The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: September 2017

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

 This summer we have witnessed many events that have shaped public consciousness about large gatherings of people. Images and testimonies from Charlottesville VA, Las Ramblas in Barcelona, and the beaches of Greece as migrants come ashore, bucket bombs on tube trains are indelibly linked to a collective hesitancy and anxiety that our world today is characterized by prejudice, hate and mistrust. We fear one another and question others’ motives and reasons.

This is why the theme of this year’s Education Sunday, ‘Gathered in my Name’, was so important. Jesus said, ‘where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them’. We must take strength and comfort that we are never alone, even if all we see or read around us appears to contradict this truth. Catholic schools, if they are to mean anything, must be the coming together of a community in faith ‘Gathered in my Name’. Their mission is to make disciples for Christ. They need to demonstrate and bear witness to how Jesus would quell prejudice, remove hate and instil trust and respect. Our schools must be seen to be environments of hope, healing and belonging. We are rightly proud and grateful that our diocese has schools and colleges that, year in year out, demonstrate academic excellence, professional diligence and parental aspiration. But if that was all that we offered then it is not enough. Not even close.

Catholic education is not about the gathering and interpreting of information; rather, it is about the formation of the character as a spiritual being in the likeness and image of God. This Education Sunday is an opportunity for Catholic parents, teachers, students and school communities to return to and refresh their relationship with and dependence upon Jesus Christ: the way for all of us involved in Catholic education is a person. Having worked in Catholic education for 25 years in this country and abroad one thing is certain: change is the reality in national policies. Systems are forever being reshaped, recalibrated and rejected for another system, only to be reshaped, recalibrated and again rejected. This can lead to cynicism amongst many that the system has let them down or they didn’t get a fair experience.

But Catholic education is not and never has been a system. It is a daily witness to the life and teachings of Christ. In the Gospels Jesus is called by many names and described in many different ways, but one description far outweighs any other. No less than 53 times Jesus is called Teacher. He is the teacher in every school in our diocese. He is present and living among the 91,000 students who enter our schools every day. Our job is to ensure that encounter is real in everything we do and sustained in all we achieve. Jesus’ love is present in how we treat and care for one another; his compassion is there when mistakes happen; his hope is in every child who puts on the uniform of a Catholic school that they will one day join him in heaven and experience his grace. 


At the start of a new term Catholic educators need to look in the mirror and see the face of Christ. If he is not looking back at us then we need to look again. The Church provides schools to assist in its mission to make Christ known to all people; assist parents in the education and formation of their children; be at the service of the local Church, the diocese, the parish and the Christian home; and finally to be of service to society.

 

In a world seeking tolerance, harmony, respect, love, compassion, collaboration and diversity, so much of what we see on social media tells us that these values are absent from our world. But all of these values are found in Christ and they are found in our schools. The challenge is to ensure they can be found every day and for every one.

This year our diocese is seeking to invest in and nurture a network of Families of Schools across our diocese in a way that will allow us to protect, secure and develop Catholic education for the foreseeable future. At a time when all schools are having to do more with less it is vital that our school communities have greater opportunities to work together in solidarity. The diocese has spent the last seven months listening to teachers, governors and parents to shape a new vision and a new way to lead and manage our schools. This is outlined in ‘Families of Schools: The implementation of Catholic Academy Trusts (CATs)’, published this September and sent to all schools and available on our website.

A key element of this policy is an investment in and development of governance. All schools need good governors and their ability to hold up the mirror of Christ and recognise him in all that they see and do. This is a very exciting time for Catholic education and if you are interested in becoming a governor and wish to know more about what it involves please contact the Education Service to find out more.

Every day our schools are ‘Gathered in my Name’ and we all have a duty to ensure that every child who enters a Catholic school receives the sacraments and graces of the Holy Spirit as the one source that is never replaced or overlooked. We have a duty to be dependent on the true and consistent Teacher in all of our schools, Jesus Christ. It is only through our daily relationship with Him and our regular encounter with his teachings that our schools will flourish.

Ask not what can a Catholic school do for you or your child, but rather what can you do to ensure the face of Christ is known to all who enter. Our prayers and gratitude are with all the teaching and support staff, governors, local authority officials, and support services who, at the start of a new academic year, lead our youth to know and love Christ our Lord.

With best wishes.

JP Morrison

Director of Education

 

Governors’ Code of Conduct

All governing bodies should amend their Code of Conduct to include procedures for the following:

  • From 1st September 2017 elected staff and parent governors may (for good reason) be removed by majority decision of the governing body. This will be the same procedure that previously applied only to co-opted governors.
  • As of 1st May 2017 anyone who has been removed from the governing body during their term of office will be disqualified from serving as a school governor for 5 years from the date of their removal.

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

 

School/Academy Admissions

The new Diocesan Admissions Guidance is now up on the diocesan website at http://rcdow.org.uk/education/governors/admissions/

This includes general admissions guidance for parents and governors, together with the advice for priests and all the model admissions policies and SIFs etc. Governors should refer to these documents when compiling their 2019 – 2020 admission policy and SIF and prior to sending the amended policy to the diocese. The amended documents should be sent to the diocese before half-term.

For those schools intending to amend their policy and/or SIF, the consultation period must take place for a minimum of 6 weeks between 1st October 2017 – 31st January 2018.

Further information on consultation will be included in the next bulletin.

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

 

 

Governor Training – dates for your diary

Saturday 30th September 2017 – School Admissions at Vaughan House 10 - 3.00pm (an identical course will take place on 25th November 2017.)

Saturday 7th October  - New (and nearly new) Chairs of Governors – 10.00 – 1.00pm, at Vaughan House.

Saturday 4th November 2017 – Complaints Procedures at Vaughan House 10.00 – 1.00pm

Please book the above courses by email to francisleeder@rcdow.org.uk

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

 

Advisory Team

Primary team

We have been fortunate to recruit three high quality individuals to our Primary Advisory team.  Diana Roberts, Elaine Arundell and Grace Anderson are all incredibly experienced and will be an asset in serving the primary schools of the diocese.  Please see the attached documents detailing adviser allocations.  They can also be found on the diocesan website.

 

With the opportunity a new team brings there is need to ensure a focus on providing a consistent message to schools.  This will be achieved through termly Primary RE Coordinator meetings which all Headteachers have been asked to support.  Dates have now been received from virtually all deaneries.  

 

The Advisory Team is also committed to producing a half termly newsletter for subject leaders (one for secondary schools and one for primary).  This should improve the quality and frequency of communication and provide a platform for ensuring best practice is identified and shared.  Resources can be signposted and highlighted - and developments with new initiatives such as the RSE working party and the assessment pilot can be communicated.  

 

The sharing platform SLACK has proved to be a useful resource for secondary Heads of RE and Chaplains and will be launched with Primary Schools this term (following a successful pilot last academic year).

Contact:  Amanda Crowley, amandacrowley@rcdow.org.uk, 02077989182

 

Chaplaincy Documentation

In June 2017, Father Michael McCoy presented the following documents to the Department of Education and Formation of the Bishops Conference:

• National Standards for School Chaplains

• School chaplain job description – Primary

• School chaplain job description – Secondary

These were approved by the Department for use by dioceses and were shared by the CES via an email and on their website on September 2017. These documents were much needed and will ensure that the information we can give schools about the role and appointment of chaplains is relevant and accurate. The first document clarifies the role of a chaplain as being a witness, pastor, leader, educator and professional 

Contact:   Fr David Reilly, davidreilly@rcdow.org.uk, 02077989

 

Assessment Without Levels in Religious Education - DIOCESAN PILOT

Approximately 30 Primary schools have volunteered to take part in the assessment Pilot

 

On 2nd of October the small pilot group will meet to see if there is agreement on the end of year expectations between programmes and reach a consensus on these.

 

On 10th October the primary pilot group will meet. The plans mapping the skills to the different programmes of study will be shared, along with the skills document and the expectations from the pilot.

 

The secondary school pilot group is meeting on 6th October to plan a 'flight path' using the skills document to track progress from KS2-4.

 

Schools will then use the document to assess between November and Easter and then feedback to the working party.

Contact:  Trisha Hedley, trishahedley@rcdow.org.uk 02077989005

 

 

RSE Working Party Update

The working party have been creating resources over the Summer term with the intention of proving a comprehensive resource to accompany the CES model curriculum exemplars to pilot in schools after Christmas.  

Contact:  Trisha Hedley, trishahedley@rcdow.org.uk 02077989005

Primary team

We have been fortunate to recruit three high quality individuals to our Primary Advisory team.  Diana Roberts, Elaine Arundell and Grace Anderson are all incredibly experienced and will be an asset in serving the primary schools of the diocese.  

 

Please see the attached documents detailing adviser allocations.  They can also be found on the diocesan website.

 

With the opportunity a new team brings there is need to ensure a focus on providing a consistent message to schools.  This will be achieved through termly Primary RE Coordinator meetings which all Headteachers have been asked to support.  Dates have now been received from virtually all deaneries.  

 

The Advisory Team is also committed to producing a half termly newsletter for subject leaders (one for secondary schools and one for primary).  This should improve the quality and frequency of communication and provide a platform for ensuring best practice is identified and shared.  Resources can be signposted and highlighted - and developments with new initiatives such as the RSE working party and the assessment pilot can be communicated.  

 

The sharing platform SLACK has proved to be a useful resource for secondary Heads of RE and Chaplains and will be launched with Primary Schools this term (following a successful pilot last academic year).

 

Contact:  Amanda Crowley, amandacrowley@rcdow.org.uk, 02077989182

 

 

Headteacher Retreat - 29th September 2017

During the last academic year the Education Service identified the need for a Headteachers' retreat. Many headteachers provide retreats for their staff but as faith leaders it is important they have the opportunity to be spiritually nourished too. The retreat day aims to give headteachers the opportunity for space, reflection and contemplation at the start of the new academic year.

 

The retreat is scheduled to take place on Friday the 29th September at the Niland Centre and will be led by Sister Karen Marguerite OP, an experienced retreat leader. If the evaluations from the day prove it is useful then it will become an annual event and a broader retreat programme will be considered.  

 

Contact:  Claire O’Neill, claireoneill@rcdow.org.uk  02077989005

 

Chaplaincy Documentation

In June 2017, Father Michael McCoy presented the following documents to the Department of Education and Formation of the Bishops Conference:

• National Standards for School Chaplains

• School chaplain job description – Primary

• School chaplain job description – Secondary

These were approved by the Department for use by dioceses and were shared by the CES via an email and on their website on September 2017.

 

These documents were much needed and will ensure that the information we can give schools about the role and appointment of chaplains is relevant and accurate. The first document clarifies the role of a chaplain as being a witness, pastor, leader, educator and professional 

 

Contact:   Fr David Reilly, davidreilly@rcdow.org.uk, 02077989

 

Assessment Without Levels in Religious Education - DIOCESAN PILOT

Approximately 30 Primary schools have volunteered to take part in the assessment Pilot

On 2nd of October the small pilot group will meet to see if there is agreement on the end of year expectations between programmes and reach a consensus on these.

On 10th October the primary pilot group will meet. The plans mapping the skills to the different programmes of study will be shared, along with the skills document and the expectations from the pilot.

The secondary school pilot group is meeting on 6th October to plan a 'flight path' using the skills document to track progress from KS2-4. Schools will then use the document to assess between November and Easter and then feedback to the working party.

Contact:  Trisha Hedley, trishahedley@rcdow.org.uk 02077989005

 

RSE Working Party Update

The working party have been creating resources over the Summer term with the intention of proving a comprehensive resource to accompany the CES model curriculum exemplars to pilot in schools after Christmas.  

Contact:  Trisha Hedley, trishahedley@rcdow.org.uk 02077989005

 

 

 

Governor appointments and re-appointments

Greeny Longville has taken over the role of Foundation Governor Co-ordinator; this appointment will give more uninterrupted support to governing boards.

The department seeks to process applications without delay.  In order to process applications as quickly as possible it is very important that schools return information on the applicant’s DBS certificate as soon as possible. It is vital to note that foundation governors are not appointed until the Diocesan Education Service receives this information.

Contact: Greeny Longville, governors@rcdow.org.uk, 020 7798 9005 

 

An invitation to governors to renew their mission

On 11th November 2017 at Cathedral View, London, Cardinal Nichols will speak at the Governors Day Conference. Other speakers include Gillian Alcroft, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association  on what makes a governing body excellent; Maggie Pound will describe her governing body’s journey and Professor Pillay of Liverpool Hope University will give food for thought on putting Catholic values into practice. This is an opportunity for governors to meet and share good practice.  

Contact: Francis Leeder, francisleeder@rcdow.org.uk, 02077989193

 

New resources for governors

New and updated resources for governors are available on the diocesan website. Visit   http://rcdow.org.uk/education/governors/  to access materials including admissions guidance, suggestions to help recruit foundation governors and thoughts on succession planning for boards.

Details of training available for governors was sent to chairs and clerks via email.

 

 

PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING ENUMERATION DAY 2017

This term, the Education Service will be collecting and collating data relating to the children and young people who are registered as pupils/students at a mainstream Catholic VA School or Catholic Academy that is situated within the Diocese.

 

The enumeration date for this academic year is: Thursday 5th October 2017

 

On Thursday 5th October 2017, please generate, from your school’s School Information Management System, an 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 OCT2017 (#######). The 7 # symbols in parenthesis should be replaced by the seven digit LA and School number that is assigned to your school/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 by 15:00 on Friday 6th October 2017. In the subject line of your email, please write the name of your generated document. E.g. DOW ENUM OCT2017 (1234567)

 

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, 07738183828

 

LCVAP 2017/18

The 2018/19 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 2017/18 financial year. Once again, 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://goo.gl/forms/1h5owdjZczZBWT6z1

 

Please note:

  • Your submission must be received by 12:00 Noon on Friday 24th November 2017 to be eligible for consideration. Submissions received after Noon on November 24th will not be accepted for the 2018/19 funding round.
  • Only 1 (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. Please make sure that you liaise with your retained building consultant to ensure that only a single entry is submitted on behalf of your school.

 

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 2018-19 (#######). 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 24th November 2017.

 

In December 2017 and January 2018, 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 second half of the spring-term of 2018.

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

 

 

Headteachers’ Retreat – Friday 29th September 2017

The Diocese warmly invite all Headteachers to a retreat day on Friday 29th September from 9.30-3pm at the Niland Centre, Watford, WD23 4EE.

As faith leaders it is important that Headteachers are spiritual nourished and the day will give the Headteachers opportunity for space, reflection and contemplation at the start of the new academic year.

The cost for the day is £30 which includes an experienced retreat leader – Karen Marguerite OP, lunch and refreshments.

To book please use the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/primary-and-secondary-headteachers-retreat-tickets-37093318113

Contact: Claire O'Neill, claireoneill@rcdow.org.uk, 0207798 9005

 

GETTING INTO TEACHING

The following Open Events are being held at St Mary’s University for “Getting into Teaching” These are open to all who are interested in a career in Primary or Secondary teaching. There will be opportunity to meet tutors, discuss school placements in our partnership schools and receive information about entry qualifications, finance and student support.

The open events are:

 

27th September 2017 (6:00-8:30)

16th October (6:00-8:30)

29th November (2:30-4:30)

13th December (6:30-8:30)

 

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 )

Congratulations to St Cuthbert Mayne Primary School in Hemel Hempstead - the 402nd school nationally to achieve the prestigious NACE Challenge Award.  This award is given for high quality work by the whole school, teachers and governors, in challenging all pupils, including those with those with high abilities to achieve their best.

 

NACE Chief Executive Sue Riley said: “St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic School has worked hard to win NACE Challenge Award Status.  It has shown itself to be committed to developing a school and providing an education where all pupils are challenged to be the best they can be”.

 

Overall results in the diocese: At A Level there has been a slight dip in A2 A* to B from 55% in 2016 to 54% in 2017. However, there has been a slight increase in A2 A* to E from 98% to 98.5% pas rate. In BTECs our students achieved 58% Distinctions, 30% merits and 12% passes this year.  The average number of students doing A Levels is 113 in each school.

 

At GCSE it is impossible to do a like for like comparison on last year’s results as they have changed the way they are assessed and recorded. That said in 2017 the EBACC average was 34% similar to last year. The proportion of students achieving Grade 4 and above was 79% and Grade 5 and above in English and Maths 55%. In GCSE Religious Studies 80% of students achieved A* to C and 99% A* to G. This is up 1% in both categories on last year. The average number of students in Y11 is 148.

 

Many congratulations!