The Education Service

School Bulletin: Sept 2011

From Paul Barber

From:

Paul Barber

Director of Education

paulbarber@rcdow.org.uk

020 7798 9005

This has not been the quiet summer that we had hoped for, with riots and looting on the streets of our Capital City. These disturbances affected many communities served by our Catholic schools, primary and secondary. It is possible that some of the young people involved or affected by the disorder attend those schools. The events have shocked the Nation, and have led to many fundamental discussions about the values of our society and the respective roles of parents and of the state. It is important for us as a community to engage in these discussions. The Church has long believed in the primary role of parents in instilling values into their children. But we also believe that it is the task of the Church to assist parents in fulfilling that responsibility. Providing schools is one of the principal ways in which the Church assists parents - regardless of how seriously or how well parents carry out those duties. The Archbishop wishes to talk to pupils and parents about some of the questions raised by the unrest, and how we as a community respond to this challenge. A video for schools will be available in the first week of the new school term.

Values are also at the heart of another initiative: the launch of the Olympic Truce for London at the Mass on 7th October to mark the end of the Year of Catholic Education. I do hope all schools in the Diocese will be represented at this event, and that all schools will engage in “training” ourselves in the virtues required to secure a real and lasting peace in our communities.

This term we welcome three new colleagues: Josephine Lewis, Catherine Bryan and Michael Corcoran. Peter Ward will be working part-time as he prepares for retirement at the end of the year. As a result, John Williams and Pam Singh will be leading the Secondary and Primary Teams on an interim basis for this term, and adverts for Assistant Director (Advisory Team Leader) and Adviser for Catholic Education (Secondary) will appear early in September. We will have an opportunity to bid farewell to Peter later on in the term.

On 14th September we will celebrate the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-Elect John Sherrington as an Auxiliary bishop in the Diocese. All schools have been invited to send two representatives to this important event in the life of our local Church. It is especially important for us, as the Archbishop will be appointing our new Bishop as Chairman of the Diocesan Education Commission following his Episcopal Consecration. We therefore welcome Fr John to his new ministry in Westminster, and assure him of our full support as he takes on this new and challenging appointment.

Paul Barber Signature

Paul Barber


 

LETTER FROM MAUREEN ROE

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to all those colleagues who came to my retirement mass and reception on Tuesday 5th July 2011.  Many of you I know were unable to attend/stay after the conference but took the trouble to express your good wishes to me on my now rapidly approaching retirement.  Many too have written, sent emails, cards, flowers etc.  It has been overwhelming, as was the very generous gift I was presented with at the reception.

The laptop will ensure that I keep my faculties up to speed and the cheque the amount of which left me speechless, could buy me a new set of golf clubs with money still left over for my first ever holiday “not in school time”.

Please can you convey my thanks to the many Chairs of Governors who took the trouble to attend.  They are all such people of outstanding generosity and commitment; their support was much appreciated.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 41 years’ service to education in the diocese as teacher/deputy head, head and for the last 9 years working in the Diocesan Education Service.  It has been a challenge, often complex – but an awesome privilege and responsibility.

There is but one journey afforded to each of us.

At every step along the way we seek out the

meaning of life and existence and cherish those

moments that clearly make the journey worth the gift of life.

The journey plunges us deeper into believing, trusting, coming to know God.

(Source unknown)

Now my journey and yours continues – may we all continue to experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

With every best wish for the future.

Yours sincerely,

M P Roe

Deputy Director

At the Start of the new Academic Year …

NEW PATHWAYS

'All pathways by His feet are worn…-' (Joseph Plunkett)

May your new work excite your heart,

And kindle in your mind a creativity,

To journey together along new pathways

Beyond old limits that have become wearisome.

 

May this work challenge you as new frontiers emerge,

And you begin to approach them from different pathways.

Calling forth from you the full force and depth

of your undiscovered gifts.

 

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul

Enabling you to draw from the invisible new ideas

New hopes, new challenges

And a vision that will inspire.

 

Remember to be kind

To yourself - and to those you work for.

Endeavour to remain aware of the quiet world

That lives behind each face.

 

Be fair in your expectations

Compassionate in your criticism with the grace of encouragement.

May you awaken in others gifts to delight the world

Building confidence to follow the call of the gift.

 

May this new beginning - this new pathway

Be worthy of the energy of your heart,

the light of your thoughts,

The beauty and form of your calling.

 

May your work, along this new pathway,

Lead you to a proper space in your life.

May it challenge you and refine you - not own or use you,

Bringing you each day to the wonder of your heart.

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 headteachers in the Diocese who took up their posts this September (* or earlier as indicated):

Maureen Kelly – St Theresa’s Primary, East Finchley

Maria Nowicka – St Mary Magdalen Juniors, Willesden Green

Jonathan White – St Margaret Clitherow, Stevenage

Helen McGill – Maria Fidelis Convent, Euston

Ceri Bacon – St Paul’s College, Sunbury-on-Thames

Farley Marsh – St Mary’s Primary, Isleworth (*Easter)

Siobhan Gilling – St Anne’s Primary, Enfield (*Easter)

Trevor Papworth – St Thomas More Language College, Chelsea (*February 2012)

Other Headship Appointments not new to Headship:

Catherine McMahon – Sacred Heart Primary, Whetstone

Mary Wilson – St Mary of Angels Primary, Bayswater (*from 1st November)

Clare McFlynn – St Joseph Primary, Highgate (*from 1st January 2012)

Ruth Lewis – St Anselm’s Primary, Southall (*from 1st January 2012)

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 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  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, 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 Josephine Lewis, Deputy Director. Josephine 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: Josephine Lewis on 020 7798 9005 or email josephinelewis@rcdow.org.uk

Governors: Election of Chair and Vice Chair* ANNUAL 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 Monica Fuller: monicafuller@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. Monica Fuller is again the first point of contact: telephone: 020 7798 9189 or monicafuller@rcdow.org.uk

Minutes of Governing Body Meetings ANNUAL 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: Josephine Lewis on 020 7798 9005 or email josephinelewis@rcdow.org.uk

Governors: Appointment Process ANNUAL 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 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*   ANNUAL REMINDER 

Governors should be formulating their admission arrangements for 2012-13 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  maryryan@rcdow.org.uk  Tel: 020 7798 9005

Admissions: Choosing a Catholic School – Secondary Prospectus ANNUAL REMINDER 

The Diocesan Secondary Prospectus for Admission in September 2012 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. Revisions to these policies in the light of recent legislation will be notified in due course.

Update SEF 48  ANNUAL REMINDER 

Please remember to update your SEF 48 and send the updated version electronically to mikepittendreigh@rcdow.org.uk. Any enquiries to Mike Pittendreigh on 020 7798 9190 or on the same e-mail address.

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: 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 ANNUAL 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 Josephine Lewis for further details.

Contact: Josephine Lewis on 020 7798 9005 or email josephinelewis@rcdow.org.uk

Appointment of Chaplains ANNUAL 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 www.rcdow.org.uk) before taking any action. This will ensure that they proceed appropriately and avoid any potential problems.

Schools’ Bulletin ANNUAL REMINDER 

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.

Teaching Schools – Our Catholic Sector needs more*

As you know from OFSTED reports that we have proportionately more schools judged to be outstanding in the Catholic sector than amongst other schools.  Yet in the first tranche of Teaching School designation only six Catholic schools were identified, along with one school in a job share with a Community School i.e. leading a Teaching School alliance.  The level of interest from the Catholic sector was relatively low on application in March.

Given the remit and funding of Teaching Schools, particularly bringing together provision for training and development from ITT through to headship under a single school designation, as well as their pivotal role in supporting other schools, it is important that we have our proportion of Teaching Schools and a good regional spread across the country.  By 2014/2015 there are due to be 500 Teaching Schools and the next round for application is in September/October 2012, with an expectation that 100 further Teaching Schools will be so designated in Spring 2012.  It is open to all phases of schools to apply for such designation including Sixth Form Colleges and Independent Schools (subject to schools meeting the criteria) – you will find a prospectus for Teaching Schools on the National College’s website: http://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/teachingschools

Succession Planning – Good News

National College for School Leadership Wave 5 – Targeted Support

The Leadership and Succession Planning for “schools with a Religious character” will continue into the next academic year 2011-2012.  It brings direct funding to dioceses on a regional basis working in collaboration with our colleagues in the Church of England sector and a National College Associate for Succession Planning.  Next year funding will be directed towards two specific groups and courses.

(1)   Moving Up – Post NPQH – for those aspiring to lead a Catholic School and applying for headship within twelve to eighteen months.  The course will probably be a two day residential towards the end of January (dates will be confirmed and fliers for applications will be available at the start of the new year).

(2)   Moving Forwards – Pre NPQH – for those aspiring to lead a Catholic School and considering applying for Pre NPQH within twelve to eighteen months.  The course dates will be between January and June spread over five separate days (fliers for applications will be available in September).

All applicants will be required to provide a brief statement (200 words maximum) detailing current responsibilities and aspirations within the next two years.  At this stage it would be helpful just to have a register of interest.  Some names have already been gathered through the Primary Deputy Head Forums.

Please contact Greeny Longville on 020 7798 9005 to register interest or email the Education Department on education@rcdow.org.uk  Places will be limited so register your interest early.

Allocation of Primary Advisers Academic Years 2011-2012

There are some changes to the advisory team for the academic year as we welcome our two new Primary Advisers, Catherine Bryan and Michael Corcoran who I am sure will you will give a warm welcome to – see list as follows:

Catherine Bryan - Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Herts - Lea Valley, Enfield

Michael Corcoran - Harrow, Watford, Barnet, Surrey Richmond, Herts - Part of St Albans: St Thomas More, St Cuthbert Mayne, St Albert the Great, St Teresa’s, St Rose’s

Kathleen Gilbert - Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Ealing

Yvonne Govan - Camden, Herts – Hatfield, Stevenage, Part of St Albans: Ss Alban and Stephen Infants, Ss Alban and Stephen Juniors, St Dominic’s, St John Fisher, St Bernadette, St Columba’s

Maureen Bermingham - Hounslow, Hillingdon

Anne Nugent - Brent

Pam Singh - Islington, Hackney

Academies Consultation: Closing Date

Thank you to all the schools that have responded to our Academies consultation so far. We encourage all schools (primary and secondary) that have not yet done so to respond to the consultation as soon as possible. There is now a closing date for responses to the consultation: Friday 16th September. This will enable a report to be prepared for the next Education Commission meeting. The consultation can be found under the “news” or “academies” sections, or by following this link: http://www.rcdow.org.uk/education/default.asp?library_ref=8&content_ref=3132

Contact Paul Barber on 020 7798 9005 or paulbarber@rcdow.org.uk

Aspiring to Deputy Headship

The above course takes place on Wednesday 25th January to Friday 27th January 2012 in Milton Keynes. Early booking is advisable as there are only a limited number of places available. The course is particularly relevant to those who have completed ‘Leading from the Middle’, similar middle leadership courses or those considering applying for a Deputy Headship for September 20011. The course is open to both Primary and Secondary colleagues. The course flier and booking form will be sent as soon as they are available.

Contact Josephine Lewis on 020 7798 9005 or email josephinelewis@rcdow.org.uk

Primary Curriculum Support Material for the Autumn Term: Praying the Mass.

At the in-services to introduce the changes to the Roman Missal, the Education Service indicated it would prepare curriculum material on the Mass, for use in the Autumn Term. The unit is now ready and has been put on the Diocesan website: Education – Quicklinks Primary curriculum support

Schools should feel free to either use this material alongside that provided in their usual Religious Education programme, or to teach this unit just as it is presented in the Unit overview. There is sufficient material for 4-5 weeks. The Education Service has been working to improve standards in Religious Education and you will see that the teaching and learning activities are explicitly aligned with the Attainment Targets so that schools can be confident that this unit provides opportunities for pupils to achieve higher levels. We hope this unit assists you to deepen your pupil’s knowledge of the Mass as you introduce the new changes. Please Note: Both the Unit and the Resources/Links document have a number of hyperlinks in them. If you open the unit online you will be able to use the hyperlinks to go directly to the internet sites they connect to. 

An evaluation of the unit will be undertaken in November to see if it meets schools needs. If you use the unit please keep in mind suggestions as to how future units could be improved!

Contact : Margaret Carswell at margaretcarswell@rcdow.org.uk

Praying the Mass: Music Co-ordinators’ Days

Two days for Music Co-ordinators are being run on 8th and 9th November to introduce the new musical settings of the Mass. These will be led by the Cathedral’s Master of Music, Martin Baker: see enclosed fliers for details.

Friday Abstinence

As from 16th September this year, Catholics will be obliged to carry out their obligation of Friday penance by abstaining from meat. Schools should use this opportunity to remind pupils and their families about the nature and purpose of penance and how our tradition of abstaining from meat fits into that discipline. In order to assist this process, we will be gathering together links to more detailed guidance and more useful documents on the Diocesan Website. On a practical note, schools are recommended to ensure that meat is not served on days of abstinence, and this may need conversations with caterers so that they understand well in advance what is required and are prepared for eventualities such as the week of Ash Wednesday when there will be two days of abstinence in the same week.

School Capital – Current Programmes*

LCVAP 2011/2012: Most New Projects have reached the stage where tenders have been received and the project can be formally registered with PfS. Please remember that the funding is only guaranteed when you have received the confirmation letter from PfS. Some colleagues have assumed that the proposal, offer and acceptance processes managed by the Education Service negate the requirement for the formally VA Approval from PfS. This is incorrect and we would ask all colleagues to remind their consultants that, once the tendering process is complete, they must prepare an appropriate VA Approval form and send it in to the Education Service for ratification and onwards submission to PfS.

Please remember, the 5 stages in securing LCVAP funding are:

  • Expression of Need (Governors to Diocese)
  • Offer of support (Diocese to Governors)
  • Acceptance of Offer (Governors to Diocese)
  • VA Approval Application (Governors & Consultants to PfS via Diocese)
  • VA Approval Confirmation (PfS to Governors and Diocese)

 

The significant restrictions in VA Capital Grant for this academic year have challenged schools and their advisors. All LCVAP funding has been allocated to priority projects and many colleagues wait in hope that further funding will be announced in due course.

School Capital – Recent Announcement From The DfE*

James Review Consultation: On Tuesday 19 July the Government provided an initial response to Sebastian James’ review of education capital. The Review considered how the Department for Education could achieve better value for money and improve efficiency in capital investment. The response accepts many of the review recommendations subject to a thorough consultation. The consultation will run from Tuesday 19 July for twelve weeks. Full details including the consultation document can be found on the consultations section of the DfE website. All readers of this bulletin are encouraged to respond to the consultation. Whilst welcoming the consultation, the Education Service has reservations about the implications and will be submitting a comprehensive and robust commentary. If you would like to receive a copy for your consideration before submitting your own response, please email nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk inserting the words “JAMES REVIEW CONSULTATION” in the subject line. Please Note: historically, consultations on education capital have a low response rate. As a consequence, National Policy is established with very little challenge. Please take the time to review the proposals because they will affect your school significantly in the next few years. Community Schools/Academies and VA Schools/Academies will all be affected!

Extra funding for Areas with Rising Pupil Numbers*

The government has also announced that an extra £500 million of capital funding will be available this financial year (2011-12) for those local authorities where rising pupil numbers are putting severe pressure on school capacity. Details of how allocations will be made will be provided over the summer and finalised in the autumn. The Education Service is working closely with School Leaders and Parish Representatives in a number of parts of the diocese as we discuss strategic school provision for the future. In most cases, the need for review has been prompted by the local authority but the balance of provision throughout the diocese is regularly assessed and further work will be commissioned in areas where a genuine need is identified.

Priority School Building Programme*

A new privately financed school rebuilding programme has been launched with the aim of rebuilding schools in the very worst state of disrepair. The programme is open to all publicly funded schools. Local authorities, schools, and organisations with responsibility for schools will be able to submit applications for the programme. Information and guidance on preparing applications will be available from the Partnerships for Schools website. Applications can be submitted between 3 and 14 October. Please Note: The Diocese of Westminster, the CES and other Catholic Diocesan Representatives will be working with PfS to assess the consequential affects of this initiative. Previous experience of PFI has engendered as sense of caution and anxiety but the options will be fully assessed. If you believe that your school would benefit from this programme, and you can provide evidence that the school can afford the contributory elements, please send a brief outline of your needs, proposals and contribution strategy to nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk. Please enter “PSBP PROPOSAL” in the subject line of your email.

External Services Situated On School Sites

Solar Panels: Recently, a number of colleagues have contacted the Education Service regarding the installation of Solar Panels. Most had been contacted by companies offering to meet the installation costs whilst requiring the Governing Body to guarantee the placement of the panels for a minimum of 25 years. The Education Service has consulted with professional advisors who are not affiliated with delivery companies on this matter. Following a meeting of the School Building Committee on Monday 4 July 2011, we are writing to advise all colleagues that it has been agreed that installations of this type will not be permitted at a local level. The main reasons for this decision are:

  • The long-term impediment to Trust Assets
  • The significant penalties levied by the installation companies should the Trustees or Governors seek to vary or cancel the agreement
  • The complications of being constrained by old technology in a technological market that is developing exponentially

 

Diocesan Trust Schools: This injunction applies to all schools in Diocesan Trusteeship. Schools that purchase and install solar panels, as part of planned and Trustee approved capital works; and with no ongoing obligations to a third-party, are permitted to incorporate the new technology into their project. However, these schools are not permitted to negotiate or enter into any other form of Solar Panel Delivery Contract with out the expressed consent of the Trustees.

Religious Order Trust Schools: Governing Bodies of Schools in the Trusteeship of a Religious Order are advised to seek guidance and clarification from their own Trustees on matters of this type before instigating any work.

Options for the Future: In this period of financial austerity, any initiative that appears to bring benefit in kind into a school is highly desirable. However, our advice on this matter is that these companies fail to offer best value to either Governing Bodies or the Trustees. Our advisors did suggest that, with the number of schools in the diocese, it may be possible to negotiate a form of contract that satisfies both school and trustee needs. If there are colleagues who would be prepared to serve on a working group to review options, please contact nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk inserting “SOLAR PANEL REVIEW” into the subject line of your email.

INSURANCE*

Colleagues will be aware that the issue of insurance has been creating challenges within the VA sector since the Government decided to abandon the retention of an emergency grant fund. In recent months, Diocesan Education and Finance representatives, as well as officers from the CESEW, have been liaising with insurers regarding the provision of a package of insurance measures for Catholic VA School and Catholic Voluntary Academies. The priority has been to protect the buildings and ensure that, in the event of a disaster, the settlement addresses all aspects of reinstatement including design, construction, VAT and business disruption. Initial proposals have been submitted to the Bishops’ Conference for consideration and the CES has been asked to progress this matter and secure protection for all school assets as soon as possible. Whilst the development group now has a reasonable understanding of the planned provision, insurance companies are unwilling to commit to a premium until they have had the opportunity to consider the needs of all schools. Before making any final recommendations, each diocese has been asked to contact all school colleagues and seek their assistance.

If you are one of the many schools that only has 10% CCIA cover, this is an essential step in the process of securing effective 100%+ cover for your school buildings.

If you already have direct LA cover, we would still appreciate your participation in this process. It is possible that premiums will reduce if we are able to create a sizable portfolio that will attract the best rates from the market. The cover will not be limited to schools in the Diocese of Westminster as it is probable that we will join with colleagues nationally to drive down the costs.

One of the principles that the working group has been asked to consider is that of the “Greater Good”. Colleagues in some parts of the country will be offered individual school rates that are significantly higher (or lower) than those offered to other Catholic Schools. Those familiar with school formulaic funding will be aware that local, regional and national difference which affect premiums are not allowed for in the funding formulae. By working together, it is envisaged that we will be able to secure an agreement that doesn’t disadvantage a small minority of schools.

Insurance Proposal Form: We would be grateful if every school governing body could ensure that the attached proposal form is completed and submitted by Friday 14 October 2011. If you would like to discuss this initiative further, please contact Nigel Spears on 07738183828. A copy of the form can be found as an attachment to the electronic version of this bulletin.

Diocese of Westminster Trust Schools: It is anticipated that, once the minimum requirements and the premiums have been clarified, the trustees will require all schools to adopt the approved package unless there is compelling evidence that the Trustees Assets are already protected to a higher level through existing insurance facilities.

Religious Order Trust Schools: The establishment of minimum insurance requirements is a matter for Trustees. Schools are advised to consult with their Trustees in order to confirm that they are meeting the standards required. Schools owned by Religious Orders are encouraged to participate in the process outlined. The respective trustees will then have access to information that will assist them to direct their insurance policy and requirements for their own school estate.

Whilst the priority for this exercise is insurance for the fabric of the building itself, colleagues may be interested in the implications of taking all insurance from a single source. If this is the case, please complete the pertinent sections on the application form

Contact Nigel Spears on 020 7798 9005 or email nigelspears@rcdow.org.uk

Exempt Charities: New Principal Regulator*

As from 1st August 2011, all Voluntary Aided Schools, Sixth Form Colleges and Catholic Voluntary Academies are exempt charities, and in each case the Secretary of State for Education. This implements parts of the Charities Act 2006 which were delayed for technical reasons. As a result of this change we are revising our Finance Guidance to take into account these changes. This can be found on the Policy and Guidance part of our website.

Contact Paul Barber on 020 7798 9005 or paulbarber@rcdow.org.uk

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 St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Ponders End, Enfield have been awarded “Thinking School” Status by the Cognitive Education Centre of the University of Exeter.  It is the first school in Enfield to achieve this award and follows the Dr Edward de Bono Thinking School Award the school achieved in 2008. St Mary’s were also accredited with the Healthy School Status.  St Margaret Clitherow Primary School, Stevenage have been awarded the “Anti-Bullying” Accreditation.

Apologies – in the last mailing we congratulated St Bernadette’s Primary School, London Colney for being awarded the 2011 BCSE Award for Excellence in Provision of Sports Facilities – this was an error in fact the award was won by St Michael’s High School as stated and the new Sports Hall is referred to as “St Bernadette’s”.  Apologies again for any confusion.