From the Director of Education
Dear Colleagues in Catholic Education,
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all students throughout our Diocese who are about to undertake public examinations, at both Primary and Secondary level, every success in their endeavours and please convey my sincere thanks to all your staff who have prepared them for the weeks ahead.
The summer term is a unique and busy time, especially for Headteachers and governors, and I am all too aware just how much responsibility rests with you to get it right. Your hard work, diligence and professionalism is valued and appreciated. It is also the time that preparing for the new academic year gathers pace and both plans and individuals are put in place to achieve the desired outcomes for those students we serve. I wish you well for the weeks ahead.
All of us have been affected and stunned by the atrocity that took place at Corpus Christi High School, Leeds at the start of the term. I have written to Steve Mort, the Headteacher, on all our behalf expressing our sadness, prayers and support for him and the wonderful school community Mrs Ann Maguire RIP served with distinction. We have learned what a special community she was part of and it is no surprise that she had remained there for so many years. All our schools must come together at times like this to pray for the Maguire family, the school community and the student involved and his family. Faith has defined their public response and we have a duty to offer them any support we are able to give.
Keep in your prayers the missing 234 schoolgirls of Chibok, Nigeria who were abducted by a group that have no respect for life, education or their faith. I am sure you will agree that the right to an education free of violence and intimidation is a non-negotiable. We all hope for their safe return to their families and loved ones. Also, the South Korean ferry disaster affecting the pupils of Danwon High School which has confirmed over 242 deaths and a further 60 missing, has devastated a school community in a way none of us can imagine. The ferry sank on April 16 while en route from Incheon to Jeju, a resort island off the nation's southwestern coast. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all affected by both tragedies.
Education and teachers have received a very high public profile recently. Be proud of what you do, be proud of what your community is achieving in developing the faith and academic progress of the students who are in our Diocesan schools.
I have produced a detailed action plan for the Diocese of Westminster Education Service and this will be published for you and your governors after the Education Commission has approved its contents. It has taken into consideration all the feedback presented to me at the recent Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher conferences.
It is abundantly clear to me after being in post for five months that the Diocese has a depth and breadth of talent that is a privilege to work for and with. Over the months ahead it is vital for me to increase our capacity to share that expertise around and promote excellence and witness to faith across a wide range of need and requests.
It requires a plan, which has been done. It requires your willingness to engage and communicate with the Diocesan team to celebrate your expertise and achievements. I wish to hear those stories and accomplishments that you are proud of and the wider community can learn from.
It has been a privilege to visit so many schools and I am grateful to all those I have visited so far. I am being approached to provide clarity and direction on Academy status; governance; succession planning; Religious Education provision and assessment. Along with my experienced team each one of these issues will be addressed and specific information sent to you on each one.
Therefore I highly recommend your presence at this year’s Headteachers’ Conference held at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Tuesday 1st July 2014 with Dr Rik Van Niewenhove as our guest speaker, currently a lecturer in Theology in Ireland. It will also be an opportunity to present to you the Action Plan for the Diocese and the key steps ahead for us all.
Finally, the Service Level Agreement letter will have reached you by now and I would be grateful for your kind attention to its contents.
I hope the new look communique will be of use to you and key individuals within your school community. Please ensure you pass this email and its contents to your Chair of Governors especially and the rest of your staff.
Be assured of my prayers, support and gratitude for what you do.
Director of Education
The Inspection Committee invites heads, governors, inspectors, associates, subject leaders in religious education, advisers and anyone with any interest in inspection, to participate in a review of the Diocesan Inspection process. The survey will be sent out to schools on WEDNESDAY 30 APRIL with a return date of FRIDAY 9 MAY. If you have not already done so, please make sure you do.
PLEASE inform your governors, leadership team and subject leader in religious education of the survey and encourage them to participate.
Reconstitution of Governing Bodies
All schools will, last week, receive a letter outlining the changes that need to be made by each governing body to bring it in line with regulations currently being laid before Parliament. The changes need to be in place by 1st September 2015 at the latest and therefore the initial steps need to be taken this term. When the governing body has chosen its model of reconstitution this information should be sent to email@example.com A draft Instrument of Government will then be sent to governors. It is a statutory requirement that this document be approved by the Bishop before being sent to the local authority.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Note on Summer Born Children
Some local authorities want schools to include in their admission policies a paragraph on summer born children and admission to a different year group. The decision whether or not to admit a child out of his/her chronological year group has always been at the discretion of the governing body. Should governors wish to include such a paragraph, the following is suggested, “Parents have the right to apply for a school place for their child outside his/her chronological age group. The application will be considered by governors on the basis of the circumstances of each case. Such places will only be offered in exceptional circumstances.”
Primary schools should also point out that this may cause problems on transfer to secondary school where the application will have to be considered afresh and the child may be allocated a place in his/her chronological year group.
All schools must have sent their determined policies and SIFs (not priest’s reference form) to their local authority by 1st May 2014 (with a copy to the diocese please). The determined policy and SIF must also be placed on the school’s website, with a link to the Home Page so that it is easy for all parents to find.
There should now be 3 sets of admission arrangements on the school’s website:
2013-2014 – to be removed on 31st August 2014
2014-2015 – to be removed on 31st August 2015
2015-2016 – to be removed on 31st August 2016
For further information please contact email@example.com
There will be Admission Appeals training on 10th May 2014 at Vaughan House 10.00 – 3.00pm.
This is for those wishing to sit on Admission Appeals Panels.
There are two courses for Presenting Officers on 7th June and 21st June at Vaughan House 10.00 – 1.00pm (these are identical courses so only one need be attended). These courses are for Headteachers, Deputies and for all members of the school’s Admissions Committee (it is recommended that all members of the admissions committee should receive this training as they may be called on to present the school’s case to the Admission Appeals Panel)
This course on 14th June at Vaughan House 10.00 – 1.00pm, is for governors and staff and looks at how to deal with complaints from when they are first made up to the formal complaints appeal panel.
Diocesan Coat of Arms
Please note that where a school uses the diocesan coat of arms on its supplementary information form, this should now be in the new format. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Internship at Apostleship of the Sea
The Apostleship of the Sea is the Catholic Church’s maritime charity and is seeking an intern to join its fundraising team for the month of August 2014. The intern can expect to gain a hands-on experience of work in the charity sector and learn about its relationship with the world of shipping. This position is unpaid. Informal interviews on 28th May.
If you have familiarity with Microsoft Office and are available during August submit a cover letter and CV to: email@example.com
SVP St John Bosco Camp
This camp children aged 8-13 a sports and activity based holiday on a campsite in the Essex countryside. Run with a Catholic ethos, the camp is especially for children who may not have any other holiday this year. There are three weeks of the camp:
For many details and for application forms see our website: www.svpboscocamp.org.uk
An Introduction to Islam June 10th 2014 at Vaughan House
The course is open to Primary and Secondary school teachers.
This day begins in Vaughan House and in the afternoon we will be visiting a Mosque in Whitechapel. Helping to facilitate the day will be Shabnam Khan.
The course will be relevant to the RECD.
Shabnam will be providing resource materials made available by the Muslim Council of Britain.
Chaplains’ Conference June 20th 2014 at Milleret House, Kensington Square
We are finding that a few Primary schools are appointing chaplains now therefore this day is open to all chaplains.
As a more reflective day this conference is being held in the Assumption retreat centre in Kensington. It will be an opportunity for prayer and spiritual support. (Programme to follow.)
NOCN Diocese Verification Meeting June 24th 2014 at Vaughan House
All secondary schools and colleges who enter students for the NOCN course at KS4 or 5 must attend this meeting. Gill Greeves from NOCN will also be attending.
Heads of Religious Education Conference July 3rd- 4th 2014 at St. Ethelreda’s
This is a rare opportunity to hear Brian Davies O.P. (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Fordham University, New York). Also include on the programme will be discussion of the wide ranging changes currently occurring in Religious Studies at GCSE and A Level, plus a guided tour of relevant place of interest in the City of London. There are now only five (5) places left on the Conference.
However; an additional forty (40) places will be available for Secondary teachers of Religious Education for the lectures on Thursday July 3rd with Brian Davies. (Flyers and booking forms will be sent to all schools and colleges at the beginning of May.)
For information contact Stephen Horsman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting facilities at Milleret House, High St Kensington
Milleret House is a former convent of the Religious of the Assumption which has been recently refurbished and is now available to schools, charities and church groups for hire. In brief, we have 4 main meeting rooms with a mix of formal and informal seating and are able to accommodate between 5-50 people. We are ideally placed for INSET, staff away days, or retreat days for student groups.
Facilities include: a loop system, A/V equipment (including drop down screen and ceiling mounted data projector), an integrated sound system, Wi-Fi access throughout, tea and coffee facilities.
Dining room and kitchen on ground floor for the preparation and serving of meals: very well equipped kitchen, plenty of cutlery and crockery etc. Although we do not offer catering in house, sandwich platters and lunches can easily be ordered and collected from M&S, Pret a Manger or Whole Foods locally. The house is set in peaceful grounds and we are a Fairtrade establishment. We are situated a 2 minute walk from High St Kensington tube station, adjacent to Heythrop College in Kensington Square.
Please do get in touch if you would like to arrange a visit, to discuss our rates and see our facilities for yourselves.
Contact Sophie Stanes on 020 7361 4756 or email email@example.com
Milleret House, Convent of the Assumption, 20 Kensington Square, W8 5HH
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 firstname.lastname@example.org )
St Anne’s High School for Girls, Enfield who have received an award for Outstanding Educational Outcomes from SSAT for being in the top 20% nationally of non-selective schools for attainment and progress and value-added; St Mark’s School, Hounslow on receiving a letter from the Minister of State for Schools, Mr David Laws congratulating them as one of the top 100 schools in England whose pupils have achieved 5+A*-C including English and Maths; St Thomas More School, Wood Green for winning the Under 17 Middlesex Cup Final against Finchley Catholic High and for winning the Middlesex Cup 2nd XI Final against Uxbridge College; congratulations again to St Thomas More, Wood Green winners of London Youth Games Sportshall Athletics Year 8 female competition; victory to the Year 7 females in their competition; finally St Thomas More, Wood Green have been selected by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to become a national teaching school. St Gregory’s and The Convent of Jesus and Mary, Brent have recently received awards for being in the top 20% of schools nationally for outstanding student progress.