The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: September 2015

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

 

Welcome to the start of another exciting and rewarding year teaching and serving in Catholic education. This academic year will witness some significant changes and improvements. The Diocesan Admissions Policy has been updated and will incorporate the work of the CES Working Party on Admissions to ensure compliance and to bring it in line with the changes made nationally. This will be submitted to schools this term. The introduction of the Certificate of Catholic Practice (CCP) this year is to ensure uniformity and clarity by Admissions Authorities of schools and colleges regarding religious practice.

The new Certificate of Practice (CCP) is for immediate use by all Primary Schools (including junior and infant schools) that have ‘practicing Catholic’ as a criterion for admission. No other test of Catholicity can be used except the submission of a Baptismal Certificate or a Certificate of Reception requested by the school. There will be an Admissions Training Day for Governors and Headteachers on 21st November at 10am at Vaughan House.     

Religious Studies

The new Religious Studies GCSE and A Level specifications will present interesting opportunities and challenges in the year ahead. I am sure that many of you will already be reviewing the draft of the Religious Studies specification as part of the future planning process.  The Catholic school exists to present the fullness of Catholic faith and a solid Catholic religious education programme which is determined by the RE Curriculum Directory. The GCSE is required to fit into this framework as well as to meet the expectations of the DfE. The CES has worked hard to bring a scheme to the bishops for approval and this process has now been completed.

In the Diocese of Westminster, the Bishop, following the lead of the Bishops’ Conference (C.f. canon 804), has decided that all students will follow the course of study at GCSE which includes the study of Catholic Christianity (Religion 1, 50%), a study of Judaism (Religion 2, 25%) and either the study of a text (St. Mark’s Gospel from a Catholic perspective) or philosophy and ethics from a Catholic perspective. There are two specifications that offer this combination – AQA Specification B and Edexcel Specification A.

Bishop Sherrington has explained that the reason for the study of Judaism is that it provides a foundation for Christian faith and will help deepen the students’ understanding of Catholic Christian teaching and practice, especially through examination of its beliefs, practices and feasts. It is expected that all Catholic secondary schools in the diocese will follow this policy.

The Education Service of the diocese will be offering a programme of support to help prepare for teaching of the new GCSE and A Level in September 2016.

Contact:   Amanda Crowley,  amandacrowley@rcdow.org.uk

The Diocesan Schools’ Working Party on the Year of Mercy has been actively producing practical and creative ideas to celebrate this wonderful opportunity for our schools. Full details and resources will be advertised this term on our website. This will include details on how to produce a Door of Mercy in your school; Pilgrimages to the Cathedral; Students Conferences; Assembly materials for each year group; Class debates on forgiveness and understanding; Activity packs; Blogs and Missionaries of Mercy.  

Our CPD programme for Governors and Teachers has been sent to each school. The Diocese will also be sending out a Wall Chart that advertises each course for every staff room.

Thank you for all you are doing for Catholic education.   

With best wishes

JP Morrison

Director of Education

 

New Chief Inspector

The new Diocesan Chief Inspector – Mrs. Jane Goring – is now in place.  Jane comes to the department with over 20 years’ experience in school leadership and most recently as Deputy Head of John Henry Newman in Stevenage.  Jane has been a member of the Inspection Committee since its inception in 2009 and part of the team who revised the Red Book and wrote the Diocesan Framework and Handbook.  Jane has also contributed to the training of lead and associate inspectors and has been an inspector for the Diocese since 2006.  Jane will be in contact with schools regarding the next stage of the development of the inspection process. Currently she is engaged in the on-going training of new lead and associate inspectors. With the Inspection Committee she will be reviewing the highly successful ‘Red Book’ to reflect recent changes in legislation. 

Jane will be working 3 days per week based at Vaughan House.  Her email address is janegoring@rcdow.org.uk and can be contacted by phone on 020 7798 9183 or 07710 088910.

 

Safeguarding Procedures  ANNUAL REMINDER 

Schools are reminded of their duty to be familiar with and follow the safeguarding procedures established by their Local Safeguarding Children Board. Internal procedures should be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that they meet the requirements of the local Board. Further information can be obtained from the Child Protection section of the Department for Education  website

(http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/pastoralcare/childprotection). The same site provides the DfE suggested child protection policy which complies with these requirements.

Appointment of Heads, Deputies and Assistant Heads  ANNUAL REMINDER 

The Chair of Governors must ensure that he or she notifies the Diocesan Director of Education about a vacancy for a head teacher or deputy head teacher before taking any action, including appointing an acting headteacher, or advertising the vacancy. This also applies to assistant head teachers in schools where there is no deputy head teacher. All these posts are reserved for practising Catholics only. J P Morrison, as Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster, wishes any notification about vacancies for the posts mentioned above to be communicated to Mike Pittendreigh, Assistant Director. Mike will then coordinate diocesan representation in this process. If a maintained school has accorded advisory rights to the local authority, the school must also inform the appropriate local authority Officer of the vacancy.

Contact: Mike Pittendreigh on 020 7798 9005 or email mikep@rcdow.org.uk

Governors: Election of Chair and Vice ChairANNUAL REMINDER 

The governing body must elect a Chair and Vice Chair. The regulations do not prescribe the process, which is left to governors to organise. It is good practice though to agree on the procedure for the election at the meeting before. It is usual that the election takes place at the first meeting of the Autumn Term. The head teacher and or other school employees are disqualified from standing for these offices. For those governing bodies that are in the process of electing Chairs and Vice Chairs it is timely to remind them that the chair has a vital role in ensuring that the governors share with the staff and parents the school’s aims and objectives and that these are at the forefront of all that they undertake. There is an expectation that the chair will be a foundation governor: the importance of the Chair being a Catholic cannot be overestimated if due regard is to be given to promoting the Catholic ethos in all aspects of school life. It is to be hoped, therefore, that foundation governors will prepare themselves to stand for election as Chair. Once a new Chair and Vice-Chair have been elected this must be notified immediately by the clerk to the Education Service: governors@rcdow.org.uk  This ensures that our database is correct and saves much time and inconvenience.

Governors: Notification of Changes  ANNUAL REMINDER 

It is also important that all resignations of governors are notified to the diocese. This is also true for new appointments or elections of governors (other than diocesan foundation governors). Often the diocese is not informed of the election of new parent or staff governors. Please send the information to: governors@rcdow.org.uk

Minutes of Governing Body MeetingsANNUAL REMINDER 

The minutes of all full governing body meetings should be sent by the clerk to the governors to the diocese. Please send electronic copies (preferred) to: education@rcdow.org.uk (please note change of e-mail address).

Contact: Ian McGibbon on 020 7798 9005 or email ianmcgibbon@rcdow.org.uk

Governors: Appointment ProcessANNUAL REMINDER 

A reminder that foundation governors are not appointed by governing bodies, but by the Bishop or relevant religious superior. Diocesan Foundation Governors are appointed from among those who offer to serve the Diocese in this capacity – the appointment process includes consideration of which school can best benefit from what each volunteer can offer. Governing bodies are therefore asked to continue to encourage suitable volunteers to offer their services, regardless of whether their particular school has any current vacancies. Full details on how to offer to serve can be found on our website. To avoid misunderstanding, governing bodies should not indicate that appointments will be made to any particular school, nor invite candidates to take part in governing body meetings until the diocese has indicated that an appointment will be made to that governing body.

Admissions: Choosing a Catholic School – Secondary ProspectusANNUAL REMINDER 

The Diocesan Secondary Prospectus for Admission in September 2016 is available on the Diocesan Website. We ask all Primary schools to ensure that a copy is given to the parents of all Year 6 pupils. Following the advice in the Prospectus fully will ensure, to a degree approaching certainty, a place in a Catholic secondary school. Almost all complaints received each year following 1st March are from parents who have not followed the advice in the Prospectus. For some this is because they are not aware of its existence until it is too late. Please help us to prevent that from happening this year.

Contact Mary Ryan  maryryan@rcdow.org.uk  Tel: 020 7798 9005

Appointment of Committees  ANNUAL REMINDER 

Governing bodies are reminded of the need for the annual appointment of standing committees, particularly those legally required but which may not be used often or at all. These include the exclusion appeal, staff disciplinary and staff appeal committees. Governing bodies should ensure that all committees have clear terms of reference, containing limits of delegation and a clear procedure for reporting back to the full governing body.

Adoption of CES Model Procedures  ANNUAL REMINDER 

Governing bodies are reminded of the need to adopt the CES Model Procedures for Capability, Grievance, Sickness Absence and Discipline, as well as the Diocesan Complaints Policy. These policies all conform to recent legislation.

Contact: Mike Pittendreigh mikep@rcdow.org.uk

Occupation of School Premises  ANNUAL REMINDER

Governing bodies occupy their school premises on behalf of their Trustees. For schools in diocesan trusteeship, the parameters within which they do so are set out clearly in the Trustees’ document “Occupation of School Premises” which can be found on the diocesan website:

http://www.rcdow.org.uk/fileupload/upload/OccupationofSchoolPremises3102007271722.pdf In the case of a school in the trusteeship religious order – apply to the religious order for details of the conditions under which the governing body occupies the site.

The Role of Parish Clergy on Governing BodiesANNUAL REMINDER 

A reminder that all clergy are encouraged to serve on school governing bodies. In particular, Parish Priests are expected to be a governor of the primary school or schools which serve their parish, and deaneries are expected to nominate clergy to serve on the governing bodies of secondary schools serving the deanery. A parish priest should not, however be a member of the admissions committee of the governing body, and should not normally accept nomination as chair of governors unless there are exceptional circumstances. Clergy governor appointments are made by the diocese: contact Ian McGibbon for further details.

Contact: Ian McGibbon 020 7798 9005 or email ianmcgibbon@rcdow.org.uk

Appointment of ChaplainsANNUAL REMINDER

A reminder that the appointment of a Chaplain in any Catholic school cannot take place without the prior approval of the Bishop. This can be a complex area, and any school contemplating the appointment of a Chaplain should consult diocesan guidance at

 http://www.rcdow.org.uk/education/default.asp?parent_ref=229&library_ref=8&content_ref=997) before taking any action. This will ensure that they proceed appropriately and avoid any potential problems.

Schools’ Bulletin ANNUAL REMINDER 

This bulletin is be sent to schools electronically. It is also available via the diocesan website and an e-mail alert is available. Chairs of Governors are asked to ensure that copies are made available to ALL governors as well as the Clerk to the Governing Body.

Complaints

The Diocesan Complaints Procedure has been slightly amended and the new version is available on the diocesan website. All schools are asked to adopt this procedure at the first governing body meeting of the school year. Schools are also alerted to the fact that it is essential to have a school complaints policy as well as the diocesan procedure.  The policy can be brief and must indicate to whom, in the school, complaints should be addressed in the first instance e.g. school complaints officer or, in the case of very small schools, the headteacher. It should also state that the diocesan procedure will be used and that it can be found on the school and diocesan websites and is available from reception for collection in person or a request can be made for it to be sent by post.

Further information can be obtained from maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

ADMISSIONS

Summer born children

Most of you will be aware of the statement by Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, which, in a nutshell, provides that:

“We have, therefore, decided that it is necessary to amend the School Admissions Code further to ensure that summer born children can be admitted to the reception class at the age of five if it is in line with their parents’ wishes, and to ensure that those children are able to remain with that cohort as they progress through school, including through to secondary school.”

 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/458797/Nick-Gibb-open-letter-summer-born-children-admissions.pdf

This provision is being rushed through Parliament, will be in place for 2017 entry and probably even for 2016, enabling parents to apply for a Reception place for any child who reaches 5 years of age between 1st April – 31st August of the previous academic year. Schools will have to process their applications in the normal way. We are therefore recommending wording for admission policies which will provide for this, whilst alerting parents to the fact that they will have to apply for admission in the normal way and that this concession will not lead to any other priorities being given. The wording can also be found in the diocesan model policies on the website.

Further information can be obtained from maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

Certificate of Catholic Practice

The Certificate of Catholic Practice has now been sent, by email, to all schools and should have been distributed to the Chair of Governors, Headteacher, Chair of Admissions and the Clerk to the Governors (for distribution to all governors.) It consists of a single sheet.  The top is to be filled in by the parent and the form will then be signed and stamped by the priest. There are no instructions for parents as this is all they have to do.  Those whom the priest does not consider to be practising will not be given a signed form.  Parents should be told that it is up to them to prove to the priest that they are practising. All primary schools must use this form with immediate effect (for 2016 entry).  All secondary schools must use this form for 2017 entry. This form is sent out under the heading of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. As it belongs to the Bishops’ Conference this form may not be altered or personalised by any school. It does not need to be consulted upon and does not need to be sent to the LA (all LAs have already been sent a copy.) Priests have been given full information on the signing of this form and schools may wish to tell their local priest about the sessions on admissions for priests which will take place on Wednesday 30th September 2.00-4.00pm and Tuesday 6th October 4.00-6.00pm.

Further information can be obtained from maryryan@rcdow.org.uk

Consultation on Admission Arrangements 2017- 2018

All schools are being advised this year to go out to general consultation on their admission arrangements whether or not any alterations to the admissions policy have been made. The exception is for schools that know they have been out to consultation during the past 6 years. Failure to consult can result in objections being lodged with the Schools’ Adjudicator. Most local authorities will carry out consultation on behalf of schools, if your LA does not do this, please contact the diocese for assistance. The new consultation arrangements mean sending the policy and SIF out for general consultation, for a 6 week period, between 1st October 2015 – 31st January 2016.

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

Register of Governors’ Interests

Schools are alerted to the fact that the governing body should publish on its website all relevant business and pecuniary interests (as recorded in the register of interests) and this should now include:

  • governance roles in other educational institutions
  • any material interests arising from relationships between governors or relationships between governors and school staff (including spouses, partners and close relatives).

The information should be available in a “readily accessible” format, i.e. not requiring a download.

The register should be updated at the start of the academic year, signed and kept by the Clerk to governors. Any change to an individual governor’s interests should be reported to the Clerk and the register should be updated.

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

The Membership of the Governing Body and Committees

Schools are alerted to the necessity of publishing on the school website up-to-date details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible form.

This should include:

• the structure and remit of the governing body and any committees, and the full   names of the chair of each;

For each governor who has served at any point over the past 12 months:

• their full names, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed them (in accordance with the governing body’s instrument of government),

• their attendance record at governing body and committee meetings over the last academic year.

Governing bodies should also publish this information for associate members, making clear whether they have voting rights on any of the committees to which they have been appointed.

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

PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING

Last year, colleagues were advised that, as from the 2015/16 academic year, the Diocese would be expanding its Pupil Placement Planning data collection regime to include a comprehensive annual return of every registered pupil attending a mainstream voluntary aided school or academy.

The enumeration date for this academic year is: Thursday 8th October 2015

Following consultation with colleagues earlier this year, we are confident that every school and academy can generate an appropriate Excel or CSV spreadsheet from within its own School Information Management System. Therefore, we are not releasing a standardised template. Instead, we are requesting that colleagues generate a SIMS Excel/CSV report containing the following fields:

  • UPN (Unique Pupil Number)
  • DOB (Date of Birth)
  • Religion
  • Postcode (Child/Young Person’s main home address)
  • Gender

When naming and saving your Excel/CSV file, please use the following naming protocol: DOW ENUM OCT2015 (#######). The 7 # symbols in parenthesis should be replaced by the seven digit LA and school number that is assigned to your school or academy. Schools and academies that have pupils in nursery or young adults in 6th form are asked to include those pupils/students in their return.

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 9th October 2015

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. The pupil placement planning data supplied by schools and academies is proving to be extremely useful, particularly when engaging with local authority colleagues.

Contact: Nigel Spears: nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk mobile 07738183828

LCVAP 2016/17

The 2016/17 LCVAP funding application process is now live. The governing bodies of Catholic Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools are invited to submit 1 (ONE) Condition Related LCVAP proposal for a capital project, to be delivered within the 2016/17 financial year. This year, the application form is online. Please open the link below and complete the proposal form. Applications may be submitted by a designated member of the school community or by the Building Consultant retained as a professional advisor by the Governing Body.

The link to our online form is:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1AmeeWSFzAuVbmgmhQunxtmXzX8CwenYTQ6Os_VmUpSc/viewform

Please note:

  • Your submission must be received between 09:00 on Tuesday 22nd September and 12:00 Noon on Friday 23rd October 2015 to be eligible for consideration. Submissions received after Noon on October 23rd will not be accepted for the 2016/17 funding round.
  • Only one application per school is allowed. Therefore, if two or more proposals from a school are received, only the final/most recent submission will be retained and considered. All earlier submissions will be purged from our database.
  • Applications from schools that have not submitted the Enumeration Day data referred to above may be suspended or rejected at the discretion of the Education Commission. The decision of the commission is final.

An A4 Word document (maximum of 2 pages) containing supplementary information and/or pertinent photographs can be submitted by email. When naming and saving your Word document, please use the following naming protocol: DOW LCVAP 2016-17 (#######). The 7 # symbols in parenthesis should be replaced by the seven digit LA and school number that is assigned to your school.

Please email your additional information document to nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk, including the protocol name in the subject line of your email by 12:00 Noon on Friday 23rd October 2015.

In the second half of the Autumn Term, all proposals will be scrutinised by Diocesan Officers in Finance, Property and Education. Projects will be ranked and then presented to the Diocesan Schools Building Committee and the Education Commission (Capital Strategy Committee) for their consideration and approval. Information relating to the allocation of LCVAP Grants will be published in the spring-term of 2016.

Contact: Nigel Spears: nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk mobile 07738183828

INSURANCE

We have received the following communiqué from the Catholic Church Insurance Association (CCIA):

“For your information, I should let you know of a slight variation in the insurance arrangements of your VA schools, where they are covered by Zurich Municipal (ZM) on the “100% - All Risks” basis. ZM have offered to provide a 5 year Long Term Agreement (LTA) on any new VA schools case, and extend the existing LTA on any existing case, for a further 5 years from the next renewal date.

In return for that agreement, we can expect the existing ZM premium rates charged to the VA schools to not only stay stable, but also reduce slightly over the next twelve months.

Any premium rate reduction we can achieve will also help reduce the impact that would otherwise be felt by these VA schools by reason of the increase in Insurance Premium Tax, from 6% to 9.5%, which change comes into effect from 1/11/2015.

Under these LTAs, the trustees and the governing bodies would be released from the agreement if ZM changed the premium rates, or any other terms, to the detriment of the trustees or the governing bodies. Also, of course, in the case of VA schools in England, any VA school converting to academy status would be automatically released from any agreement, on the basis of the change in legal identity of the institution.”

If you have any questions relating to the provision of the Diocesan Trustees Approved Insurance Package from the CCIA and Zurich, please email nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk or John Rogers, jrogers@ccia.org.uk.

Contact: Nigel Spears: nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk mobile 07738183828

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF THE WESTMINSTER YEAR BOOK

“I am presently editing the 2016 edition of the Westminster Year Book, which will have details of your school and all the others in the diocese. In addition it has full information on the parishes, complete clergy lists, contact details for central diocesan services, listings for Catholic Societies and Organisations and the 2016 Liturgical Calendar.

It may well be that you already obtain copies of the Book through your local parish; if so, please continue to do so. If you do not, then attached to this Bulletin is an Order Form which you can return to this office, and copies will be despatched to you as soon as they arrive from the printer, shortly before the beginning of Advent. If you do not have the Year Book in school, then please consider obtaining it. Much information is available on various websites, but the Book remains a ‘one-stop shop’ for diocesan information. Standard and ring-bound copies are both produced, and the latter is particularly suitable for office and chapel use.

I hope that the 2016 Year Book will be helpful to you for diocesan and other purposes in your school.

Contact: The Editor, Westminster Year Book, Archbishop’s House, London SW1P 1QJ

 

MESSAGE FROM THE CATHOLIC CHILDREN’S SOCIETY

The Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) has over 25 years’ experience of delivering professional counselling and therapy services in schools across the Diocese.  In recent years we have also developed bespoke training sessions for school staff, helping enhance their skills to identify and support pupils with mental health needs.  These are delivered on-site in primary and secondary schools by qualified and experienced mental health professionals.  The sessions are delivered during inset days or twilight sessions and are attended by teachers, learning mentors, teaching assistants and other support staff.  Examples of training sessions we deliver include:

  • Mental health awareness and promoting positive mental health
  • An introduction to attachment theory and neuroscience
  • Transition, separation and bereavement
  • An introduction to anxiety disorders in children and young people
  • Working with mental health and cultural difference
  • Understanding and managing self-harm

“I would recommend these training sessions to other schools as they provide much needed insight into the pressures and factors influencing our students’ mental health, helping raise awareness and build staff expertise in this important area”

(Mark Anthony, Deputy Head, Maria Fidelis Catholic School)

If you would like further information, or to arrange a training session, please contact Greg Brister (Head of Service Development) at gregb@cathchild.org.uk or call 020 8969 5305.  We would be happy to talk through your training requirements and develop a bespoke package that meets the specific needs of your school.

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 Gildas Catholic Junior School in Crouch End whose parents and staff completed a 150+mile bike ride over a weekend (just before the school holidays) from Yeovil (Somerset) to Crouch End to raise funds for a much-needed playground makeover. Many of the participants were novice riders so their achievement was all the more amazing and the £25,000 target has been reached.  St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls, Palmers Green have won a Good Schools Guide Award for girls taking Graphic Design at VRQ Level 2.  St Anne’s were presented with this award by the Good Schools Guide for out-performing all out other English Schools in its category and displaying excellent performance. This prestigious annual award, now in its 8th year, is based on a detailed analysis of the most recent examinations results, and are designed to highlight consistently good teaching; St Augustine’s Priory Girls School, Ealing celebrating 100 years on Hillcrest Road, Ealing; finally, many congratulations to one of our Foundation Governors, Tim McCarthy, on receiving the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from His Holiness Pope Francis in recognition of his kindness, his special commitment, dedication and enthusiasm as a foundation governor at St Swithun Wells Primary School, in West Ruislip.