The Education Service

School Bulletin: March 2011

From Paul Barber


Paul Barber

Director of Education

020 7798 9005

Another Education Bill is now on its journey through Parliament. As usual, the Bill contains many items of interest, and some of concern, to us. Some of those items attempt to rectify some of the Bishops’ concerns about the hastily drafted Academies Act 2010 and other parts of the Academies framework which the government is inviting us to join. The effect of the Bill as presently drafted will alleviate some of those concerns and lessen others, but some still remain. The government has indicated it is willing to continue working on the remaining concerns, and the CES is working closely with the Bill Team to improve the situation still further.

Aside from the Education Bill, the CES continues to make progress on the Policy side of Academies, and Bishop Malcolm Mc Mahon’s recent statement reflects that steady progress. The idea of a distinctive identity for the Catholic sector within the Academy sector – the concept of a “Catholic Voluntary Academy” – discussed at our Diocesan meetings with head teachers and chairs of governors in January has now been accepted by the Government. The development of this concept and its clear signposting by ourselves and the DfE will assist in educating officials and others about the continuing distinctiveness of our sector if and when any of our schools become Academies.

These areas of progress are reflected in Bishop McMahon’s view that, subject to the CES’s ongoing discussions with Ministers, the “could we?” question in this debate is likely to receive a positive answer, and that the focus is shifting to the more difficult “should we?” question at national, diocesan and local levels. It is therefore timely that we have been able to discuss these questions with head teachers, chairs of governors, and others in the Diocese, and to gather views to inform the Education Commission and Trustees, who will consider these broad questions this month. Following those deliberations, and subject to their outcome, I anticipate we will need to undertake more detailed consideration of the third big question: “if so, how?”. The answers to that question will need to be worked out in accordance with our own self understanding of the ecclesial nature of Catholic education, and we look forward to working with you all on that task. In the light of the above, it will be clear that this further consultation between schools and their Trustees must precede any wider local consultations or any concrete steps towards applying to be an Academy.

Change is also the order of the day in the Education Service. Maureen Roe, our Deputy Director for the last six of her nine years in the Service, will be retiring at the end of August 2011, and Margaret Carswell has decided to return to Australia, also in the summer. We will greatly miss Maureen and Margaret when they leave, but I am delighted that Margaret has agreed to return to do some work for us periodically. There will be an opportunity to recognise their enormous contributions to the Service and to say farewell to each of them in a fitting way later in the year. I ask your help in publicising the resulting vacancies so we may recruit quality replacements to continue to deliver the service you expect. 

Paul Barber Signature

Paul Barber


Education  Service: Recruitment

The Education Service is recruiting for three posts: Deputy Director and Assistant Director (Advisory Team Leader) both from September 2011, and a Catholic Education Adviser (Primary) for September or sooner if possible. Please put the enclosed Advert in your staffroom and bring the vacancies to the attention of anyone who may be interested.

Job descriptions are available on the Diocesan website under “Jobs” or contact Julie Dauncey in out HR Department for a recruitment pack.

Contact: Julie Dauncey on

Academies: Update

An update for Governing Bodies and Head Teachers is enclosed.

Contact: Paul Barber on 020 7798 9005 or

Beyond Level 3 and the Teaching of Scripture 

On 11th March the Section 48 Inspectors met with the Primary Team Leader with the purpose of developing a shared understanding of the principles which underpin the teaching of Scripture, as well as a clearer more precise understanding of the Attainment Targets (especially Level 3, 4 and 5). It is planned that the discussions and debate will result in the preparation of a formal document of ‘agreed understanding’ which will be distributed to all schools. 

Contact: Margaret Carswell on 020 7798 9005 or

London Citizens

London Citizens are very keen to identify and work with a small group of Primary schools who would lead in preparing teaching materials on projects initiated by London Citizens. If you would be interested in London Citizens, please look at their website If you would be interested in being part of a small ‘writing’ group, please contact Margaret Carswell. 

Contact: Margaret Carswell on 020 7798 9005 or

Headteachers’ Conference 5 July 2011 

Archbishop Vincent will open this year’s all day Conference which is entitled Fostering a Culture of Vocation in our Catholic Schools Today. Invitations and booking forms will be issued on Monday 14th March and applications are welcomed by return. An engaging programme is planned which will address key aspects of the life of a Catholic school in 2011. We hope you have the date in your diary and look forward to seeing you in Westminster Cathedral Hall on Tuesday 5 July.

Contact: Margaret Theissl on 020 8457 6531or

E Bacc Update

You are probably aware that much lobbying is on going in favour of including Religious Education in the Humanities group of subjects in the English Baccalaureate on many fronts. We will not rehearse the list here but would encourage schools to mobilise as many people as possible to write to their MP on the subject. This request is not directed solely to secondary schools. We know that some primary schools have already lobbied but would encourage all to join this important campaign.

Useful advice on how to campaign may be found at: 

For further information please contact your school adviser of Peter Ward at or on 020 7798 9005.

Sixth Form Funding 2011-12*

Colleges and schools with Sixth Forms will be well aware of the revised funding regime introduced by the YPLA for the coming year. Given this context, we are exploring ways of securing the cost-effective funding of General Religious Education into the future. Further information will be shared as soon as possible. Looking further ahead the Wolf Report: Review of Vocational Education, published on 3 March 2011, is making far reaching recommendations across the 14-19 range including the replacement of unit funding with a modified flat rate funding model. 

In the meantime specific questions regarding General Religious Education may be addressed to Peter Ward at or on 020 7798 9005.

Sixth Form General Religious Education: NOCN Update

The NOCN Quality Reviewer has completed many of his visits and found that procedures and practices across the diocese are in line with NOCN requirements. Following each visit, a report is made to NOCN and shared with the school. During his visits he has noted a number of examples of good practice that will be circulated to all schools and colleges entering students for this qualification. School Advisers will soon be contacting their schools and colleges to agree dates to make the end of course visit to verify standards and counter sign returns to NOCN. The annual diocesan standardising meetings will be held at Vaughan House on the mornings of Wednesday 15 June and Friday 17 June. Full details of these events will be circulated shortly.

For further information please contact your school adviser or Peter Ward at or on 020 7798 9005.

Update on Inspection Review

The Inspection Committee is continuing to work on the draft framework for Diocesan Inspection.  The discussions held with heads at various Deanery Meetings as well as Advisers and Inspectors are all contributing to the development of a framework which will meet the needs of schools and colleges in the Diocese.  We are also in discussion with some other Dioceses so that our work is seen to be in collaboration with the national review being undertaken at this time. Until the publication of the new Framework the current process of Section 48 Inspections will continue. During this period of transition, support and advice for the preparation of Diocesan Inspection is available to subject leaders of religious education and heads. Please contact Mary Jo Martin at Vaughan House if you would like to discuss anything about the current inspection process or the work of the review.

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 Swithun Wells Primary School, Hillingdon for being awarded the Healthy Schools Award.

On behalf of the Archbishop of Westminster and the Board of Studies of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales we are pleased to announce that the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies has been awarded to these candidates who have successfully completed their studies at the Westminster Centre: DEIRDRE ANN ABBOTT - St. Joan of Arc Primary School, Islington; PATRICIA FEURY - St. Bernadette  Primary School, Kenton; PENELOPE HARMAN - St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, Fulham; JANE HEFFERNAN - Convent of Jesus & Mary Language College, Willesden; MICHELLE KEATING - St. Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, Puckeridge; DENISE LAWRENCE – St. Margaret Clitherow Primary School, Stevenage; DIANA MENDONCA - St. John Fisher, Pinner; TARA MOONEY - Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Stonebridge; PAUL NEVES – John F Kennedy School, Hemel Hempstead; CAROLYN O’BRIEN - St. John Fisher  Primary School, Pinner; SUSANA OPOKU-GYAMFI - St. Aloysius College, Highgate; CAROLINE PANNELL - English Martyrs Primary School Tower Hill; CHERYL SUBBAN Sion Manning Girls School. N. Kensington; The CCRS awards were presented by Bishop John Arnold in the presence of head teachers, governors and parish priests at Vaughan House on Saturday 22nd January. The Westminster Diocesan CCRS Centre currently has over 80 teachers studying to complete the CCRS course. If staff in your school have not yet completed the CCRS course please visit the Diocesan Education Service website for more information about the CCRS course.