The Education Service

School Bulletin: June 2012

From Paul Barber


Paul Barber

Director of Education

020 7798 9005

Farewell to Yvonne Govan

After 35 years of dedicated service to education in the Diocese of Westminster, Yvonne has decided to retire. Before her appointment as Primary Adviser, Yvonne spent 13 years in Headship in the diocese. We are very grateful to Yvonne for all her work and we will very much miss her. Yvonne will shortly be writing to the schools with whom she works and details of her replacement will follow. There will be an opportunity later to say farewell to Yvonne, but I am sure you will join us in wishing her a very happy and much deserved retirement.

Vigil of Prayer for Peace

As part of the ‘100 Days of Peace’ initiative and the ‘Release Peace’ programme for the three London Dioceses there is a twelve hour Vigil of Prayer for Peace in St. Martin-in-the-Fields during half term. It marks the fiftieth day before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and goes through the night from 11.00 p.m. on Saturday June 8th and ends with a concluding liturgy starting at 11.00 a.m. on Saturday June 9th (ending at 12.00 noon).

We are fully aware that the vigil occurs during half term and that June is a difficult time in terms of exam preparation, however, this is a significant moment to call people together from across London to pray for peace in our city and in the world. 

Please see the enclosed programme for details of an exciting timetable of twelve hours of separate presentations and activities each ending with ten minutes of silent prayer.

Please publicise as widely as possible. Please attend all or part of the vigil. There is no cost for a ticket but individuals do need to register with Barbara Kentish, (Diocese of Westminster Justice and Peace) at: 

100 Days of Peace SMITF vigil, 4 Vincent Road, London  N15 3QH or

Day Conference for Headteachers (Primary & Secondary)

This will take place in Westminster Cathedral Hall on Tuesday 3rd July 9.15-3.30. The theme will be: Looking Forward to the Year of Faith. Our speakers will include: The Revd. Fr. Michael Holman SJ, Principal of Heythrop College and Ursula Morrissey, Head Teacher and Member of the Advisory Board for the Year of Faith.

Contact: Stephen Horsman 020 7798 9005


LCVAP 2012/13: A number of projects are now in development and are expected to be delivered during the Summer and Autumn. Formal offer letters will be issued in due course but Governors and their appointed Consultants are permitted to progress the indicative schemes. As in previous years, all LCVAP Application Forms are completed by the project manager and forwarded to Nigel Spears in Vaughan house for countersignature. Diocesan Finance will administer the claims and payments for all school in the Trusteeship of the Diocese of Westminster. Schools in the Trusteeship of Religious Orders can also access this service if approval if granted by the schools own Trustees.

Only when the Secretary of State has formally approved the project funding is it reserved by the EFA.

LCVAP 2013/14: Currently, Governmental plans for capital investment in schools remain unresolved and “pending announcement”. Despite this, governing bodies across the diocese continue to plan for strategic investment and development. The Education Service will ensure that developments relating to capital investment are communicated to colleagues at the earliest opportunity.

Academies Capital Maintenance Fund 2012-13: Access to the ACMF is managed directly by the EFA. 


The Trustees of the Diocese of Westminster are pleased to note that a number of schools have successfully completed the process of transition to the Trustee Approved Buildings Insurance as issued through the CCIA and Zurich. Officers from the CCIA are liaising with Local Authority officers to assist with the migration and they are also endeavouring to simplify the choices faced by governors. Historically, a number of required insurances are “contained” within the SLA contracts forged between the Authority and School. Therefore, it is important for each governing body to fully understand their insurance needs, before agreeing contracts and premiums. The guidance from the CCIA should help to confirm the areas requiring attention and John Rogers from the CCIA has offered to attend Deanery Head Teacher meetings to discuss the local dynamic. John’s contacted on 01296 422030 or email


During the last few weeks, the Education Service has received a number of letters and emails from parents, Head Teachers, Parish Priests and Members of Parliament concerning admissions to our schools. We are currently facing an increase in the demand for admission to Catholic Primary Schools and this will begin to impact on secondary school placements within the next few years. The Education Commission are currently considering options for addressing this need whilst protecting the integrity of Catholic Education within the Diocese. The Baptismal data that the Diocese traditionally relied upon when forecasting need is no longer sufficient. The Education Service is planning to purchase a GIS Software System to enhance our analysis of need.

For Capital, Asset Management Planning, Pupil Place Planning and Insurance, please contact Nigel Spears

Religious Education: New Curriculum Directory

The publication of the revised Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools and Colleges in England and Wales is imminent. This Directory, replacing the one promulgated in 1996, is issued by the Bishops’ Conference under canon 804 and must be followed by every Catholic school.

Accordingly, the Diocese has revised and updated its own policy on Religious Education, taking into account this and other recent developments, such as the third edition of the Diocesan “Red Book”. This contains the Diocesan requirements under canon 804 and will be published on the Diocesan website at the same time as the Curriculum Directory.

Contact: Stephen Horsman 020 7798 9005

CPD Booklet 2012 to 2013

The new booklet, which gives details of the courses on offer from the Diocese for the next academic year, is available on the website. A hard copy will be sent to each school and should arrive after the half term break. 

The focus of the courses is the ‘Year of Faith’. New courses for Governors are included as part of a series of modules. These include a refresher course for Governors who have reached the end of four years of service. All courses may be attended by Governors and there is a new course offered which includes governance for Priests. An audit of standards for Governors will be used to support the development of expertise. 

The new offer also involves a larger number of training opportunities to support succession planning. This has become an important priority for the Diocesan Education Service in response to the high number of senior appointments. As previously there is also the offer of customised courses delivered to groups.

For further information please contact

School Admissions*


A big thank you to all schools for sending their updated admission procedures to the Diocese.  The determined 2013-2014 arrangements can now be displayed on your website.  Please also check your local authority’s website to ensure that the correct version of your policy is being displayed there. 

Schools are asked to review their admission arrangements for 2014-2015 at the first governors’ meeting of the autumn term.  This is your chance to amend policies to include any of the provisions of the new School Admissions Code.  When this has been done (even if you are not changing your policy) please forward the policy and SIF to the Diocese to or

Please note that in-year admissions continue to be co-ordinated by local authorities until September 2013. A further update on in-year admissions will be given later in the year.


The first admissions courses of next term are:

Wednesday 26th September 2012 2.00 – 4.00pm. Admission Procedures and Governance for Priests, and

Saturday 29th September 2012 10.00 – 12.30pm. School Admissions for Governors and Head Teachers.

Parish Boundary Maps

Many schools use parish (or deanery) boundaries as part of their oversubscription criteria. This is perfectly acceptable and lawful, provided that the governing body is absolutely clear, at the time they adopt their criteria, of the precise boundaries they will be applying for the purposes of school admissions. Governing bodies must be able to produce an exact and clear description of the boundaries on which they intend to make admission decisions, that is why Diocesan Guidance emphasises that it is good practice to include a clear map in the published admission criteria. This becomes essential if there is any lack of clarity at a local level about these boundaries. The Diocese does not hold definitive maps of parish boundaries for most parishes. To prevent misunderstandings, we have been informed by the Moderator of the Curia that any maps supplied by the Diocese come with the following warning: “The attached Parish Boundary Map is provided for information purposes only and cannot be relied upon for any other purpose. The Diocese of Westminster makes no representations or warranties of any kind, either express or implied, as to its completeness, accuracy or reliability.”

Contact: Mary Ryan 020 7798 9005

Easter 2014

We have received a number of enquiries from schools planning their calendar for 2013/4. Our advice is that the Easter holiday should be 11th April to 28th April – Easter being 20th April 2014. 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. 

Appointment of School Chaplains

The appointment of a Chaplain in a Catholic school in the Diocese is the exclusive right of the Archbishop of Westminster. Despite annual reminders in the September Schools’ Bulletin, a school recently attempted to appoint a Chaplain without following the appropriate Diocesan procedure. Therefore schools are reminded once again that they must contact this office before taking any steps towards the recruitment of a Chaplain. A copy of the Diocesan Guidance is enclosed for all secondary schools.

Contact: Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Co-ordinator of School Chaplains: 


SPEC, the Westminster Diocese youth and children’s retreat centre, will be staying at its current home at All Saints Pastoral Centre until the end of the 2012-13 academic year. This development is very welcome and will allow SPEC to continue to develop and deliver its full schedule of retreats for young people and children in the parishes and schools of the diocese. It will also help to smooth SPEC’s relocation to new premises – where the same age range will be catered for - after the 2012-13 academic year.


SPEC offers a complete sequence of retreats for groups in school years 3-13 in addition to retreats in support of parish First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes.

Year 3 - Following Jesus

Year 4 - Giving and forgiving

Year 5 - One body, many parts

Year 6 - The journey

Year 7 - Friendship and community

Year 8 - Who are you? Who am I?

Year 9 - Choosing life. Unwrapped: the gift of God's love

Year 10 - Step up: a bold adventure

Year 11 - Heroic virtue

6th Form - Come away... and listen. Building on the rock

Confirmation - Come follow me. We are family. Unveiled

First Holy Communion

For more information about SPEC and the retreats we offer, please visit  

Venue hire

When not being used for programmes led by the SPEC Community it is possible to hire premises at SPEC for your own retreats or training programmes. An important criteria is that your programme should relate in some way to Christian spiritual formation or educational work with children or young people.

For enquiries and bookings please contact Sara Rhodes, SPEC Administrator on 01727 829228 or

CARITAS Diocese of Westminster

Patricia Chale has been appointed as the first Director, of the newly established diocesan agency, Caritas Diocese of Westminster. The Agency has the task of meeting the challenges of social exclusion and poverty, by assisting:

  • in cases of individual hardship;
  • local initiatives (parish, school);
  • in partnership with parishes, diocesan agencies, Catholic and other charities.

Patricia will develop the work for Caritas and will be assisted by paid and volunteer staff, recruited as necessary. 

One of the innovatory aspects of Caritas Diocese of Westminster will be a Website which will assist:

  • communication (good practice, shared resources);
  • recruitment of volunteers (eventually a talent pool).

In addition, a Caritas Advisory Board has been established, comprising a group of people with relevant experience whose remit is to assist the Director by:

  • providing parameters for the choice and evaluation of pilot projects;
  • a sounding board for discussion of future plans;
  • technical assistance (particularly with the establishment of a website).

The St John Southworth Fund provides financial assistance to individuals and groups in accordance within guidelines established by the Archbishop’s Council. As Caritas becomes established, the operation of the St John Southworth Fund will be more closely linked with Caritas.

Patricia Chale would welcome your ideas for the newly established agency CARITAS. If you would like to put forward suggestions for initiatives to address issues of poverty and social exclusion, or find out how you could get involved, please contact Patricia at E-mail:

The Alex Curtis Memorial Trust

The parents of Alex Curtis, set up the Alex Curtis Memorial Trust of which Bishop John Sherrington is the patron. Mr Curtis writes as follows:

The Alex Curtis Memorial Trust was set up in 2007 following the sudden death of my son Alex from an acute asthma attack when he was just 17 years of age and a pupil at Nicholas Breakspear School in St Albans. The aim of the trust is to promote asthma and allergy awareness in schools by means of talks to all pupils and staff supplemented by information leaflets and coping cards. Over the past two years since the pilot series of talks began at Nicholas Breakspear, the trust has been invited into over 40 schools within the county as a whole.

The Asthma Foundation of Australia is supporting the trust in rolling out the Asthma Friendly School Scheme in this country alongside the current work of the trust. I would value the opportunity to meet up with the Head or another member of staff to discuss the work of the trust and the AFS program at a date and time convenient to the school. Please feel free to contact me in any of the following ways:

E-mail: Office: 01707 636090 Mobile: 07958 436985

Good News Slot

Our Lady’s Convent High School, Hackney for the impressive amount of money they have recently raised for charity which have included £6,300 and £1,500 they collected at their recent Non School Uniform Day where a number of student dressed as bananas; Our Lady’s Hackney’s students also won the London Citizen’s School of the Year Award for their community safety work and their campaign for a living wage for Olympic workers; St Joseph’s Junior School, Hendon for winning second place in the Primary School of the Year Home Access Awards from the E-learning Foundation for their highly innovative integrating of technology into learning and for extending this to home.