The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: December 2012


Resolutions of the Bishops’ Conference regarding Religious Education

The Bishops of England and Wales agreed four resolutions relating to Catholic education and schools at their November 2012 plenary meeting: Religious Education and the Common Good, Religious Education in Catholic Schools, Religious Education and Parental Choice and the bishops welcomed the publication of the new Religious Education Curriculum Directory. 

Religious Education and the Common Good
The Bishops’ Conference affirms the important role that good quality Religious Education, taught with proper academic rigour, plays in the education of young people and in developing the spiritual dimension of the human person. Therefore, the Bishops’ Conference urges the UK and Welsh Assembly governments to safeguard the place of Religious Education in the curriculum of all schools and academies, and, in the case of England, to reconsider the inclusion of Religious Education in the English Baccalaureate and in the proposed English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs).

Religious Education in Catholic Schools
The Bishops’ Conference reaffirms that Religious Education is the core subject in Catholic schools and academies requiring 10% of curriculum time. In view of the recent reallocation of resources in Initial Teacher Training to English Baccalaureate subjects in England, the Bishops’ Conference seeks assurances that the supply of highly qualified Religious Education teachers will be ensured as a matter of government policy.

Religious Education and Parental Choice
The Bishops’ Conference recognises that all parents and legal guardians have the right and duty to educate their children. Catholic parents have an additional duty and right to choose those schools and academies which best promote the Catholic education of their children (cf. Can. 793 §1). Mindful that Religious Education is at the very heart of the curriculum in Catholic schools and academies, its exclusion from the core academic subjects as defined by the English Baccalaureate effectively limits the ability of parents to choose schools and academies, and their right to ensure the education of their children is conducted in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions (cf. European Convention on Human Rights, Protocol 2, Article 1). The Bishops’ Conference therefore requests the government to uphold parents' rights in this regard.

Religious Education Curriculum Directory
The Bishops’ Conference welcomes the new Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools published by the Department for Catholic Education and Formation as the foundational document for the development of Religious Education in Catholic schools, academies and colleges in England and Wales.

For the Diocesan Policy on Religious Education, see: 

Contact Stephen Horsman email: tel. 020 7798 9005.

Survey Regarding Training Courses / Conferences run by the Diocese

We want to gather feedback on the usefulness or otherwise of the CPD we offer, so that we can improve the service available to schools. We have devised a short survey for Head Teachers which should only take a few minutes to complete. Heads will receive a reminder email about this in the next week or so, but heads are encouraged to follow this link and complete the survey (anonymously) as soon as possible. 

Please contact Josephine Lewis email; tel. 020 7798 9005


Message from the Liturgy Commission

We would like to draw your attention to a resource newly placed on the diocesan website to assist those entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the Liturgy for celebration. 

It has been produced by the Liturgy Commission with assistance from two schools. The Commission is very grateful to Emer O’Donnell of St Edward’s School, Lisson Grove and Mary Meadway of St Joseph’s School, Maida Vale for the help they have given with this project.


Senior appointments

Please ensure that all senior appointments are notified to Josephine Lewis ( at the Diocesan Education Service. Josephine will then liaise with the Chair of Governors at the school. To ensure a swift response, we ask the Chair of Governors to state the senior role and the name and location of the school in the subject line of the email. 

Please contact Josephine Lewis email; tel. 020 7798 9005.


Primary Headteachers’ Conference, Rome, 19-22 March 2013

An updated draft programme will arrive at the start of the Spring Term. The conference is a wonderful opportunity to be together in Rome during the Year of Faith. There are a limited number of places and you are encouraged to use the flyer enclosed with this bulletin to contact Margaret Theissl and book your place. 

Please contact Margaret Theissl email; tel. 020 8457 6531.


Primary Deputy Headteachers’ Conference, Canterbury 3-5 July 2013

Enclosed with this bulletin is a flyer for this conference. The attendance at the recent Deputy Headteachers’ Forums was very high at nearly 70 delegates and they were all told about the conference. Please contact Margaret Theissl for further information via the form on the flyer.

Please contact Margaret Theissl email; tel. 020 7798 9005.

Admissions Update*

Any schools that have not yet sent 2014-2015 admission policies and SIFs to the Diocese are asked to send them as soon as possible.  If any changes are to be made to the policies then the final version will have to be sent to the LA before Christmas in order to go out to consultation.

Please note that the following courses for governors will take place early next term:

16.01.13 Policies for Schools

19.01.13 School Admissions

09.02.13 Admission Appeals

There will be further courses for Presenting Officers (governors and Headteachers) and on Admission Appeals in the Summer Term.

For further information please contact Mary Ryan  or 020 7798 9005.

New Student Mental Health Training Programme and Web Resource

Speaking on October 16th at Westminster, Bishop John Arnold formally launched a new mental health website and the Get ConnectEd training programme for staff in primary and secondary schools. The Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) (CCS) developed Get ConnectEd after research showed the need for these services. The training packages will help staff develop their practice with greater understanding and skill in mental health and emotional wellbeing. CCS has recruited an experienced mental health professional to take the exciting training into schools. Key to the success of the programme is the commitment to build partnerships with senior management teams to add value to existing behavioural strategies.  Nadia Bosse, Deputy Head at Sacred Heart in Islington N7 says “Our teaching staff will benefit from the training by being more informed, skilled and in a better place to work effectively with our students.”

Please see attached leaflet for more details

Contact: Philippa Carr, Mental Health Trainer, Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster)

020 8 969 5305

Message from the Catholic Education Service: Legal Advice

The CES is seeing an increasing number of enquiries direct from schools many of which are arising as a result of local authorities not providing support services in the way that they have in the past.  The CES provides advice to Dioceses and, very occasionally, directly to schools after referral by their Diocese. Many of these recent enquiries relate to matters that should be referred to the school’s HR provider, and the CES is not in a position to provide HR support to schools. In future, the CES will only respond to enquiries that are routed through the diocese.  This is to ensure that there is a more efficient use of CES resources and that dioceses’ are kept fully informed of any enquiries that the schools might have.  I am sure that in most cases the diocese will itself be able to answer the queries.  This does not mean that the CES will never respond directly to schools, but only with prior approval from the diocese or in cases of emergency. 

School Capital – Current Programmes*

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. Many schools have now asked us to publish the form that we intend to use should LCVAP be confirmed and this is attached to this bulletin for your use. Should the DfE decide to suspend LCVAP as a source of capital funding, schools will be advised at the earliest opportunity


SCHOOL BUILDING INSURANCE: The guidance on all aspects of School Building Insurance can be obtained from the CCIA. Please contact John Rogers on 01296422030 or email 


PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING: Following a successful trial of pupil placement data management, the Diocese of Westminster will be seeking information from all schools early in the new term. Each school will be asked to complete two related returns using an Excel Worksheet. The first return will confirm the long list of applicants, whilst the second will confirm those pupils assigned to the school by their LA. This data will be shared by each school to assist the Diocesan Archbishop assess the need for additional catholic school provision and improve our representations when negotiating with local authority colleagues. Governors will be asked to confirm whether each child is catholic based on baptism. The Trustees have purchased a GIS mapping system to support our work and respond more effectively to the growing demands for increased school provision across the Diocese. For more information, please contact Nigel Spears


CAPITAL PROCUREMENT POLICY DOCUMENTS: Members of the School Building Committee from The Education Service, Diocesan Property and Diocesan Finance, have been working to provide more comprehensive guidance documents for school governing bodies and for the professional consultants supporting our schools. The first of these documents have been published and are attached to this Bulletin. Comments from governors and school leaders would be appreciated and should be sent to Nigel Spears


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 Margaret Clitherow Primary School, Stevenage have won “Best School – Stevenage in Bloom” and were awarded a special award in recognition of their efforts in the Anglia in Bloom Campaign 2012 in which Stevenage won a Silver Gilt Award;  Our Lady’s Primary School, Hitchin have become the first school in the country to win the prestigious UNESCO Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA); St. Raphael’s, Northolt for being awarded a sustainable travel award for increased levels of cycling at the school over the last two years.



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