This term has turned out to be a packed and eventful one. In October we formally marked the end of the Year of Catholic Education and launched our period of preparation for the 100 day Olympic Truce. The Mass in the Cathedral, concelebrated by the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark, was enthusiastically contributed to by schools from all over London and beyond, and highlighted the diversity and talent to be found in them. All schools should now have received their “training packs” of resources - Release Peace: Training in Virtues. You should all have in your diaries the date of the 8th June 2012 which is the beginning of the One Hundred Days of Peace. This is not only an important part of our Games in London, but also our legacy to the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The progress towards having Catholic Academies within the Diocese has picked up pace following a positive response from the DfE in September. A working party of head teachers has been working hard to assist us in examining models which will be put to the Diocesan Trustees in December. Subject to the Trustees’ approval, a number of schools wish to become Academies early in 2012. Others want to wait and watch.
At the end of the term we say farewell to Peter Ward, who retires from the Service at the end of this year. Peter has lived or worked in the Diocese all his life, and has worked in Catholic education for 46 years. He joined us in 2003 and has served as a Secondary adviser and as Secondary Team Leader during that time. Peter has also been involved in the national scene, as, amongst other things, a member of the NBRIA Executive Committee and the RE Council. He has been involved in the recent fight over the EBacc as well as leading the successful NOCN accreditation for general RE at Sixth Form. We wish him well in his retirement where I am sure he will remain busy.
As we continue on our Advent journey of preparation for the coming of Our Lord, I hope you are all able to make some space and peace in this hectic time of year to reflect on the meaning of that great event. And, in due course, I wish you a Holy and Happy Christmas and a well earned break.
We have appointed Stephen Horsman to the new post of Assistant Director (Advisory Team Leader) with effect from the 1st January 2012. Stephen will be responsible for leading a unified Advisory Team of Primary and Secondary Advisers. Stephen is currently an Assistant Head Teacher at St Joseph’s College in Beulah Hill. We have also appointed a Secondary Adviser who will start in the summer, so there will be some temporary arrangements for secondary schools at the beginning of next year, and these will be advised early next term.
Archbishop Vincent’s Video Message
At the beginning of this term the Archbishop sent a video message to all secondary schools We trust that all schools were able to respond to the Archbishop’s request to show his video message to all their students and send the script to parents. We have spoken to head teachers in the secondary schools we have visited so far this term and the message appears to have been well received. If you have further comments we would gratefully receive them.
Peter Ward will be sending Heads of Religious Education the NOCN annual report for General Religious Education shortly. David Foster and a secondary adviser will continue to visit schools and colleges for a Quality Review. Now starting the fourth year of the course, most schools have been visited but those that haven’t will be seen during the course of this academic year. Indeed it is likely that all schools not visited in 2010/11 will be visited during this academic year.
100 Days of Peace - a training in virtues
A Celebration of the Eucharist to Conclude the Year of Catholic Education and to Launch the Olympic Truce
We take this opportunity to thank those schools who contributed by sending materials for the exhibition in the Cathedral and to those who contributed either to the liturgy or by their presence at the Mass. This was a remarkable occasion which brought schools together from the three London dioceses and it was good to see the majority of our secondary schools and colleges represented. We encourage all schools and colleges to look at the front page of the diocesan website and use the materials available on Peace – a legacy greater than Gold as a teaching resource. This site includes an audio recording of Archbishop Vincent’s homily and the resource book for teachers called ‘Release Peace’ The book, in turn, asks teachers and students to contribute their own ideas to the development of peace by sending them to the new website specifically set up for the 100 Days of Peace. In this way more and more schools can take the ideas forward.
Please see the attached ‘Reference and Resource’ page for everything available on line on the Mass and the ‘Release Peace’ resource book of reflections and lessons for 100 Days of Peace for London 2012.
Please note for the new year that Peace Sunday on 15th January will be on the theme of 'Educating Young People in Justice and Peace' (look out for the Papal address) and Education Sunday is 5th February. Look out for the theme and resources for the latter on; http://www.prayforschools.org/events/pfs-events/education-sunday/
You may have noticed an article in the press headed; ‘Schools fail to sign up for 2012 tickets’. It went on to read: ‘To qualify, a school must accept the London 2012 'Get Set' education tool kit to help introduce Olympic values into lessons. Tickets will be allocated typically for groups of 10 children - both primary and secondary - accompanied by a teacher. Head teachers are free to decide which of their pupils get tickets.’
We encourage all our schools to take the opportunity to engage. Remember that while the 2012 Olympics take place during the summer holiday (July 27th – Aug 12th), the Paralympics overlap the holiday and the beginning of the next academic year (Aug 29th – Sept 9th).
EBacc, Religious Education and the School Curriculum
While it was disappointing that Religious Education was not included in the EBacc, it was perhaps not unexpected by the time the decision was released. However, both government and members of parliament acknowledged the scale and force of the campaign in favour of Religious Education. As the government has made clear, Religious Education is an important subject and its statutory position remains unchanged. Pressure continues to ensure that government recognises its responsibility to secure the presence of Religious Education in the curriculum of all schools, primary and secondary, community, voluntary-aided and academy. Catholic secondary schools across the country continue to enter virtually all pupils for GCSE Religious Studies. In 2010, the latest year for which data is presently available, 93% of all students were entered.
End of GCSE Module examinations
The government has announced its intention to end the modular form of GCSE examination from the 2014, from which time all GCSE examinations will be offered only in the summer term, apart from English, English Literature and Mathematics which may also be taken, in full, in November. Its consultation on the implementation of this decision, together with the introduction of awarding marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar in several subjects including GCSE Religious Studies, may be read at:
http://comment.ofqual.gov.uk/gcse-reform/ which states “This consultation has now closed to responses. The deadline was 4th November 2011. Any results from this consultation will be published here.”
The Ofqual website contains a FAQ section about the change at
Those schools that have introduced a three year, Y9-11, GCSE course need to be aware that the change will apply to students who commenced a three year course in Year 9 in 2011. The government has recognised that once it has formally announced its decision, exam boards may wish to review their specifications and assessment criteria in the light of the decision. Presumably any changes to specifications and the necessary changes to the methods of assessment - including spelling, punctuation and grammar - will take place in the spring and summer terms 2012 in time for the start of a two year GCSE course commencing in September 2012.
Diocesan Inspection Training – FOR YOUR DIARY
We are very pleased to bring to your attention a Joint Training Programme for Diocesan Inspectors developed by Westminster Education Service, TRIBAL and St. Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill. This exciting 4 day programme offers middle and senior school leaders essential evaluation skills as well as the opportunity to gain credits towards an MA in Catholic School Leadership. Please see the attached flyer. The Training will be held at St Mary’s College on 27/28 April and 8/9 June 2012. Application forms will be sent to all schools in December 2011.
Contact: Sr. Mary Jo Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
All schools in the Trusteeship of the Diocese are required by the Diocesan Trustees to insure the Trustees’ property either via the CCIA (which currently covers the 10% governors’ liability) or by replacing this with a policy for 100% buildings insurance which has been approved by the Trustees as conforming to the standards of cover they require. The traditional CCIA cover was based on the assumption that 90% government grant funding would be available. Recent funding changes mean that assumption is no longer valid. The CCIA (The Catholic Church Insurance Association) has therefore been working to establish a 100% insurance solution. This work is nearly complete, and the Diocesan trustees will shortly consider whether this insurance should be a requirement for its properties. Like the current CCIA insurance, this arrangement will also be available to schools in the Trusteeship of a religious order. More details will be sent to schools when they become available. Schools wishing to know more about the current position should consult the Finance and Insurance guidance on our website, as well as the Trustees’ declaration on Occupation of Premises:
Contact: Nigel Spears. email@example.com
Catholic Universities and Colleges
School may wish to draw the attention of those students wishing to go on to Higher Studies that there are a number of Catholic Universities and University Colleges in this country. There are also English Language courses at Catholic Universities in other European countries at first degree and higher degree level. These latter courses may have substantially lower fees attached than English Universities. A link to many of these institutions is available on the “Useful Links” section of the Diocesan Website:
We have received a number of enquiries from schools planning their calendar for 2012/3. The issue relates to the fact that most schools will break for Easter on Thursday 28th March 2013 – Maundy Thursday. There has been much debate in recent years about whether our schools should remain open in Holy Week: on the one hand, some schools want to enable children to participate in the liturgy in their local parish; on the other hand, some schools believe it to be very important that the children are in school to celebrate Holy Week. There are merits in both positions. We would urge schools to consider this issue and decide, in consultation with the local clergy, what is correct in their particular circumstances. The diocese will continue to offer direct guidance in circumstances where there are attempts to replace the Easter holiday with a ‘Spring Break’ at a time unrelated to Easter.
Over 1300 Catholic schools and parishes are now members of Churchmarketplace, the cost saving initiative from the Dioceses of England and Wales launched earlier this year.
'We have found we have made good savings since we have joined Churchmarketplace. I would highly recommend this initiative.' Chris Condron, Holy Family Primary School, Slough
Rod de Silva, ICT Manager for Westminster Diocese has saved nearly £10,000 for the Westminster Curia after switching to the new Churchmarketplace telecommunications supplier, Church Telecom. “Church Telecom analysed our telephone bills for free and, with no obligation, identified where we could make savings. We were very impressed with the scale of potential savings and are delighted with the results. Also having just one point of contact makes a huge difference.”
Discounts have been negotiated with a wide range of suppliers enabling Churchmarketplace to provide access to a large number of competitively priced products and services, including telecommunications, computer hardware and software, health and safety equipment, stationery and education supplies and a free catering procurement service for schools. Utilities will be available shortly.
Churchmarketplace enables the Catholic Community to save costs by purchasing together. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Dancaster: firstname.lastname@example.org; 020 7931 6092.
For more information on what Churchmarketplace can offer, please visit:
If you have not already done so please make sure that your amended admission policy and amended SIF 2013-2014 are sent to the Diocese as soon as possible and by the end of this term at the latest. Electronic copies of model policies and amended SIFs 2013-2014 are available on request from email@example.com
All schools are requested to read the accompanying documents on admissions, distribute them to governors and discuss them at the next governors’ meeting. Please contact if your school has particular issues. We will be happy to attend a meeting of governors to assist where necessary.
Please encourage your governors to attend one of the courses for presenting officers (12/05/12 and 26/05/12). This will help your school present a solid case to the admission appeals panel.
Contact: Mary Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7798 9005
The Farmington Institute
The Farmington Institute awards Fellowships to UK teachers of Religious Education in secondary schools, Religious Education Co-ordinators and teachers involved in the teaching of Religious Education and Head teachers who wish to undertake research into either Religious Education or Values Education. Further information can be found on the Farmington website, www.farmington.ac.uk Contact: Kathleen Gilbert: email@example.com
Sister Mary John Murdock OSM RIP
Please remember in your prayers Sister Mary John Murdock OSM, former Head Teacher of Our Lady’s Convent High School, Hackney, and a Trustee of the Servite Sisters. Sr Mary John died on 22nd October after a long illness. She was a great supporter of Catholic education and was heavily involved in the Building Schools for the Future programme in that Borough.
May she rest in peace.
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!)
St Eugene de Mazenod School, Camden, were praised in a press release from Ofsted as “leading the way” in school improvement within the outstanding schools and other educational deliverers in Camden. Head teacher Juliette Jackson said: “The whole school community was delighted to have their work recognised by Ofsted. It gave us the opportunity to show the outside world what we are trying so hard to achieve. We work in very challenging circumstances and the ‘outstanding’ judgement has spurred us on to be even better.”
Also congratulations to St Vincent’s Primary School, Acton, Ealing for achieving the Inclusion Quality Mark and Investor in People Awards in the summer of this year.