The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: March 2016

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

The Spring term often brings with it new hope, new opportunities and new resolutions. The word “Lent” has its etymological roots in an Old English word meaning “spring.” Lent allows us to find hope in the risen Christ; a new life in our relationship with Christ; a renewal in what it means to be a Catholic school and a time to celebrate what we stand for and share together. In March we welcome over 900 Primary School pupils to Westminster Cathedral to celebrate Mass with Cardinal Nichols. Representatives from over 130 schools will make their way through the Door of Mercy at the heart of our Diocese in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. In July of this year, pupils from our Sixth Forms will walk all the way from St Edmunds College, Ware to the Cathedral in Pilgrimage. Both occasions will be a wonderful opportunity to renew our faith and sense of community. Further details of both events can be found on our Diocesan website.  

Headteachers of both our Primary and Secondary Schools have had the opportunity to hear from Fr Damian Howard SJ on “Reclaiming spirituality for education in the light of Laudato Si”. This has been very well received along with the insight into “What Pope Francis has to say to Educators” presented by the writer and commentator Paul Vallely. By coming together at this time of the year we can renew our commitment to Catholic education and our common purpose to serve the common good. Our role is to develop talent, actively promote the dignity of an individual, encourage service and justice in our society and acknowledge and nurture the spiritual journey in everyone.

As we approach the publication of the new Education and Adoption Bill 2016, it is vital we look at what our Catholic schools are for and what we can do to help those that are vulnerable. As part of our response to this Bill the Education Service is reviewing, recalibrating and refining its Academy Policy to ensure that Catholic education in the Diocese has the care of the individual at its heart and the person of Jesus Christ at its soul. Over the next few months active dialogue and discussion with a wide range of stakeholders will help shape a unity of purpose and clarity of vision for our schools and colleges.

We are delighted that so many of our Secondary Schools were congratulated by the Education Minster Nick Gibb MP as being one of the top 100 non-selective state schools in the country. We hope this recognition will allow the expansion of more Catholic schools in our Diocese to serve the needs of parents and encourage pupils to appreciate, celebrate and communicate the importance of Catholic education in our society today.

The Education Service endeavours to be at all feedback of S5, S8 and S48 Inspections, however due to the very short notice given of these inspections sometimes we are not able to attend. To address this we are now adopting a policy of speaking to the Head or Chair within 24hrs of a feedback of those we cannot attend. Therefore, we hope all schools will appreciate that absence at these important events is never an oversight or lack of concern but results from stretched resources and short notice. We will do our very best to be there.       

Finally, this month witnesses the retirement of Sr Mary Jo Martin who steps down as interim Deputy Director. She has been an inspiration and wonderful team member of the Service who will be missed greatly. My sincere thanks and best wishes are joined by the voices of many across our community in wishing her well for the future. If you feel you are ready for a challenge in Catholic leadership please consider applying to become Deputy Director of Education. Details will be published in March and we would welcome your application.   

J P Morrison

Director of Education

 

STAFF RECRUITMENT PROJECT Eteach

Last summer, we were approached by Eteach, a major player in online leadership, teacher and support staff recruitment. They offer web-based advertising which reaches a similar number of potential applicants as TES. What is different is that it is far cheaper, controlled by the school, and could achieve wider coverage by linking to the diocesan website. With the discount we are being offered, a primary school could pay for a whole year’s advertising (of as many posts as they like) for less than the cost of a single advert in the TES.

Last term we ran a pilot with a dozen of our schools and the outcomes were very positive. In the last month more than thirty schools have joined. I would urge you to have a look at the attached information about the project, and consider contacting Eteach.  Contact details are at the back of the attached brochure – the offer period has been extended.

We really would urge you to give this serious consideration: we think it could make a real difference in our schools. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this with someone first, please contact Mike Pittendreigh, who is leading on this project.

Contact: Mike Pittendreigh mikep@rcdow.org.uk

 

Admissions

All admission arrangements (policy and SIF) should now have been determined by the governing body. The arrangements should be placed on the school website immediately and must be sent to the local authority by 15th March 2016. You will now have 3 sets of admission arrangements on your website: 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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

Admission Appeals

Information on your school’s organisation of admission appeals should now be on your website (dates and contact details etc). There is governor training on admission appeals on 12th March 2016.

To register please contact margarett@rcdow.org.uk

Complaints

There has been a slight adjustment to the Diocesan Complaints Procedure. The amended document is on the governors’ area of the diocesan website. All schools are reminded that they should adopt the diocesan Complaints Procedure at the first governors’ meeting of the school year.

Additional governor/staff training on resolving complaints has been scheduled for 2nd July 2016.

To register please email margarett@rcdow.org.uk

The Prevent Duty

Please note that the Prevent Duty will be discussed at the sessions for new governors on 12th November 2016 and for new Chairs of Governors on 8th October 2016.

To register please contact margarett@rcdow.org.uk

Information sheets on the Education and Adoption Act 2015/16 and on e-safety are attached to this bulletin

 

A note from Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann

During the Secondary Headteachers Conference you received a memory stick containing among other items the texts of the three JP2F4S  Virtues Booklets – with Teacher and Headteacher  Guides.

As yet, Fr Vlad has not received any communications from these Heads, and would welcome hearing from interested schools.

Please contact: vladimirfelzmann@rcdow.org.uk

 

LCVAP 2016/17

We are pleased to announce that the indicative allocations for 2016/17 LCVAP are now available. We received more than £21.75M of appropriate, condition related, proposals from Governing Bodies across the Diocese. The indicative allocation of LCVAP for Catholic VA Schools operating within the Diocese of Westminster is only £12.25M, therefore, a significant number of qualifying proposals have been unsuccessful. To ensure that LCVAP is deployed appropriately and efficiently, the Capital Strategy Committee of the Education Commission, with the support of colleagues from Diocesan Property and Finance, has considered the ranking of all applications and approved the final list.

Excel Workbooks detailing the indicative awards in each local authority area are published with this Bulletin.

CAUTION: Allocations at this time are still to be ratified by our local authority partners and may be reduced or suspended at their discretion. However, we are not anticipating any significant amendments and governing bodies that have secured a 2016/17 grant are advised to make progress and plan for the expeditious implementation of their proposal. If there is a reduction in allocation, it is most likely to affect those who are last to present their tendered project for formal approval from the Secretary of State.

PLEASE NOTE: It is a requirement of the Diocesan Trustees that Governing Bodies must employ a consultant from the “Approved List” to support the effective delivery of LCVAP Level projects. Indicative LCVAP Grants to school where the Governing Body does not employ an approved consultant may be withdrawn and the funding allocated to the next priority proposal.

 

PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING

Next term, we will be requesting information on applicants to our schools and academies (YR or Y7) This survey will focus on pupils who are expected to start the primary or secondary phase of their education in September 2016. The designated date for the Applications survey is Thursday 9 June 2016

 

Requested Information: This survey is of all applications for admission to Catholic Schools/Academies in the Diocese of Westminster. You are asked to confirm the details of every applicant to your school, including those who were unsuccessful. It is extremely helpful for the Education Service to be able to identify Catholic Children who are unable to secure a place in a Catholic School/Academy despite being the subject of an application to one or more of our schools. The collective intelligence from all schools has enabled us to engage with Local Authority colleagues with clear evidence of under capacity in the Catholic School provision in certain areas of our Diocese. We appreciate that it is unusual for Schools and Academies to be asked for information about unsuccessful applicants but, in determining the real issues that must be addressed by our Catholic Community, that information is vital.

 

This year, the main information that each school/academy will be asked to supply is as follows:

  • Date of Birth
  • Postcode
  • UPN – The Unique Pupil Number (UPN) (If Known)
  • Whether the applicant is a Baptised Catholic (Baptismal Certificate) (Y/N)
  • Whether the applicant has Accepted an offer of a place at your school for September 2016 (Y/N)

Following consultation with colleagues, we are confident that the admissions manager in  every school and academy uses an Excel Workbook to monitor the progression and ranking of applications . Therefore, we are not releasing a standardised template. Instead, we are requesting that colleagues generate an Excel report containing the fields listed above:

When naming and saving your Excel file, please use the following naming protocol:

DOW APPLY JUNE2016 (#######). The 7 # symbols in parenthesis should be replaced by the seven digit LA/School number that is assigned to your school or academy. Please email your generated report to nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk, including the protocol name in the subject line of your email, by 15:00 hours on Friday 10th June 2016. If you have any questions relating to the 2016 Applications/Admissions survey, please email nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk

 

ASBESTOS DATA COLLECTION

We have been asked to circulate the following information from the DfE

We wrote to you at the end of January to tell you about the national asbestos data collection and seek your support in encouraging responses from your headteachers.  The closing date was 29th February 2016. We have decided to extend the deadline for completing the form to 31 March 2016, and again seek your co-operation in encouraging those of your schools who have not yet responded to complete the form.   Please could you forward this message to your schools and encourage them to complete and return the online form if they have not already done so? 

The survey consists of a small number of straightforward questions about asbestos management for all headteachers to answer.   Once headteachers have completed the survey they will receive immediate feedback and advice based on their responses.  The survey is an excellent opportunity for schools to evaluate their approach to asbestos management, and a good return from schools will help you to understand the current picture and will give an up to date indication of how your schools manage asbestos.  It will also help us to develop future policy and support arrangements in this important area.

The deadline will not be extended beyond the end of March.  In April, we will write to you again and provide you with a full list of all responses from your schools.  You will be able to use this information to follow up those schools whose responses give cause for concern, taking account of the guidance available in Managing asbestos in schools.  These schools will also be asked to complete the online form again later this year.

Contact: nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk

 

Theology of the Body Conference for Educators and Formators

Please follow the following link for further details of this conference happening on 30th April 2016

http://www.stmarys.ac.uk/news/events/event/theology-of-the-body-conference-fro-educators-and-formators/

 

Free Online Safeguarding Training

The Diocese has  recently launched free, online Safeguarding training which is available to anyone connected to the Diocese- including anyone connected to Diocesan schools. The training is an E-Learning  programme with seven modules including Child Protection and Child Exploitation & Online Safety. It is completely free so if any head teachers would like their staff to enrol then all they need to do is submit their request for registration by emailing: safeguardingadmin@rcdow.org.uk with the following details of the person to be enrolled: Name, email address, the name of your school, and role e.g. school governor.

This training is also available to the general public so it would be great if the school could advertise it to parents in a newsletter for example. We have found when promoting it in parishes parents have been particularly interested in the Child Exploitation & Online Safety module. Overall, the training is a great way to raise the profile/promote a culture of safeguarding.

For more information please find the brochure attached to this Bulletin.

Contact Rachel Haynes: rachelhaynes@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 )

Many Congratulations to St Anne’s High School for Girls, Enfield who have received a letter from the Minister of State – Nick Gibbs for being in the Top 100 schools Nationally for Value Added Measure; St James, Barnet, also got a letter from the Minister congratulating them for being one of the top 100 schools in the country showing the greatest sustained improvement in GCSE attainment; St Gregory’s, Kenton, were congratulated by the Minister for also being in the top 100 schools, both for performance at GCSE and in the English Baccalaureate as was St Mary’s Catholic School, Bishop’s Stortford; also among the top 100 is St Michael’s High School, Watford. It is extraordinary for the Diocese to have so many secondary schools in this category. Well done.

St Joseph’s Cadogan Street has, once again, been ranked in the top 1% of schools in the country for ‘value added’ to a child’s education.  This has been for 3 years running – 2013, 2014 and 2015! Further to that, the school appeared in the DfE ‘Golden 28’ list.  These are the top 28 schools in the country who have added value and high expectations to all children, in particular, more vulnerable groups.