The Education Service

School Bulletin: May 2010

From Paul Barber


Paul Barber

Director of Education

020 7798 9005

RIP Local Education Authorities: 26th March 1903 – 5th May 2010

By the time you read this, a significant milestone in education history: the abolition of local education authorities will have passed, largely unnoticed. Shortly after their 107th birthday, we say farewell to an institution that has had a central role in the development of the Dual System of education and in the partnership between Church and State in education.

Local Education Authorities were created under the Education Act 1902. They replaced the local School Boards which had been created by Mr Forster’s Act of 1870 to fill the gaps where there were not enough Church elementary schools. On 5th May all their powers and responsibilities are transferred to the respective local authority - along with those of the much more recently created “children’s service authorities” which are abolished at the same time.

Will you notice the difference when LEAs cease to be and their powers are transferred to the local authority? Probably not. The reason is twofold. First, all the staff, structures and resources are transferred with the responsibilities, so the same people are likely to continue doing the same thing after 5th May. The second reason is the more worrying one – because central and local government have spent the past few years pretending that LEAs have been abolished already, long before Parliament authorised the change a few weeks ago.

These days it is often said that the shelf-life of quangos and government agencies is five to seven years. Certainly few are allowed to live to see double figures, let alone reach maturity. Anyone remember TECs, the FEFC, the TTA, Connexions or the freshly abolished LSC, to name a few? What’s the betting that the YPLA, TDA, and other replacements will have similarly truncated lives? Amongst all these constant changes it is worth thinking that the Church’s longer term approach might have something to commend it.

Whatever the outcome of the general election, would it be too much to hope for that it would include a reduction in the ever present new initiatives, coupled with a strategic and long term approach to education? Perhaps then it would be easier for all of you (and for us) to get on with the really important and sacred task of educating the young people entrusted to our care.

Paul Barber Signature

Paul Barber

Ukrainian Catholic University Summer School – Volunteers Required!

The Ukrainian Catholic University is looking for volunteers, particularly teachers, to teach English at their month-long summer school near the Carpathian Mountains. Volunteers will live with Ukrainian college students, experience Byzantine Christianity, and learn about the new challenges facing this ancient culture. No knowledge of Ukrainian is necessary. The Summer School is supported by a new UK Charity, the Ukrainian Catholic Foundation. 

More details and an application form can be found at:

Headteachers’ July Conference  (Primary and Secondary)

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families, Ed Balls, recently accepted an invitation to speak at our July Conference (Tuesday 6th July 2010, 10.00 -3.00 p.m., Cathedral Hall, Westminster). At the time of writing we do not know the outcome of the general election or who will be Secretary of State, but we are assured by the department that the diary commitment will be put to the new Minister and will usually be honoured. Further details as they develop, but do please hold this date in your diary.

Contact: Mike Pittendreigh Telephone: 020 7798 9190

Re–appointment of Foundation Governors *

All foundation governors whose term of office is due to end on 31st July 2010 or 31st August 2010, will receive a letter asking whether they wish to be re-appointed for a further term of office. If any governors to whom this applies do not receive such a letter, please contact this office to ensure that one is sent out. For those who receive this letter and form, please ensure that the fully completed form is received at this office before 31st July 2010 so that re-appointments can be effected in time for the start of the new school year on 1st September. Please read carefully the eligibility criteria which will accompany the form.

Governors that have served 12 years or more, at the same school, will not normally be re-appointed to that school unless there are exceptional circumstances. A letter from the Head, Chair and priest on the governing body outlining these circumstances, in support of the re-appointment, should be attached to the form. One letter with three signatures would be acceptable. If no such letter or letters are attached, then the Head, Chair and priest will need to be contacted after receipt of the form, which will delay the decision about re-appointment.

 Contact: Monica Fuller Tel: 0207 798 9189 (please note Monica only works Tuesdays and Thursdays) If the matter is urgent or more detailed discussions are required contact or Tel :020 7798 9005

Foundation Governor Recruitment

The Diocese is circulating all parishes to publicise the need to recruit more foundation governors to serve the Diocese in this important ministry. There will be three information sessions to which they will be invited to attend to help them to fully understand the role of the foundation governor before they apply. Aspiring governors who have already completed forms to become a foundation governor should be encouraged to attend one of these sessions:

Thursday May 27th 6.30 – 8.30 pm at Vaughan House; Wednesday June 9th 6.30 – 8.30 pm at Nicholas Breakspear School, St Albans or Saturday July 3rd 10.30 am to 12.30 pm at Vaughan House

contact or Tel :020 7798 9005

Chair of Governors

Many Chairs of Governors will be finishing their term of office at the end of this school year and elections will need to take place or will have taken place to appoint new Chairs  with terms of office of between one and four years. Increasingly across the Diocese schools are reporting that governors are reluctant to take on this vital role. There are varying and understandable reasons for this. It must be noted, however, that the Governing Body cannot function without a Chair and the school is obliged to have one (Governors Guide to the Law). The anxiety and anticipation of not having a Chair can have a de-stabilising effect on the functioning of the governing body and the workload of the headteacher. Governing bodies are therefore encouraged to regularly review or put in place a governing body succession planning strategy.  As an ideal the Chair should come from the current membership.  We are very grateful to all those who put themselves forward for this role and remind all Foundation Governors of your particular responsibility in taking on the role of Chair to preserve and develop the Catholic Character of the School. In the next bulletin we will publish details of further support for Chairs of Governors in the 2010 – 2011 academic year. Please note that as a general principle the priest on the governing body should not be elected as Chair of Governors.

Contact Maureen Roe Tel: 020 798 9005

Continuing Professional Development

The Education Service Professional Development Booklet 2010-2011 will be sent to all schools and Colleges, separate to this bulletin, before the end of this school year. Two copies will be sent, one to the Headteacher and one for the Chair of Governors. The booklet will also be published on the website so please draw the attention of all staff and governors to this and please make the booklet widely available. We will still continue to publish the relevant individual fliers for courses with each bulletin, as these usually act as reminders in schools’ busy schedules. These fliers will also be published on the website at the same time as the bulletin.  Please make a careful note of the venues on the fliers as these may be subject to change from the course booklet. N.B. On average five people turn up for courses who haven’t booked in and an equal number who have booked don’t arrive. Whilst we understand the circumstances surrounding this it would be helpful if people not attending could inform Margaret Theissl, the Conference Secretary in advance on 020 8457 6531 or email Margaret can then inform the Course Leader. It is not too late to feed in ideas / thoughts for appropriate courses for next year which are not currently part of our provision. We do, of course, take into account all course evaluations from the previous year’s delivery.

Contact Maureen Roe Tel: 020 7798 9005

Easter 2011 and School Calendar 2010-11

The diocese is strongly of the opinion that it is important that the community of Catholic schools adopt a common policy with regard to the Easter holiday dates. The right of Governing Bodies of Catholic schools to be able to set their term dates was enshrined in law specifically to enable holidays to be set that reflect the timing of our feasts and festivals. We are part of a worldwide faith community which universally celebrates Easter as its major feast and the occasion of family holidays and reunions. Our failure to mark Easter with a school holiday will not be understood or respected by many families across Europe, Latin America, the Philippines and elsewhere. Families will take their holidays as in the past, leading to the likelihood of disputes about authorised and unauthorised absence. The pilgrimages organised by HCPT take place during Easter Week and organisers would face difficulties if schools were in session at that time. There is also the distinct possibility that if the link between Easter and the ‘Spring school holiday’ is broken, it will not be re-established and that the two will only coincide when the date of Easter coincides with the pattern of school holidays.

Suggested pattern:

Lent (Spring) Term 2011

First half          Tuesday 4 Jan – Friday 18 February

Half term         Monday – Friday 21-25 February

Second half      Monday 28 Feb – Friday 15th April

Easter (Summer) Term 2011

First half          Tuesday 3rd May – Friday 27 May

Half term         Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June

Second half      Monday 6 June – Friday 22 July

Contact Paul Barber 0207 798 9005 or email

Admission Arrangements 2011 – 2012

Thank you to all schools for submitting your proposed admission arrangements for 2011 – 2012 to the Diocese. We now need to have copies of all the determined admission arrangements i.e. those that have been finalized by the governing body (They should have been sent to the local authority already). Please also send us your SIF and let us know the date on which the governors met to determine the arrangements.  Your determined arrangements should now be posted on your website and they will also be available on the local authority’s website. Thank you for your cooperation in what is often a time-consuming and demanding exercise.

If you have any queries please contact Mary Ryan on  or 020 7798 9005.

Primary Religious Education News

1. RE Co-ordinators Day for Haringey, Hackney and Islington to be held at St. Mary's Priory School on Thursday, 10th June, 9.30 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.

2. Best Practice June 8, 9, 10. This afternoon will follow up planning for the Treasures topic with input from CAFOD Angela Warren.

3. Religious Educators Conference day. Advance notice: Please put a gentle pencil line in your diary on 23 and 24th November for the Religious Educators Conference day. We are in deep negotiations with Daniel O’Leary and hope to be able to confirm shortly. November 23rd will be at London Colney; 24th at Vaughan house.

4. Planning Material for Treasures. We have available some new support material for the HIA Topic ‘Treasures’. The material presents the Scripture passage for the topic (Genesis 1 creation story) for all years: early years (reception) to year 6. The material is too big to put on the web. If you would like a copy on disc please let me know.  

Contact Margaret Carswell Tel: 020 7798 9005

Afternoon  for Retiring Teachers

The Afternoon for Retiring Teachers will be held on Friday 25 June at Vaughan House beginning at 1.30 and finishing at 4.00pm. The afternoon incorporates reflection, nostalglia and celebration of service to Catholic education. 

Contact Kathleen Gilbert, Primary Adviser for further details

Sixth Form General Religious Education: NOCN requirements

Thanks to the co-operation of all schools and colleges, the NOCN Quality Reviewer has completed her planned programme of visits to a small sample of schools. Meantime, the diocesan programme of school/college visits is well underway ahead of the moderating meetings on Wednesday 16 June and Friday 18 June. Schools and Colleges should note that this year’s Diocesan standardization will focus on the procedure for assessing and recording of non-written assessments, such as Question/Answer or Group Discussion sessions. Evidence is likely to be in the form of a teacher record and the criteria used. John Williams and Peter Ward will clarify what this might mean in specific contexts when they make their NOCN quality assurance visit. If every assessment of a school/college involves written evidence, the standardization task this year is Task 4. All these visits are designed to support schools and colleges in meeting NOCN requirements while teaching Sixth Form General Religious Education. In addition, advisers are also happy to respond to any enquiries that schools and colleges may have between visits. Most visits have now been planned but schools/colleges are welcome to contact their adviser if their date is yet to be confirmed.

For further information or support, please contact your Adviser or Peter Ward on 020 7798 9005 or 

Secondary School/College Residential Conferences

The well-attended secondary headteachers’ conference at Bicester in February marked the third conference for leaders in Catholic schools in this academic year. Evaluation forms confirmed anecdotal comments that all were highly regarded, supporting headteachers, deputy headteachers and heads of Religious Education in their distinctive roles that contribute to the leadership and management of diocesan schools and the teaching of Religious Education. Individually and collectively the conferences also contribute to the vitality of the diocesan school community and help strengthen our capacity for future growth.  Small planning groups for each group are already considering plans for next year but additional members bringing new perspectives would be welcome by each group. If you would like to contribute to the Heads of Religious Education planning group please contact

Deputy Headteachers planning group please contact

Headteachers planning group please contact  

It is anticipated that the dates for the conferences in 2010/11 will be

Heads of Religious Education  10-11 November 2010

Deputy Headteachers    late September 2010

Headteachers     9 – 11 February 2011

Incidentally, secondary headteachers who heard Sr Mary Charles-Murray’s address to the Bicester conference will be pleased to hear that the CTS has published a booklet containing her text.

For further information, please contact Peter Ward on 020 7798 9005 or 

Secondary School/College Chaplains Day Conference

Following the termly half-day meetings, the annual day conference will be take place at Hendon on Thursday 17 June 2010. Bookings should be made in the usual way by fax to Conference Secretary Margaret Theissl on 020 8203 8278.

For further information, please contact Fr Vladimir Felzmann on 01727 821 892 or or your Adviser or Peter Ward on 020 7798 9005 or 

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 Paul’s College, Sunbury-on-Thames have received the Gold Award in the Specialist Schools in the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Cultural Diversity Quality Standard.  This is the highest accolade given to a school whose ethos, curriculum, staffing, standards and parental engagement are proven to deliver inclusivity, fairness and a desire to tackle xenophobia and understand other cultures. At the same time they have also received the Silver Award from the Food for Life Partnership in recognition of improvements to nutrition and to young people’s understanding of food;  St Gregory's, Harrow has received an award for being one of the top 20 Lead Behaviour Schools in the country; Maria Fidelis Convent School, Camden, The Gospel Choir  have won the final of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year 2010.  On top of this great achievement, the choir will have the honour of singing for Pope Benedict when he visits in September.