areas to those schools who feel they have the capacity to improve.

The Education Service will also focus on providing pre and post inspection support. All our schools need high quality advice and direction in regard to the standards we expect in Religious education and the Catholic life of the school. We aim to be consistent and clear in the stretch and challenge we provide to our family of schools. Helping schools with their own self-evaluation is key to this process and clarity on content and levels – at a time of change and upheaval in education nationally – in Religious Education will be measured against the Curriculum Directory. All schools will be provided support through training on those programmes they are delivering.

The Education Service will be developing and pioneering a new programme of support for governing bodies in regard to Succession Planning. This year we have had thirty one Headship appointments and that is unprecedented. It is vital that we take a strategic and clearly defined path in regard to the new wave of senior leaders in our schools. Identification of future leaders needs to be earlier and those individuals tracked and actively encouraged to lead our schools in the future.

The Education Service will be providing a new process in the appointment of Foundation Governors. A separate document will be sent to schools outlining the changes and taking into account the wider changes in governance set out by the CES this summer to be implemented in the new academic term.

The Diocesan Section 48 Inspection Committee has produced a summary of the survey responses they received from schools in relation to the inspection process. This summary will be sent to all schools before the end of term.

Finally, the CPD programme for the next academic year will be published before the end of term and has a new format and will be available electronically to ensure it reaches a wider audience. Please ensure it is passed on to the governing body and key staff.  

Have a wonderful summer break and thank you for the work you do and the difference you are making to the lives of those you serve and the Catholic community in our Diocese.

Yours sincerely,

JP Morrison

Director of Education  


 

Capital Strategy Committee (CSC)

The Education Commission has established a sub-committee to ensure a strategic overview of the capital needs of education in the Diocese. Often Headteachers and Governing Bodies apply through LCVAP funding for school improvement and development not knowing how priorities are made and that decisions taken by the Diocese are matched against an Asset Management Plan. This sub-committee is to provide clarity and strategy in dealing with capital funding projects. 

It is anticipated that the CSC will ensure that the Commission can shape a coherent capital, buildings and places planning strategy by:

  • Providing an oversight of the condition and development of the Diocesan education estate in order to inform the Trustees about both risk and developments;
  • Making recommendations about emerging priorities within the Trustees educational estate;
  • Reacting quickly to maximize opportunities for capital funding, particularly from government and other grant funded sources;
    • Engaging with the DfE, local authorities and other partners in securing sufficient funding to carry out the Diocese’s educational strategy.

Bishop John Sherrington has appointed the following as members of the CSC:

Commission Members:

Mr John Asgian; Mrs Sue Flockton; Mrs Kate Griffin, (chair of the CSC)

Officer members:

The Financial Secretary; The Assistant Education Director (Capital Strategy); The Property Manager.

The Archbishop, the Chairman of the Education Commission and the Director of Education are ex-officio members.

Full terms of reference of the committee can be seen on the service website.


 

Legal update – Admissions

  1. ‘School admission of children adopted from local authority care’  May 2014.The government has now accepted that children adopted from local authority care should be given highest priority, regardless of when they were adopted. (Previously priority was only given to those adopted since 30/12/15.) The DfE now expects governing bodies and appeals panels to adopt this wider interpretation.

In order to ensure compliance with the guidance, schools should remove any reference to the ‘Adoption and Children Act 2002’ from their policy and SIF. This new guidance will apply to 2014-2015 in-year applications, to the 2015-2016 admissions round and to subsequent admissions.

Many schools will already have made this change in accordance with previous diocesan guidance and they do not need to do anything further.

Please note that this does not affect our obligation to give highest priority to adopted and looked-after Catholic children and further priority to other adopted or looked-after children above all other (non-Catholic) children.

  1. Under the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, residence orders have been replaced by ‘child arrangements orders’. Policies and SIFs should be amended to reflect this change.

  1. Schools are asked to check their local authority website to ensure that the correct version of the school admissions policy and SIF have been posted there.

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


Reconstitution of Governing Bodies

This is a reminder to schools that have not yet reconstituted under the 2012 Regulations, that they should choose their selected model and notify the diocese so that a new Instrument of Government can be drawn up. (This does not apply to academies, independent schools or those who have reconstituted under the new regulations).

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


Insurance

Schools are reminded that those holding buildings insurance through the Catholic Church Insurance Association (CCIA), should make the CCIA their first port of call (tel. 01296 422030), when considering making a claim.


Diocesan Inspection Survey Monkey

The analysis of the responses to the survey monkey on THE DIOCESAN INSPECTION PROCESS has been completed. This is available as an attachment to this communique.  Whilst the numbers who responded were not high, the Inspection Committee was satisfied that we had given everyone the opportunity to participate, and many more did informally, rather than through the survey.

The responses, as well as the returns from the monitoring forms sent after each inspection, were presented to the Education Commission at their July meeting last week, with some recommendations for slight changes to the inspection process.

During the Autumn Term these changes will be presented to schools for implementation in January 2015 when a new edition of the Diocesan Framework will be published.  Update sessions on the changes will be offered in the Autumn term.

Thank you to all those who participated in the survey and who contacted us regarding the inspection process.


Articles of Interest

Religious Education formation - http://rcdow.org.uk/education/news/primary-and-secondary-teachers-discover-the-richness-of-other-faiths-from-a-catholic-perspective-/

Watford Deanery primary school transition - http://rcdow.org.uk/education/news/the-great-transition-watford-schools-come-together-to-bridge-primary-and-secondary-schools-gap/


 

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 )

Gunnersbury Boys School, Hounslow on receiving a letter from the Minister of State for Schools, Mr David Laws, congratulating them as one of the top 100 non-selective schools in England whose pupils have achieved five or more A*-C grade GCSES, including Maths and English; St Joseph’s Primary School, Macklin Street, Camden for winning the 2014 Primary Schools of the Year Award in London. The school received the news from the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who informed them that this award meant that the school would be put forward for consideration for the National Primary School of the Year Award as well; they were and they came second nationally overall. The Deputy Prime Minister also  emphasised what a huge achievement this was for St Joseph’s and a testament to their hard work – 200 entries were received this year and the standard was very high; Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Stonebridge, Brent  and two of their Year 6 pupils, Tykayla De-Gale and Maizie Fashoni for being selected to represent Brent at The London Youth Games; congratulations to their fellow students Andrew Shode and Kayana Isidore for just missing out; St Thomas More Catholic School, Haringey for winning the 2014 Secondary School of the Year Award for Pupil Premium achievement in London; Many congratulations to the Head of Larmenier and Sacred Heart Primary School, Hammersmith, Sister Hannah Dwyer for being a Silver Teaching Award Winner.  Sister Hannah was one of just 55 winners who received awards in schools and colleges across England, Ireland and Wales on ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ back in May.  Sister Hannah was surprised with the award during assembly at the school by Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop and Chairman of the Westminster Diocese.  The Bishop told the assembly that Sister Hannah, through her years of dedication and vocation to teaching and learning and to Catholic leadership, had enabled thousands of children to develop their God-given gifts and become the people God wished them to be. Described as an “educational force of nature” Sister Hannah is a Headteacher whose knowledge and understanding of how children learn and what they need to succeed is unparalleled.

Congratulations!