The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: March 2013

To:      Head Teachers and Chairs of Governing Bodies

Items marked* do not apply to independent schools

Message from Bishop John Sherrington, Chairman of the Education Commission

As I told you in my last message, Paul Barber will be leaving us on 27 March to take up his new role at the Catholic Education Service. Whilst we are currently in the process of recruiting a new Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster, it is unlikely that we will make this appointment before September 2013. With this in mind, I have appointed Mrs Kate Griffin as an interim Director of Education. Kate has 18 years’ experience as a secondary head teacher which included a secondment as president of her professional body ASCL (The Association of School and College Leaders) and has more recently been working as an OFSTED inspector and member of our Education Commission.

Kate will take up this position from 1 April 2013 and will be working about 3 days per week in this role. It is also my intention to focus more of my time and energy at this difficult interim period on educational matters; so I will be working closely with Kate and other members of the Education Department over this period.

I am sure you will join me in making Kate very welcome to the Education Department over the coming months.

Bishop John Sherrington

The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, joined with celebrations globally for the election of Pope Francis, saying:

 "With great joy we welcome the good news: the Church has a new Pope! We have a father, Pope Francis. His election may have taken many of us by surprise, including me; but the more we learn about him, the more it becomes clear that the election of Pope Francis is an inspired one and that his papacy will be inspiring. Pope Benedict XVI always directed our gaze toward the person Christ, so too will Pope Francis. He will lead the Church, not by making her close in on herself, but by ensuring that she looks always to the person of Christ. Our new Pope will help us to respond generously to the call to personal holiness, so that together we may be effective witnesses in the world to the mercy and justice of the Lord. By his own example, Pope Francis will help us to have a special concern for the poor because in them we see and serve Christ himself. At the very beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis humbly asked that we pray for him. I invite you, then, to join with me in praying for our Holy Father, Pope Francis:


May the Lord protect him and grant him length of days. Amen.

May the Lord be his shield and deliver him from all harm. Amen

May the Lord grant him happiness and peace all the days of his life. Amen."


Diocesan Headteachers’ Conference 2nd July 2013, Westminster Cathedral Hall – (please, if you have not already done so, put the date in your diaries).

This year’s annual Diocesan Headteachers’ Conference will focus on the theme of ‘Called to Serve- Living out the Gospel in our schools today’.  The aim of the day is about both learning and practice and to that end it is a pleasure to say that His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols has kindly agreed to deliver the keynote speech. Part of the day will consider practical ways that the Gospel can be lived out in our schools. This will be of benefit for all our schools and in particular when considering the Common Good part of the Section 48 inspection process.

Please book with Margaret Theissl email: tel 020 8457 6531/Fax: 020 8203 8278 (Flier enclosed).


Director of Education: New Official E-mail Address

For some time we have encouraged schools to establish permanent ‘official’ e-mail addresses, particularly for the head teacher.  In order to facilitate a smooth handover to the current Director of Education’s successor, we are doing the same. We have therefore set up a new e-mail address: for use for all official correspondence with the Director of Education. We ask all schools specifically contacting the Director on diocesan business to use this e-mail address rather than the existing which will eventually be discontinued. Alternatively, if the message is not specifically to the Director, please continue to use the generic e-mail address: which will allow your correspondence to be directed quickly to the most appropriate member of the Service.


Admission Appeals

Please note that all schools must have their admission appeals arrangements published on the school website by 28th February, giving parents a minimum of 20 school days in which to lodge their appeal. There will be training for governors/headteachers on admission appeals on 27th April and for presenting officers on 11th May and 15th June. 

Please contact for bookings.


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!)

Bishop Douglass School, Finchley and St Mark’s Secondary, Hounslow, & St Paul’s College, Sunbury were recently identified by David Laws, Minister of State for Education as among the 100 top performing schools in the country for progress from Key Stage 2 to GCSE; St Thomas More School, Wood Green, Haringey for coming top for the first time in the Haringey Secondary League Tables 2012 (the result in 2010 for 5 A*-C grades (including English and Maths)rose from 32% to 77%.