The Education Service

Schools Bulletin: March 2018

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

During Lent the Church offers us, in the words of Pope Francis, “the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.” It is also the time for the leaders in Catholic education in our Diocese to meet. For the first time in many years the Headteachers of both Primary and Secondary schools came together to renew their commitment to the teachings of Christ and refresh their skills and aptitude in being leaders of Catholic communities. This was a warmly received initiative.

Cardinal Nichols spoke to our Headteachers to thank them for the hard work they do in the mission of the Church. He said, “You are leaders of communities that take their character and their way of life from the gift of the Catholic faith, whatever the proportion of Catholics who may be present.” He went on to say, “Being Catholic means being open to the whole and being dedicated to the unity of the whole. Being Catholic means finding ways of expressing and deepening that 'universality', that Catholic character, and being ready always to embrace the other.” He warned of the challenges of being isolationist or going alone. He said,” the spirit of the Catholic leader is always to strive to see the whole, to see and serve its strengths and to expand that sense of belonging, of family, as far as possible. This does not mean the suppression of personal strengths or inventiveness. No. But it sees those qualities always to be put to the service of the whole, in a spirit of interdependence.” He focused on Catholic leaders being realists and that education, “always helps pupils and students to explore and embrace what it means to be human, what every human being has in common.”

The Education Service is grateful to the Cardinal, and all our guest speakers at this year’s Conference, for providing so much food for thought on our mission in serving the Church and the challenges we all face together as a Family of Schools. 

Pope Francis in his Lenten homily reminds that a moment of grace will be, again this year, the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration. In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March. In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.

Supporting leadership is central to what the Education Service does and I wish to take this opportunity to remind Primary Deputy Headteachers and Primary Assistant Headteachers that spaces are still available for our Primary Deputy Headteacher / Assistant Headteachers’ Conference which will be taking place on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th March at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor. Registration is starting at 10:30 am. Departures will be following an optional tour of Eton College after lunch on Friday. The conference includes high quality speakers such as Raymond Friel and Sir Michael Wilshaw. Please encourage your staff to attend.

Tickets are available on our new Diocesan booking site (link below) which replaces Eventbrite- they are priced at £350.

One issue that arose from our conference was the importance of addressing mental health issues in schools and colleges. If Colleagues and Governors would be interested in exploring new opportunities as how best we can support schools in this area, please get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you for all you are doing to support, promote and protect Catholic education across our Diocese.

With best wishes.

JP Morrison

Director of Education


RE Assessment Update

The pilot is currently proceeding until Easter with those schools involved gathering resources and exemplars. They will feedback from April when the National Committee will make recommendations. The Bishops will review these recommendations at the end of June. Suitable INSET will be arranged at an appropriate time.

Contact:  Trisha Hedley

Conference on RE in Catholic schools

On Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March 2018 the Heythrop Institute of Religion and Society will be hosting a two-day conference event devoted to exploring the issues and challenges currently facing RE in Catholic schools.

ADOREMUS Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool 7-9 Sep 2018

Adoremus is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to create a special opportunity to reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. Pope Francis is encouraging all schools and parishes to be active and encourage a greater appreciation of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Materials, links and information to support schools are being prepared and will be available soon.

Contact:  Elaine Arundell

World Meeting of Families

Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen by Pope Francis to host the World Meeting of Families 2018. From 21-26 August 2018, families and others from all over the world will gather in Dublin to celebrate their lives together. In partnership with World Meeting of Families 2018, the Catholic Schools Week Steering Committee has developed a one-year catechetical programme for Catholic schools. The theme for this programme is Catholic Schools: Called to be a Family of Families. The programme invites Catholic schools to reflect on and to celebrate the relationship that exists between home, school and parish through participation in four sub themed catechetical moments: All of the resources can be accessed via the following link:

Exploring the Mass – In-service with Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Please see attached PDF detailing training led by Cardinal Vincent on 13th March 2018

Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies

I am delighted to tell you that a new CCRS course will be starting after Easter and will be run in collaboration with specialists from St. Mary’s University.

This nationally accredited course supports and enhances the teaching of Religious Education and is valuable for all teachers, particularly those aspiring to senior roles. It consists of six core modules in Catholic theology and two professional modules. Assessment will be largely presentation based, with the course usually completed within two years. Tutorials will be taught as twilight sessions and if your school is interested in providing a venue for the course or you require further details then please get in touch. Further details to follow.

Liz O’Brien  - CCRS Co-ordinator, Email: 07738183831


Diocesan Events Booking System

The Education Service has launched a new booking system to replace Eventbrite for CPD events. This can be found under the ‘Schools’ header on the diocesan website or by visiting the following address:

For assistance, please contact: Francis Leeder,, 02077989189


Primary Deputy Headteachers’ Conference

Spaces are still available on the Primary Deputy Headtecher’s Conference which will taking place on 15th and 16th March at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor. Please use the link below to book a space. This year’s conference theme is “The very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:36). The conference will feature high quality speakers such as Raymond Friel and Sir Michael Wilshaw. Tickets are priced at £350.

For assistance, please contact: Francis Leeder,, 02077989189



As of 28th February 2018 all policies and SIFs must have been reviewed by the diocese (regardless of whether or not changes have been made) and determined by governors. The determined arrangements (policy and SIF) should be sent to the LA as soon as possible and put on the school website in an easily accessible place. This must be done by 15th March at the latest. On the school website there should now be 3 sets of arrangements: 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. Governors are asked to review the arrangements for 2020-2021 during the summer term in preparation for consultation on 1st October 2018. Please send these arrangements to the diocese as soon as possible.

For further information please contact

Admission Appeals

There will be training for presenting officers (the governor or Head who presents the school’s case to the admission appeals panel) on Sat 17th March and Sat 19th May 10.00am – 1.00pm at Vaughan House. All members of the admissions committee should have done this training. Please sign up on the diocesan website. There will also be training for those who wish to sit on an admission appeals panel, or to find out how the panel works. This will take place at Vaughan House on Sat  5th May 2018. 10.00am – 3.00pm. Please sign up on the diocesan website.

For further information please contact

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

The GDPR comes into force on 25th May 2018 and by this date all the provisions of the Regulation must be implemented. The penalty for non-compliance is a fine which can be substantial. The regulation applies to all schools, academies and independent schools. The requirements are slightly different for the various categories but all the issues must be addressed.

If your governing body has not received training then there is still time to catch up. There will be:

GDPR session 1 at Vaughan House on Monday 12th March 1.30-4.30pm.

GDPR Part 2 will take place at Vaughan House on Tuesday 13th March 10.00am – 1.00pm.

Schools in Hounslow should book onto the Isleworth session on Wednesday 14th March 6.00 – 9.00pm. Also, look out for local sessions in Brent and Hertfordshire.

For further information please contact


Role of priests as foundation governors

The diocese is very grateful for the dedicated service given to our schools by so many priests. We would like to remind you of the following points:

1)               Admissions

It is important that the school’s Parish Priest is not a member of any admissions panel. The Parish Priest is likely to be the Parish Priest for many of the families which are making application to the school for their child. He will, in that capacity, have a pastoral role to play which should not influence any decision to admit an individual child. The Parish Priest is also likely, in his capacity as the Parish Priest of a family, to be requested to provide any Certificate of Catholic Practice which is required by virtue of the school’s oversubscription criteria. His membership of an admissions panel may therefore place the Parish Priest in a position where there is a conflict of interest. In the circumstances, it is not appropriate for the Parish Priest to participate in any admissions panel. (From the Admissions Guidance)

2)               Re-appointment

In diocesan voluntary aided schools a priest, like other foundation governors, is appointed for a term of office, normally four years (he is not therefore appointed ex-officio). This means that it is important that clerks remember to put forward priests for re-appointment in the same way as for other foundation governors. A priest whose term of office is coming to an end should fill in a re-appointment form and return it with the accompanying documentation to the Diocesan Education Service.

3.         Re-appointments August 2018

There are many governors whose term of office ends in August 2018. The Diocesan Education Service will be contacting schools in the next few weeks to remind clerks of those whose terms are ending according to our data base, but it would be helpful if clerks also checked now and began to ensure that they have the DBS clearance certificate signed by the school for those desiring re-appointment. A copy of this sheet can be obtained from


Good News Slot

(Please note: this section of the Communique 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! Please send your news to )

We are happy to publicise all sorts of achievements, although we do not usually feature OFSTED outcomes.