Since the last edition of this Bulletin, much has happened. We have a new coalition government and, to a certain extent, are in uncharted waters. The new government has decided that the Conservative Party’s much vaunted ideas about Academies and “Free Schools” are to be their flagship policy. Whilst the policies differ, there appear to be methodological similarities with their predecessors in office. Hence all head teachers received a letter from the new Secretary of State asking whether they wanted to “sign-up” to the new option before Parliament has decided what its contents are to be. Indeed Mr Gove seems to have promised that some will become Academies of the new dispensation by 1st September, perhaps before the ink is dry on whatever Academies Act Parliament finally endorses. This “cart before horse” process of legislation causes great difficulties for those, including the Churches, who wish to engage with the ideas it contains. Mature reflection on what is proposed cannot precede knowledge of the proposals, and it is clear that in many crucial respects no-one yet knows what their precise content will be.
Our predecessors strove hard to create a Catholic education system in this country, the system of which we are the present stewards. Due to their hard work, Catholic education exists today as a corporate entity, a true family of schools and colleges. There is much in the emerging proposals that is new and exciting, but there are also elements which, as presently set out, could be harmful to the Catholic character of our schools.
The overall impact of these changes to our national education system may be as major as those our community saw in 1944, 1902 and 1870. Now, as then, it is imperative that we stand firmly together as a family of schools, both in this Diocese and nationally.
We will be welcoming the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb, at our forthcoming Diocesan Head Teachers’ Conference. I know from the contact I have had with many schools that we can look forward to a lively and interesting discussion on that occasion and subsequently as we engage governors, religious orders and others in these discussions about the shape of our future together.
The government’s policy on their new style Academies continues to develop on a daily basis, and the Catholic Education Service is engaged in detailed discussions with ministers and officials to explore whether there can be a place for the Catholic sector within the new framework. A number of schools in the Diocese have indicated that they would be interested in exploring further such an involvement, should that prove possible. The CES are concentrating on securing the assurances necessary to allow that exploration to take place. A briefing note is enclosed which details the current position.
Farewell Margaret Smart!
This summer, Mrs Margaret Smart OBE will retire from the Education Commission, having served for 11 years. Margaret brought a wealth of experience to the Commission. Originally a language specialist, Margaret was subsequently appointed as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors. After many years in the Inspectorate, Margaret became Director of the Catholic Education Service and was responsible, amongst other achievements, for the successful negotiation of the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act. Margaret was appointed OBE for services to education before leaving the CES. Margaret is also a Trustee of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, and will continue to be a member of the Commission’s Inspection Committee.
Education Commission and other Diocesan Appointments
The Education Commission performs a valuable role in directing, developing and monitoring Catholic education within our diocese. The Diocese is currently seeking suitable nominations for membership of the Commission. The full Commission meets six times a year, in addition to various Committee meetings, and is responsible to the Archbishop for setting education policy in the Diocese as well as the running of the Diocesan Education Service. The work of the Education Commission is set out in more detail in its Statutes, which can be accessed via the website at www.rcdow.org.uk. Some extracts are enclosed to help in identifying suitable names to put forward.
If you can identify a person who, in your view, would make a good candidate for membership of the Commission, please send the name in confidence to the Director of Education. It would be helpful if you could include brief details about the person, particularly relating to their suitability and expertise for this role, and full contact details. When all suggestions have been received, the Bishop will make contact with some of the people and invite them to consider serving on the Commission. If at all possible, please make any nominations by 15th July 2010.
The Diocese is also looking for volunteers to nominate to a number of Local Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees across the Diocese. If you would like to know more about any of these opportunities, please look on the website: www.rcdow.org.uk/education
All schools will have received a letter from the Director of Education about the appointment of Sr Mary Jo Martin RSHM as Diocesan Chief Inspector. This appointment does not change the existing arrangements for the present organisation of inspections: Mike Pittendreigh will continue to be the contact for schools regarding Inspection. Sr. Mary Jo will be responsible, with the Education Commission’s Inspection Committee, for the review of the Diocesan Inspection framework and the development of an approach that is in keeping with our aims and objectives.
Sr. Mary Jo will work part-time, and will therefore not be based full-time in Vaughan House. However, should you need to contact her, her contact details are:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile telephone: 07881 641575.
Sr. Mary Jo comes to us with wide expertise and experience. She was Director of Education for the Diocese of Portsmouth; Director of Religious Education at St Mary’s Strawberry Hill and Assistant Director of Education in Brentwood Diocese having taught for 18 years. Sr Mary Jo will be in contact with schools during the review process.
Out going Head Teachers
We give thanks for the service of all our head teachers, teachers, support staff and governors who are leaving our schools and colleges at the end of this school year. We pray for their fulfilment and that their lives will continue to speak of a life of faith and service.
Mrs Anne O’Shea, St James Catholic High, Colindale
Mr Gerry Connolly, St Thomas More Language College, Chelsea
Mr John Murphy, St Michael High, Garston, Herts
Mrs Catherine Myers, Bishop Challoner Collegiate Schools, Tower Hamlets
Mr Richard Greenfield, St Edmund’s Catholic Primary, Edmonton
Mr John Murphy St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Isleworth (resigned during this school year)
We also remember in prayer and thanksgiving all those members of our school communities who have died during this school year. We especially call to mind Dympna Brotherton, Head teacher, St Scholastica’s Catholic Primary, Hackney.
At the Primary Deputy Head’s Conference earlier this year a number of colleagues indicated that they would welcome some support/guidance in understanding what is required in taking the first steps to making an application for the NPQH. An information session for this is planned for the afternoon of Tuesday 13TH July 2.00pm to 4.00pm at Vaughan House. It is hoped that a National College Succession Planning Consultant will attend. All those who have already registered their interest in attending, whilst at the Conference or the recent Deputy Heads’ forums, will automatically receive notification. All others who are interested, including colleagues in secondary schools, please email email@example.com
Succession Planning- Good News
A Leadership and Succession Planning Strategy for ‘Schools with a Religious Character’ for the academic year 2010-2011 is in the process of being launched by the National College. It is joint strategy for all Catholic and Anglican Dioceses across the country and it brings with it direct funding on a regional basis for ’Targeted Support’ for leadership and succession planning in schools with a religious character. It is an important development as the College now recognizes the important role Dioceses play on ‘ a level playing field’ with Local Authorities in terms of receiving direct funding to target support for leadership and formation towards headship in our schools.
Colleagues from the Birmingham Diocese (Margaret Buck) and Westminster (Maureen Roe) were on the working party for drawing up the strategy and were part of the original group of colleagues selected by the CES to represent the Catholic interest. Four of these eight representatives were from the CES Nurturing Future Leaders group for Leadership and Succession Planning including Geraldine Davies from St Mary’s University College and Frank Keenan from Brentwood Diocese who Chairs NFL for and on behalf of the CES.
More information on the Strategy and support for leadership will be available early in the school year as we continue to work with the college and Local Authorities on succession planning.
Contact Maureen Roe on 0207 798 9005 0r email firstname.lastname@example.org
Westminster Province Conference- ‘Celebrating Catholic Education’
On Wednesday October 6th 2010 there is a one day Westminster Province Head Teachers’ Conference being held at Cathedral Hall Westminster to celebrate, discuss/debate Catholic Education. There will be keynote speakers and Archbishop Vincent will concelebrate mass with the bishops from his province and will preach at the mass. The province includes Brentwood, Northampton, East Anglia and Nottingham and of course Westminster, so tickets will be limited. Further details and a booking form will be sent to all schools once our own one day conference has taken place.
Contact Maureen Roe on 0207 798 9005 or email email@example.com
All foundation governors at schools in the Trusteeship of the Diocese whose term of office finishes at the end of this academic year should by now have received a letter asking whether they wish to be reappointed for a further term of office, if they meet the criteria for reappointment, both specific and general. If any governors to whom this applies have not received such a letter, please contact this office to ensure that one is sent. Sincere apologies must and have been given to governors who had previously resigned or left foundation governorship and who wrongly received a reappointment letter. This was a data base issue with computer systems that were not compatible. This has been and will continue to be addressed to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Foundation governors to whom this applied have been contacted directly.
Could all governing bodies ensure that they include in the business agenda of the first meeting of the Autumn Term the re adoption or adoption of their Complaints Procedure (it is strongly advised that this should be the Diocesan Complaints Procedure). They should also adopt/re-adopt the CES Personnel Procedures on Discipline, Grievance, Sickness and Absence and Capability. The procedures are all available on the Diocesan website
Contact Maureen Roe on 0207 798 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
School Holiday Dates 2010 / 2011
We would be most grateful if schools would take a couple of minutes to email us their holiday dates for the forthcoming academic year. This enable us to plan training and other events, as well as assisting our own organisation. Thank you
Please email the dates to: email@example.com
Thank you to everyone who has sent their determined admission arrangements for 2011-2012 to the Diocese. Please would all those who have not yet done so send them by the end of term to firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you also check your LA website to ensure that they have the correct policy and SIF for the coming year.
Contact Mary Ryan on 0207 798 9005 or email email@example.com
Primary School Matters
Religious Educators Conference: We are delighted to have secured the 'services' of Fr Daniel O'Leary for the RE Coordinators conference. Daniel will explore the notion of Sacramental Vision which he began with the Deputy Heads in York. Two dates have been booked: November 23 and 24. (One of these days will be at London Colney.) Please put these dates in your diary - they will be excellent and provide the backdrop for some of the issues in the teaching of RE discussed recently.
Professional Development 2010-2011: We have included a number of new courses in our offering for the next academic year. These will highlighted on a special page in the booklet. In advance though, a little taste.....
Moving on from Level 3: A course which will explore the precise learning required to move from Level 3 to Level 4. This course will be offered 3 times during the year - each time a different Attainment Target will be considered.
Teaching Assistants: A course for TA's which will consider how they might be used in teaching RE.
Mary - Queen of Heaven: In time for May, a course to explore what we know about Mary from social, Biblical and Traditional perspectives.
Topic Days: Our Topic days have been extended to a whole day and will consider all the themes for the coming term. Although the themes will be chosen from those provided by the HIA framework, these days will look at an adult understanding of the theme and so will have application to whichever RE programme is taught.
Contact: Margaret Carswell on 0207 798 9005 or Margaretcarswell@rcdow.org.uk
Sixth Form General Religious Education: NOCN requirements
The Diocesan Verification meetings were successfully completed in the first two weeks of June. The NOCN representative complimented participating schools for the efficient way that they managed and recorded the assessment process. Diocesan officers are attending the National Verification meeting where there will be a sharing of good practice among diocese across the country. NOCN General Religious Education continues to be available in 2010/11 but will be accredited on the Qualifications and Curriculum Framework (QCF) instead of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The only significant change will be that the code numbers for the courses used in returns to the Local Authority (formerly the LSC) will change. The new numbers will be made available to all schools and colleges with Y12-13 students by letter and email as soon as they are received from NOCN. It is possible that there may be some adjustments to the Assessment Criteria but the nature of these possible changes was shared with school representatives who attended the Diocesan Verification meetings. Confirmation of the Assessment Criteria to be used in 2010/11 will be made available to all Heads of Religious Education by letter and email as soon as they are received from NOCN.
For further information or support, please contact your Adviser or Peter Ward on 020 7798 9005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Papal Visit: ‘The Big Assembly’ Friday 17 September 2010
While details are still to be confirmed, we understand that this event will be made available to schools and colleges by some means of live television or webcast. We therefore suggest you consider possible arrangements to enable pupils and staff to view the event. Timings have not been fixed but the fact that pupils attending the event at St Mary’s are required to be seated by 9am provides an indication.
For up to date information on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain, please visit the official website: www.thepapalvisit.org.uk
For all of the latest education updates relating to the Papal Visit, please visit the official education blog: www.linkinachain.wordpress.com
These sites are the best sources of information and are likely to be updated before information is made available to the Diocese. Howeve, if you wish to speak to a diocesan officer, please contact your Adviser or Margaret Carswell (primary schools) or Peter Ward (secondary schools and collges) on 020 7798 9005 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Catherine Myers, headteacher of Bishop Challoner Collegiate Schools, for the award of the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Congratulations also to Catherine’s school, Bishop Challoner Collegiate School, for winning the Outstanding Community Involvement Award in the recent Times Educational Supplement Awards.