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Welcome from the Director of Education

Welcome to the website of the Diocese of Westminster Education Service. On these pages you will find useful information about the work of the team and the schools of the Diocese.

The Education Service, together with colleagues in the Property Department, supports 207 schools to ensure that they are successful and act in accordance within the Trust Deed of the Diocese. This involves us in offering advice and direction on a broad range of educational matters such as, Religious Education and curriculum issues, Catholic Life of a school, staffing and recruitment, governance, admissions and capital and academy developments. In order to do this, the team work closely with Parishes,  Local Authorities, the Department for Education, NGA and the National College for Teaching and Leadership. Strong partnerships are key and the team value the support of the Catholic Education Service.

Catholic schools and colleges have a significant part to play in the mission of the Church.  Our Diocesan schools make a strong contribution to education in London, Hertfordshire and Surrey. They exist so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to future generations. In the words of Cardinal Nichols, “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.”

 

Wednesday 21st April 2021
Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,
First of all, welcome back and I hope you were able to prioritise some time for your own wellbeing over Easter and found time to relax during the holiday period with family and friends - where and when it was allowed of course. The term ahead will, we hope, gradually see the easing of government restrictions due to the covid pandemic, but as always with the summer term in schools and colleges, there is much to be done in addition to managing the additional burdens covid has brought upon your schools. Please continue to ask for help or support should you need it, either through your attached advisor or by contacting the education service directly.
The first edition of the 'Witness to the Word' for the summer term is attached, and we hope that you will find the range of information helpful to you and your school communities.
 
In addition, the following recently published information and links are all noteworthy for all school leaders and governors.
 
Governance Update April 2021

The Governance Team at the Department for Education has published the Governance Update for April 2021. Inthis edition, the DfE have created one version to cover both maintained schools and academy trusts – the articles are listed below for information.

1) Governing and trust boards meetings and visits into schools
2) National Tutoring Programme: subsidised tutoring available
3) ECF Statutory Induction Guidance Change
4) Honours nominations for those who work or volunteer in school or trust governance
5) Governor and trustee recruitment: Inspiring Governance and Academy Ambassadors
6) (Academy trusts only) How to complete or update your governance contacts on Get Information about Schools (GIAS).

The full details can be accessed at this link: School governance update: April 2021 - GOV.UK

Changes to the Ofsted Handbook
Ofsted has published a revised section 5 handbook, detailing how it will inspect schools later this term and, in the future, to take into account the impact of Covid. The most substantial changes relate directly to Covid including:

  • the potential need for a longer conversation before the inspection
  • how data will be used, given there is none for 2020 or 2021
  • how schools have adapted the curriculum, and how they are supporting catch-up
  • requirement to have taught the new RSE curriculum and to have consulted on and published a RSE policy
  • attendance of eligible pupils during lockdown.

The main changes and updated handbook can be read in full here. As a reminder, inspections will typically be section 8 monitoring visits of inadequate schools, schools with two ‘Requires Improvement’ gradings, and good schools not inspected within five years; and will not normally result in a change of grade.

The Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stages 1 and 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Order 2021

The DfE published on Tuesday, The Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stages 1 and 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Order 2021 and comes into force with immediate effect.

This Order makes amendments to the secondary legislation relating to primary school assessments. The full text of the order can be accessed via: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/479/contents/made

This order has the effect that the Key Stages 1 and 2 assessments, checks, tests and related obligations, which would otherwise have taken place in, or in relation to, the 2020-21 school year (and in the case of the phonics screening check, the summer term of the 2020-21 school year) are no longer legally required.

Please also take note of the CPD sessions available this term, links are provided in the Witness to the Word, and also remember to register in advance for the next series of Regional Hub Meetings that take place during the week commencing Monday, 10th May.
 
Thank you for everyone who was able to attend the Leadership Conference just before Easter and I would also like to thank the members of the Education Service who made it all possible. The feedback received to date has been very positive but if you have not been able to complete your evaluations, please submit these as soon as possible so that we can provide links to the session recordings. And finally, I would like to thank all the schools who were able join the celebration of mass on Friday 26th March with Fr Chris Vipers, and those who were able to access the recording to celebrate in your final week of term. I must also thank Deacon Liam Lynch for his cinematography and technical knowledge to bring this to fruition. There were 1243 live links on Friday 26th, most of which would have been streamed to a class with 25 or more pupils and staff in attendance - that is potentially a congregation of over 25,000, true inspiring, thank you all for being part of something very special.
 

Wishing you and your school communities all the very best for the week ahead.

Peter Sweeney

crestPeter Sweeney | Interim Director 

news and events

His Eminence Cardinal Nichols, March 2021

A video message from His Eminence to express his gratitude to the staff, governors and pupils in our school communities for the support, resilience, accomplishments and hope for the future.

education service cpd
testimonials

"What an Inspiration!  And a joy to follow from start to finish.  Thank you so very much for this brilliant foundation - Your enthusiasm is infectious!"

"I feel like I have taken away lots of valuable knowledge for myself and colleagues. The team work between course leads meant the delivery was very good."

"I really enjoyed the course. I think that the speakers gave everyone on the course today, the belief that Senior roles are available if you have the right attitude. The course was good for my confidence."

"Really helpful to talk to others in the break out rooms- it’s enables us to stay in contact with each other as peer support."

"It’s great to listen to people in leadership and their personal experiences and advice."

Here is our new Summer Term CPD Programme. You will find in the programme course aims, descriptions and booking links. Please click on the programme to the right to access:

title in conversation with

Please visit our Catholic Life page for more conversations with the Education Service:

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