At the start of the new academic year we have reason to pause for a moment and reflect on the importance of the enterprise in which we are engaged: Catholic Education, and our own particular role in it. The words of (soon to be) Blessed John Henry Newman come to mind:
‘God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me Which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, But I shall be told it in the next’.
Shortly, the Holy Father will come to our land and remind us of the pivotal role Catholic education plays in the mission of the Church. Pope Benedict will launch The Year of Catholic Education at The Big Assembly here in our diocese. I hope we use these events as a springboard to a proud celebration of Catholic education, helping all in our school communities to learn about and really value the great treasure we have. There needs to be a greater awareness of the responsibility we each bear to nurture and preserve the great gift of Catholic education given by our forebears.
The Holy Father’s presence will remind us of the universality of the Church and the fact that our own community is but a part of a much bigger enterprise. There have been many recent examples of schools in the diocese acting for the good of Catholic education and the wider community, rather than purely for the interests of the community of a particular school. This is a tangible demonstration of the fact that those leaders and governors really do understand the concept of Church.
Several thousand copies of ‘Our Catholic Schools’ (The Red Book) have already been ordered by schools, and feedback suggests that schools are finding the booklet very helpful in defining the distinctive nature of the Catholic school. Again, we hope the booklet will fuel the promotion and celebration of our Catholic schools.
At the start of the school year, we should pray that God shows us and our communities the ‘definite service’ He has in mind for us, and that He will be beside us in our endeavours.
Welcome to new Colleagues Welcome to all new colleagues who are beginning a new phase of their careers in our schools, whether as teachers, support staff or governors. We hope that your new role will prove enjoyable and fruitful. A special welcome and congratulations to all the new head teachers in the Diocese who took up their posts this September (or * earlier as indicated).
Margaret Hanley St Edmund's Primary, Edmonton
Naomi Mulholland St Scholastica's, Hackney
David Purcell St Elizabeth's Primary, Bethnal Green
Julia Drozdowskij The Federation of St Francis De Sales Infant and. St Francis de Sales Junior School , Haringey
Niamh Arnull St James Catholic High, Barnet
Edward Conway St Michael Catholic High, Watford, Hertfordshire
Jackie Johnson The Bishop Challoner Collegiate Schools, Tower Hamlets
Mike Kiely * Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, Ealing
Kevin Burke * Gunnersbury Catholic School
Anne Monahan * St Anselm’s Primary, Harrow
Geraldine Pears * Blessed Dominic Primary, Barnet
A Blessing for a Leader
May you have the grace and wisdom To act kindly, learning To distinguish between what is Personal and what is not. May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the centre of things. May you act not from arrogance but out of service. May you work on yourself, Building up and refining the ways of your mind. May those who work for you know you see and respect them.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence In order to engage with those who meet you. When someone fails or disappoints you, May the graciousness with which you engage Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.
May you treasure the gifts of the mind Through reading and creative thinking So that you continue as a servant of the frontier Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old, And you never become a functionary.
May you know the wisdom of deep listening, The healing of wholesome words, The encouragement of the appreciative gaze, The decorum of held dignity, The springtime of the bleak question.
May you have the mind that loves frontiers So that you can evoke the bright fields That lie beyond the view of the regular eye. May you have good friends To mirror your blindspots.
May leadership be for you A true adventure of growth
From Benedictus, A Book of Blessings, John O' Donohue
Continuing Professional Development Programme (2010-11)
Please find enclosed with this bulletin a copy of the CPD Programme for the coming year. We apologise that this was not with you before the Summer break. Please contact us if you require further details or copies. Contact: Maureen Roe on 020 7798 9005 or email email@example.com
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 Teachernet website (www.teachernet.gov.uk). The same site provides the DfE suggested child protection policy which complies with these requirements.
Appointment of Heads, Deputies and Assistant Heads
The Chair of Governors must ensure that he or she notifies the Diocesan Director of Education about a vacancy for a head teacher, 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. Paul Barber, as Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster wishes any notification about vacancies for the posts mentioned above to be communicated to Maureen Roe, Deputy Director. Maureen 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: Maureen Roe on 020 7798 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Governors: Election of Chair and Vice Chair
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 Monica Fuller: email@example.com. This ensures that our database is correct and saves much time and inconvenience.
Governors: Notification of Changes
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. Monica Fuller is again the first point of contact: telephone: 020 7798 9189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minutes of Governing Body Meetings
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: email@example.com (please note change of e-mail address). Further enquiries: contact Maureen Roe on 020 7798 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Governors: Appointment Process
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 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: Annual Consultation and Determination
Governors should be formulating their admission arrangements for 2011-12 early this term and sending them to the diocese for initial consultation in accordance with the Admissions Code. Governors then need to review the draft arrangements before going out to general consultation (including the diocese) which most local authorities start to facilitate in December or January. Governors must then review the arrangements for a third time before determining them and sending the determined arrangements to the diocese and others. “Admission arrangements” which are the subject of the consultations include the admission policy AND any supplementary forms, but NOT the diocesan priest’s reference. Contact Mary Ryan email@example.com Tel: 020 7798 9005
Appointment of Committees
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
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. Revisions to these policies in the light of recent legislation will be notified in due course.
Update SEF 48
Please remember to update your SEF 48 and send the updated version electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any enquiries to Mike Pittendreigh on 020 7798 9190 or on the same e-mail address.
Occupation of School Premises
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: www.rcdow.org.uk. 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 Bodies
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 Maureen Roe for further details.
Appointment of Chaplains
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 www.rcdow.org.uk) before taking any action. This will ensure that they proceed appropriately and avoid any potential problems.
A hard copy of this Bulletin is sent to all Head Teachers and Chairs of Governors. 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. Good News Slot (Please note: this section of the bulletin 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!) Congratulations to Our Lady’s Primary School, Hitchin who gained two awards at the Eastern Region Teaching Awards. Their staff were awarded “distinction” in the category ‘School Team Award’ and their Chair of Governors, Ian McBain, was the winner of “Governor of the Year” for the region and goes forward to the National awards in October. Maggie Pound, Chair of Governors at Cardinal Wiseman received a Governor award from Ealing LA for “outstanding leadership”. Marianne Elliott also received a Governors Award from Ealing LA for “long and outstanding service” on governing bodies and other representative bodies in Ealing. Congratulations to them all.