Communication from the Director of Education

Witness of the Word School Bulletin

15th July 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Before you leave your school this week take time to sit, reflect and understand what you and everyone else in your role has gone through this academic year. No other will ever feel the same. You may feel exhausted. You may feel the energy to cope with the last 15 weeks has taken a lot out of you. You may feel worried and anxious about what the September term will bring. Everyone at the Education Service recognises and appreciates what you have achieved. All will be well. For now just rest. You have reached the end of this term and for that we are truly grateful. You have done an outstanding job to manage your school throughout all this uncertainty and anxiety.  Well done and thank you! On behalf of all the Education Service we wish you a restful, peaceful, energising and invigorating holiday. You deserve it.  On Monday we successfully held our Celebration of Service Liturgy via Zoom for all those Headteacher colleagues leaving us this summer. It was both a moving and humbling experience to hear so much humility and passion for Catholic education. To all those staff who are moving on to pastures new this summer we wish them well and thank them for their service.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin is attached to this email – please see attached, read and share. Also attached is the CPD Programme for the Autumn Term.

Our Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources for schools: Click Here

Catholic Life and Worship Resources

Weekly Rosary

Please join us each week as we pray a decade of the Rosary together.  This Friday, July 17th, we recite the Fourth Joyful Mystery:  The Presentation of the Lord.  You can join via YouTube here or alternatively download the PowerPoint here

Weekly Beatitude Assembly

Please click here for a Primary and a Secondary Powerpoint resource that can be used with students.

The Spirituality of Rest - Fr Gerald O’Mahoney

This Summer will certainly be unlike any other, and our plans may not reflect our usual practice.  Nevertheless, whatever we expect of the next few months this article may help us to consider and take seriously our genuine need to rest.  Fr Gerald O’Mahoney explores the Spirituality of Rest through biblical, Ignatian and other foundations of a healthy and positive approach to rest and holidays.

In Conversation…

We are delighted to include this week a link here to another episode of our ‘In Conversation’ series.  The focus this week is on our incredibly popular Foundation Stones course.  This has been a huge success for many schools over the Summer Term and has helped to develop the theological literacy of not just teachers but support staff too.  We are delighted now to be receiving so many enquiries about our CCRS course those who enjoyed the Foundation Stones experience.

Next term there will be three opportunities to engage with the Foundation Stones course either as an individual (£200) or as a staff (£300):

  • Monday 4-6pm:  Claire O’Neill (6 sessions)
  • Wednesday 2.30-3.45 Amanda Crowley (12 sessions)
  • Thursday 4-6pm Tony Gorton (6 sessions)

(Please find booking links within the attached CPD booklet)

Recommendation for Summer reading – books written by people of BAME identity

The Catholic online Journal America Magazine have put together a wide range of reading resources for you to choose from. As Vivian Cabrera explains,

“This summer we are recommending books written by people of colour. I hope you, the reader, pick up at least one of these books. We made it a point to choose books from authors who represent a wide array of communities, so that reading from this list will help anyone cultivate compassion, empathy and an appreciation for some phenomenal writers. I hope it challenges you to read more fiction and stirs your heart to approach the world we’re living in with a more compassionate point of view.”

Read Here

We have included in our Bulletin extensive resources and clips for you to share regarding BAME identity. The Diocesan BAME Working Party met this week and we look forward to sharing with you our plans in the autumn term.

The Recovery Curriculum

Unconscious Bias:  Developing resilience in the Classroom to Support Pupil Outcomes; COVID-19: DfE guidance on 'Cluster and hub provision; and The Recovery Curriculum for Primary Schools: Re-connection, Recovery and Resilience

Read Here

A Great article entitled "A Recovery Curriculum:  Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic."

https://www.evidenceforlearning.net/recoverycurriculum/

A series of podcasts about what the recovery Curriculum may look like for schools.

Read Here

Webinar on Thursday July 16th 2020: Click Here
Infection control: preparing the school environment for the return of all pupils

New Staff at the Education Service

I am delighted to remind that our new Chief Inspector of Schools from September 2020 will be Mrs Nancy Conoboy. Nancy is currently the Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at St Dominic’s Sixth Form College. Nancy has over 30 years’ experience in Catholic education. She is one of our Lead Inspectors and a Religious Education specialist. In September Nancy will have the opportunity to communicate to all schools what the vision for her role and the inspection process will look like going forward. Nancy will take over from Jane Goring who has done a wonderful job as Chief Inspector and we wish her every happiness and fulfilment in all her future endeavours.

Wishing you and all your school community a restful, peaceful and enjoyable summer break. Make sure you take the time you need to reenergise and feel lifted again. Thank you for all you do to protect, secure and develop Catholic education.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

8th July 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Good morning to you and hope all well with you.

As we approach the end of term we are extremely grateful to you all for everything you are doing to support the life and future of your school community. The last 14 weeks have been tough and you have shown resilience and fortitude in coping with everything presented to you. You have done a fantastic job. Next Monday we have invited the 19 Headteachers and colleagues who are leaving this summer to pastures new. Bishop +John Sherrington and Fr Michael Dunne will lead a Celebration of Service Liturgy via Zoom.  Our sincere thanks to all those colleagues who do leave us next week and on behalf of all the Education Service we thank them for their service and witness to faith.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources for schools: Click Here

New Staff at the Education Service

I am delighted to announce that our new Chief Inspector of Schools from September 2020 will be Mrs Nancy Conoboy. Nancy is currently the Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at St Dominic’s Sixth Form College. Nancy has over 30 years’ experience in Catholic education. She is one of our Lead Inspectors and a Religious Education specialist. In September Nancy will have the opportunity to communicate to all schools what the vision for her role and the inspection process will look like going forward. Nancy will take over from Jane Goring who has done a wonderful job as Chief Inspector and we wish her every happiness and fulfilment in all her future endeavours.

In Conversation…

We are delighted to include information about a new resource we have created to provide information to schools about areas of significant interest.  Our In Conversation video series highlights various organisations and charities who work directly to support schools, providing an overview of their work and the resources and training they provide.  Please follow the link for interviews with key personnel from Papyrus (Suicide Prevention) and the Catholic Children’s Society detailing their mission and how they can be of benefit to our schools.  Please click here for access to both videos.

 

Catholic Life and Worship Resources

Weekly Rosary

Please join us each week as we pray a decade of the Rosary together.  This Friday, July 10th, we recite the Third Joyful Mystery:  The Nativity of the Lord.  You can join via YouTube here or alternatively download the powerpoint here

Weekly Rosary 8th July 2020

Weekly Beatitude Assembly

Please click here for a Primary and a Secondary Powerpoint resource that can be used with students

Beatitude Presentations Primary and Secondary

Announcement on resuming Collective Worship 

Cardinal Vincent welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement on 23rd June that collective acts of worship can resume, saying: 'I welcome the statement by the Prime Minister earlier today, that places of worship are now able to resume collective acts of worship from 4th July. This is welcome news for members of all religions in England. I thank all who have worked hard to bring this about, not least my fellow religious leaders.

'As Catholics we now look forward to being able to celebrate Mass together again from 4th July. We have waited with patience and longing for this moment, understanding the importance of protecting the health of people in our society. Now we are full of anticipation that we will be able again to take part together in the Eucharist, which lies at the centre of our faith.

'It is important that we continue to abide by the guidance, given by the Government, on appropriate social distancing and the other measures to avoid all unnecessary risk. Our own detailed  guidance will be distributed around dioceses and parishes so everyone can be confident that they may come to Mass securely  and understand the part they are to play in protecting each other from any remaining risk of infection.

'The past few months have been a time of fashioning new patterns of prayer, new ways of exploring and enriching our faith and vigorous ways of reaching out to those in need. We can build on these, forgetting nothing of the graces we have been given. Yet now, with the experience of opening our churches for individual prayer already gained, this return to the more normal patterns of worship will be of great importance to all Catholics.

'This time of our "Eucharistic fast" has made our hearts grow in longing for that moment when we can come together and receive again the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. That moment is now very near and for that we thank God.'

July is the month we celebrate the birth of St Ignatius of Loyola and here are two interesting and relevant articles for you.

Fr James Hanvey SJ  This week  ‘What Ignatius gives us is not a scholastic or academic theology; it is not a theory, but a theology that is lived and experienced. In this sense, too, our theology becomes a daily action, shaping and making our lives.’ To celebrate the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, on 31 July, James Hanvey SJ exposes the theological vision manifested in the Spiritual Exercises and in Ignatius’s life.  Read Here

David Lonsdale

During extended periods of isolation, we are likely to be more-than-usually sensitive to changes of mood. Ignatius of Loyola’s own experience of this led him to develop techniques to respond to feelings of ‘darkness and disturbance’. David Lonsdale explores Ignatius’s observations about what he called ‘consolation’ and ‘desolation’, and finds in the Spiritual Exercises a helpful tactic to work against the latter. Read Here

Keep well. Keep strong. Keep the faith. Enjoy your day.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

1st July 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

This week we will know the detail of the government’s plans for schools for September 2020. The Huffington Post leaked the details earlier this week and you can read the contents below. The Education Service will work with schools to ensure that all schools can work in solidarity to achieve the best possible start for all our students and staff in the new academic year. For those of you who are Headteachers please join us this Thursday at 2pm for our Zoom Meeting to discuss the potential impact of these proposals. The Education Service will continue to provide you with resources and materials in the final weeks of this term. Please see the attached flyers for courses we are running for your schools in the weeks ahead.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources for schools: Click Here

Weekly Rosary

Please join us each week as we pray a decade of the Rosary together.  This Friday, June 12th, we recite the Second Joyful Mystery:  The Visitation.

You can join via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdSUwUWu0JE&feature=youtu.be or alternatively  download the powerpoint here

Weekly Beatitude Assembly

Please click here for a Primary and a Secondary Powerpoint resource that can be used with students

Peter Edmonds SJ This week we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. ‘They were both apostles of Christ who sacrificed their lives to the same persecution, but their origins, personalities and achievements remind us that we live with diversity as well as uniformity in the Church of Christ.’ Peter Edmonds SJ describes how God’s grace worked differently in the lives of these two saints, neither of whom had straightforward paths to holiness.  Read Here 

Olga Segura

Olga Segura is the author of the forthcoming book titled Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Her article in America Magazine can be Read Here  This article provides an interesting insight into the experiences in Catholic America right now.

Catholic Churches in England can resume collective acts of worship from 4 July

A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England regarding the resumption of collective worship in England: “We ask every Catholic to think carefully about how and when they will return to Mass. Our priests may need to consider whether it is possible to celebrate additional Masses at the weekends. Given there is no Sunday obligation, we ask you to consider the possibility of attending Mass on a weekday. This will ease the pressure of numbers for Sunday celebrations and allow a gradual return to the Eucharist for more people.

You can read the Bishops’ Conference guidance notes intended to assist Parish Priests to facilitate collective worship safely (i.e. providing the least possible risk of transmission of the virus). The guidance has been compiled with detailed public health advice and scrutiny and complies with the principles established by Government.

Read Here

Government Proposals for Schools in September by Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week

Social distancing will be lifted for pupils but teachers will still have to keep away from others as much as possible, under draft guidance reportedly drawn up by the government for the return of pupils in September.

HuffPost UK has revealed details from draft guidance still being finalised and due to be published later this week. Education secretary Gavin Williamson promised this morning to release a “detailed” plan by the end of the week.

The website reported that proposals include pupils dropping or suspending GCSEs next year so they can catch up in English and maths, as well as Ofsted not resuming inspections until January.

The DfE said it wouldn’t comment on leaks or speculation, but hasn’t denied any of the claims in the story.

Whole-year-group bubbles for secondaries

According to HuffPost, secondary schools will be asked to deploy whole-year-group “bubbles” of up to 240 pupils, while primaries observing smaller class-sized bubbles of 30 pupils.

It comes after Schools Week revealed that whole-year-group bubbles were among the approaches being considered by the government and deemed workable by leading multi-academy trusts.

Social distancing maintained for teachers (as far as possible)

The guidance will reportedly state that there will be no in-class social distancing requirement for primary school pupils, while secondary pupils will be advised to stay a metre apart, though not at all times.

Teachers, on the other hand, will be advised to keep two metres away from pupils at the front of the class, and keep away from colleagues as much as possible. Where teachers do need to get closer, they will be advised to spend no more than 15 minutes at any one time closer than a metre to anyone else.

Neither pupils nor teachers will have to wear face coverings, and as has been reported elsewhere, children will be seated facing forwards and in the same direction, the report stated.

Compulsory engagement with Test and Trace

Engagement with the NHS Test and Trace system will be compulsory, and whole classes or even year groups will be liable to be sent home if just one pupil tests positive.

However, schools will be advised against routine temperature tests of pupils as this is not considered to be a “reliable method” of identifying the disease, it has been reported.

Heads will also be told not to put in any staff rota or physical distancing that would require extra space or make it impossible for all pupils to return full-time, the HuffPost stated.

Subjects suspended, GCSEs dropped and year 7 catch-up

The guidance will reportedly acknowledge that some subjects may have to be suspended for two terms to enable catch-up in English and maths, with some pupils having to drop some GCSEs altogether, and “adaptations” to exams. Year 7 pupils may also have to be re-taught English and maths from the final-year primary syllabus.

The government is also expected to set out “robust” measures to engage with families whose children had been persistently absent before the pandemic, or who have not engaged with school regularly during the pandemic.

As expected, the guidance will also set out contingency plans for schools to be put on local lockdown, with requirements that any return to remote teaching be “of a high quality”.

Ofsted inspections suspended into autumn

Routine Ofsted inspections were suspended in March, and the DfE confirmed today they would continue to be suspended until at least the end of July.

According to HuffPost, the draft guidance states inspections will also remain suspended during the autumn term, with inspectors visiting a sample of schools to “discuss how they are resuming classroom teaching”.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Pupils have been returning to school since June 1 – we’ve already given primary schools the flexibility to invite more children back if they have the capacity, and 1.5 million children were in school at the end of last week.

“We’ve said we want to see all children back at school in September – returning to full primary and secondary class sizes in a safe way.

“We continue to engage with school leaders, teaching unions and the wider sector about our plans and will publish full details later this week.”

Keep well, keep strong and keep the faith.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

24th June 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been central to our prayer this month.  Many of us grew up surrounded by this image in our homes, but for our children now it may require some explanation.  This image of Jesus points to the personal, deep love that God has for each one of us.  It is the God of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13.  It is the compassion and longing of the Father waiting for his Prodigal Son to return.  It is the tenderness and the selflessness with which Jesus responded to all those who encountered him.

At a time when our lives have been abruptly interrupted by a pandemic with immeasurable impact, when we struggle against intolerable racism, when we learn of tragic acts of terrorism, God’s sincere love for each one of us is a much needed message of hope and of light.  Our God is not untouched by the events of our lives.  He is a God who knows us intimately and loves us anyway.  Despite the trials we face, our faith is one of hope and of resurrection and of perfect love, encapsulated in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,

I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.

I offer you this poor heart of mine.

Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.

Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.

Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;

give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,

your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.

Within your heart I place my every care.

In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,

Heart of Jesus, help me.

Amen.

We are, as ever, incredibly grateful to you for all you do within your communities to remind children and young people that they are precious and loved.

Please find attached our Witness to the Word bulletin for this week, as well as a number of accompanying documents:

  • Our online training offering for the next few weeks.  (We have been asked to repeat some courses that have already taken place and will send additional dates as soon as possible)
  • A research paper on BAME Teacher Progression in England

The next Headteacher Discussion Forum is scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd July via Zoom at 2pm. Invitation and joining link will be sent to all headteachers prior to the meeting.  We will once again be utilising the use of break out rooms, to enable primary and secondary colleagues to discuss phase specific issues.  Please do join us if you can, we look forward to welcoming you.

With every good wish

Amanda

Amanda Crowley | Deputy Director

17th June 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

 

This week we remember all the victims of the Grenfell tragedy three years ago and our appreciation and sincere gratitude goes out to all our schools that were personally and deeply affected. They continue to reshape and rebuild the lives of those who suffered and do so with dignity and care. Included today in the bulletin is the reflections of one school affected. This week has seen the reopening of Churches for individual prayer and  as Cardinal Nichols explains https://rcdow.org.uk/cardinal/news/cardinal-opening-churches-for-individual-prayer-is-big-step-forward-for-society/

Tomorrow we have the Headteachers Zoom meeting at 2pm. We look forward to welcoming you.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources for schools: Click Here

The Celebration of Mass for Schools

We are delighted that His Eminence, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will celebrate Mass for our school communities on 18th June at 11.30am.  Please do try to join the celebration online if possible.  If you are unable to live stream at this time it will be possible to download the Mass and share in the celebration later.  Please publicise this event within your whole community, including those who are unable to attend school at this time.  The Mass will be streamed via the following link https://www.churchservices.tv/westminster or www.westminstercathedral.org.uk

Please find attached a hymn sheet for the School Mass for Thursday which will enable your community to fully participate.

Weekly Rosary

Please join us each week as we pray a decade of the Rosary together.  This Friday, June 19th, we recite the Fifth Luminous Mystery:  The Institution of the Eucharist

You can join via YouTube here or alternatively download the powerpoint here

Weekly Beatitude Assembly

Please click here for a Primary and a Secondary Powerpoint resource that can be used with students

Westminster Cathedral Resource

Please click here for an interactive Animal Trail resource for Primary Schools to use when they visit Westminster Cathedral with children.

CAFOD National Assembly 18th June

CAFOD are delivering an online assembly to share how the lives of others around the world are being impacted by Coronavirus.  This will take place on Thursday 18 June at 10am, on CAFOD’s YouTube page. (This will be available beforehand in case teachers want to check the content beforehand, and of course, you will be able to watch it together at a later time of your choosing.)

Caritas Westminster during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Westminster has been supporting parishes and schools to start new projects or adapt existing ones to meet the increased demand for social outreach in the community.   New projects have included pop up food banks, delivering food to those stuck at home and making phone calls and visits to those who may be suffering from loneliness. Support from Caritas Westminster has included sourcing food using well established connections in food distribution charities, advising on risk assessments amid new social distancing rules, recruiting and training more volunteers and accessing funding through internal or external grants.  A key initiative during this time has been our emergency food voucher scheme, distributed to those in need by parishes, several of whom have worked in conjunction with their local schools . [See news for more information]

Free School meals over the Summer

‘Whilst we welcomes the Government’s U-turn on Free School Meals over the summer, we encourage them to recognise that there is more needed to prevent child poverty in this country, which is reaching record levels.'

In light of the government's announcement to extend free school meals over the summer holidays, please read Caritas Westminster's response by clicking here bit.ly/37xzhmU

Caritas Westminster Emergency Voucher Scheme

Children eligible for free school meals in term time in England will get a six-week voucher, Downing Street said.

Two months ago Caritas Westminster launched its own Emergency Voucher Scheme, which is currently supporting 72 parishes and schools across the Diocese of Westminster and the Archdiocese of Southwark.

To read more the scheme and the impact it has had: bit.ly/2MCCEze

How can Caritas Westminster Help you?

Thanks to those who have already responded to our survey, out of the initial responses from 25 schools, 84% are seeing families struggling with food poverty and 96% saying they have families who are suffering from digital exclusion.  This information is crucial to help us identify where the need is and how we can better help your school and families.    If you haven’t responded yet, please complete our survey here and share your experiences with us.

Please contact us directly at caritaswestminster@rcdow.org.uk if you have an immediate and/or specific need.

Poverty & Digital Exclusion: Please complete our survey here and share your experiences with us, so we can identify where the need is and how we can better help your school and families.   Please contact us directly at caritaswestminster@rcdow.org.uk if you have an immediate and/or specific need.

Keep safe and keep the Faith.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

10th June 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Pope Francis last week spoke to students, parents and teachers.  His message was a call to solidarity and community, especially in difficult times.  “Crises, if they are not well accompanied, are dangerous, because one can become disoriented. And the advice of the wise is ‘never go into crisis alone, go in company’”.  The joy of being part of a Catholic community, a diocesan family, is that we know we are not alone.  No one can remove the challenges or burdens we individually face, but through sharing and supporting each other, we can be reassured and inspired.  In recent months it has been wonderful to see so many online forums and meetings flourishing as platforms to share and work collaboratively.  It has been a privilege to join so many of our Headteachers in what has become a regular online discussion forum.  This increased participation and engagement is a sign of hope, that when faced with our deepest challenges we seek community and each other in faith.

Our next Headteacher Discussion Forum will take place on 18th June at 2pm.  All Headteachers are welcome to attend and an online Zoom invitation will be emailed directly.

Another wonderful opportunity for us to join together will be when Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates a Mass in the Cathedral for our school communities.  This Mass will be celebrated on 18th June at 11.30am and streamed live on https://www.churchservices.tv/westminster.  Please do try to join the celebration online if possible.  If you are unable to live stream at this time it will be possible to download the Mass and share in the celebration later.  Please publicise this event within your whole community, including those who are unable to attend school at this time.

Pope Francis concluded his message by stating that “to educate is to seek the meaning of things”.  At a time when many in our communities are disorientated and fragile, it is our schools and those who serve within them, who are helping to make sense and give meaning to a changed world, within a secure context of faith.  We are incredibly grateful to you for all you do within your communities to remind families that they are not alone and to remind our young people that they are precious and loved.

Please find attached the following documents:

  1. Witness to the Word Bulletin
  2. Schools and COVID-19: guidance for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and their employers in school settings
  3. Powering the Green Energy Mission in the Diocese of Westminster

With every good wish

Amanda Crowley

Amanda Crowley | Deputy Director

3rd June 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Thank you for everything you and your team have done to readmit more pupils to your school. The steps we need to take are not easy and you have our full support in managing it the best way you see fit. Thank you for the time you had to take to complete your risk assessments.  This final half term of our extraordinary school year will be an opportunity for discernment and review. The Education Service is reshaping its weekly communication to you.  No longer will there be a monthly bulletin. We will continue with a weekly one. Please make sure you regularly look out for it.  We are in the process of interviewing key people we feel could be of interest to your community and will present weekly a “talking head” as part of our ongoing support for you. We have arranged to have our next Zoom Headteachers Forum on Thursday 4th June at 2pm to discuss how you are coping and what support you may require. Details have already been sent to Heads.

Cardinal Nichols has agreed to live stream a Mass for all pupils and staff week beginning 15th June. More details published next week in order for your community to prepare.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources for schools: Click Here

Weekly Rosary – please find below the link to our YouTube channel – Diocese of Westminster Education Service.

https://youtu.be/A_KNTufaL04

Cardinal +Vincent Nichols on the Reopening of Churches

In his homily for Pentecost Sunday, Cardinal Vincent questions why churches are not being allowed to reopen. Comparing the faithful to the disciples who waited in the Upper Room for the coming of the Holy Spirit, he says: 'We, too, are waiting to open these doors, the doors of our churches.'

The government's decision to allow 'some indoor sales premises' to open on 1st June and most shops to open on 15th June, he says 'questions directly the reasons why our churches remain closed.'

Since the start of the lockdown, the role of faith in our society has been made clearer, he says: 'as a motivation for the selfless care of the sick and dying; as providing crucial comfort in bereavement; as a source of immense and effective provision for those in sharp and pressing need; as underpinning a vision of the dignity of every person, a dignity that has to be at the heart of the rebuilding of our society.'

He adds that 'the opening of churches, even for individual prayer, helps to nurture this vital contribution to our common good.'

Pope's Message for Thy Kingdom Come 2020

Pope Francis said last Sunday that he prays that Christians will be “more deeply united as witnesses of mercy” in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pope made the comment in a video message May 31, broadcast during an online Pentecost Sunday service hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Pope said: “Let us ask the Spirit for the gift of unity, for only if we live as brothers and sisters can we spread the spirit of fraternity. We cannot ask others to be united if we ourselves take different paths. So let us pray for one another; let us each feel responsible for the other.”

The papal message was shown during a virtual service connected to the Thy Kingdom Come movement, which began in 2016 when Welby and the Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, asked every Church of England parish to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for the evangelization of the world. The following year, Christians in more than 85 countries took part.

RE &  Catholic Life Update

SLACK

Please remember to visit our sharing platform, SLACK.  Please contact Diana Roberts (Primary) dianaroberts@rcdow.org.uk or Claire O’Neill (Secondary) claireoneill@rcdow.org.uk if you require access.  There are a multitude of resources to support you with not only RE, but also prayer, worship and the wider Catholic Life.

Spiritual Resources

Beatitude Resource – please find the powerpoint for each presentation attached.  You can also access on our website too at the link below.

https://education.rcdow.org.uk/pandemic-support-the-beatitudes-resources-new/

15 Prayers during school closures ... and school re-openings

During this uncertain time for schools, Ten Ten Resources has produced and re-produced a series of prayers which you may like to use in school with your pupils as they return to the classroom.

Based on prayers produced by the Catholic Church, the Church of England and from various other sources, the prayers can freely accessed by the following the links below.

https://www.tentenresources.co.uk/primary-subscription/prayers-for-home/15-prayers/

Mental Health

Each week we will focus on one aspect of mental health and provide signposting to useful resources.  This week our theme is Building Resilience.  Please found what we hope to be useful links below:

Mentally Healthy Schools:

  • Tools for Managing Emotions Click Here (A set of  tools designed to help children understand and manage their emotions and feelings, whilst helping them to stay calm and in control within the classroom.)
  • Resilience Ladder Click Here (A resource to teach children about resilience and the steps they may need to take to achieve their goals.)
  • Resilience Game Click Here (An easy to use board game exploring some common scenarios that children may face in their daily lives either at home or at school, and the resilience skills they may need for dealing with them.)

Premier League Primary Stars:

  • Home Learning – Resilience.  Click Here (A series of activities about changing attitudes from "I can't" to "I can".  These resources, which can be used at home or in school, provide children with opportunities to learn strategies to bounce back and about positive thinking and resilience through the lens of football.)

Sesame Street:

  • Building Resilience - Click Here (A range of video and printable resources from the US children’s TV Series Sesame Street)

Positive Psychology:

  • Resilience Resources and Games for Primary and Secondary Schools Click Here

NHS:

Place2Be

Young Minds:

  • Building Resilience Resources for Schools Click Here
  • 10 ways for parents to help their children cope with change Click Here (10 simple tips for parents and carers to help their children cope with change.)

Mind Ed for Families:

  • Building confidence and resilience Click Here (Advice for parents and carers on helping children deal with change and difficult situations.)

Early Education:

  • Helping Children cope with change Click Here (An article with useful advice for parents and carers of young children on how to support them as they grow.)

Cardinal +Vincent Nichols – Pentecost Prayer

This week we remember: the Holy Spirit is the fire that keeps us going; the water of the immensity of God's life within us; the dove of his peace after disaster; the wisdom that shows us right from wrong; the creative spirit who makes a work of art of our lives, the wind that will urge us on to our heavenly home, if we will let him do so!

Holy Spirit of God:
Thou of all consolers best
Thou the soul’s delightful guest
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Give us comfort when we die
Give us life with thee on high
Give us joy that never ends.

Amen

Keep safe. Keep the faith.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

20th May 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Today has been designated “Thank a Teacher Day” and behalf of all the Education Service may I extend to you our deep appreciation and sincere thanks for all you do. The same thanks and appreciation is also given to all your support staff and to every adult who enhances and supports the learning and faith development of those we serve. Every school leader today is focused on best to welcome back to our open schools more pupils safely and securely. We are conscious this is not easy. Know that you have our full support in taking the right steps to ensure this is achieved. Included with today’s bulletin is advice and guidance we hope will help you and your governing body. We have arranged to have our next Zoom Headteachers Forum on Thursday 4th June at 2pm to discuss how you are coping and what support you may require.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources here https://education.rcdow.org.uk/homepage/communications-from-the-director/

The Beatitude Resources

Each fortnight, we are concentrating on a beatitude which links to the liturgical year. In preparation for Laudato Si week, our theme for the last fortnight has been ‘Blessed are the Gentle’. This week, in line with Pope Francis’ call to people of all nations to pray on 14th May, it is ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’. See resources

  • ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ PowerPoint for Primary
  • ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ PowerPoint for Secondary

https://education.rcdow.org.uk/pandemic-support-the-beatitudes-resources-new/

The Education Service welcomes you and your school community to join us every Friday at 10.30am to recite a decade of the Rosary. Please find attached the link for this week’s Rosary upload to our You Tube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duHPMVok1po

Guidance on the return of more pupils to school – June 1st in conjunction with the CES.

Health & Safety Requirements

The Department for Education has been clear that the 1 June re-opening date is aspirational. The guidance issued by the Department is non-statutory and when considering re-opening, governing bodies and the boards of academy trust companies must be cognisant of their legal responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff and pupils. This duty is to eliminate risk where possible. However, where it is not possible to eliminate a particular risk, the duty is to take such action as is reasonably practicable to mitigate that risk.

It is not going to be possible for any governing body or board to state that there is no risk involved in re-opening, but what governing bodies and boards must do is ensure that a thorough risk assessment is conducted by school leaders in order to determine what the risks might be and how they might reasonably be mitigated.

It is for governing bodies and boards to interrogate those risk assessments and to provide support to school leaders in making decisions about whether or not, and in what format, schools might be re-opened. The scientific advice states, “settings are best placed to understand the risks in their individual circumstances, so we are asking every setting to carry out a risk assessment before opening. The assessment should directly address the risks associated with coronavirus, so that sensible measures can be put in place to control those risks for children and staff”. It will not be possible to have a one-size-fits-all approach to re-opening and each school will face different challenges.

The risks identified and the ways of mitigating those risks will differ from school to school and area to area and it is important that all governing bodies and boards take appropriate decisions based on what is reasonably practicable in their own circumstances. At the current time, schools are not being legally compelled to re-open. This could happen at some point in the future, but at the moment the decision about whether or not to re-open, and which pupils to re-open to, is a decision for each governing body or board.

Content of risk assessments

We would suggest that when considering re-opening schools should be encouraged to start from the position that they intend to open for the year groups identified in the guidance. Schools should then work through the risks from that starting position. If at the end of that process governing bodies, boards and school leaders do not think that their schools can be safely opened, or if they feel that they can only re-open provided that certain reasonable precautions are put in place (for example by opening for some of the identified year groups but not others), then they are able to take that decision and should be supported in doing so.

Some key questions that schools might ask during the risk assessment process are:

  1. Who might be at risk? Will some individuals be exposed to more risk than others?
  2. Will any planned school activity increase the risks to staff and pupils?
  3. Can the school decide not to undertake a certain activity as a way of eliminating a specific risk?
  4. If it isn’t possible to eliminate the risk by not undertaking the activity, are there any reasonably practicable steps that could be taken in order to mitigate that risk?

Schools should record the answers to these questions as part of any risk assessment. Schools should communicate with staff, parents and, if appropriate, pupils about how risks will be mitigated and what part they can play in ensuring that the school environment is as safe as possible. It is important for schools to make sure that everybody is taken on the journey and that staff, pupils and parents know what part they can play in keeping the school community as safe as possible.

Schools may need to redraft or amend certain policies (for example the health & safety policy and/or the behaviour policy), training may need to be provided on the implementation of the new policies, and there will then need to be an ongoing process of monitoring, supervision and review. It may not be possible to get everything right on day one. School leaders will need to reflect on the measures that they put in place and adapt them as necessary. Feedback from staff, parents and pupils may help with this process. The key will be to make sure that all decisions are fully documented and include an explanation of how and why particular decisions were reached.

Other sources of guidance

In addition to the guidance linked above, you might want to suggest that school leaders, governing bodies and boards also consider the following:

  1. The guidance from Public Health England www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england
  2. Any guidance being issued by local authorities
  3. Decisions being taken by neighbouring schools
  4. Any advice from liability insurers who may be able to provide schools with a risk assessment template

We would also suggest looking at the advice provided by the Health & Safety Executive on their website:

www.hse.gov.uk

We are also aware that Ellis Whittham is providing free webinars, template documents and advice through its Coronavirus Hub.

https://elliswhittam.com/covid-19/register/

Various law firms are also providing a wealth of free to access advice for schools and academies on their websites:

https://www.brownejacobson.com/international/international-resources/coronavirus/education-updates

https://wslaw.co.uk/covid-19

Advice provided through any of the above sources will be generic but may provide some useful starting points. Governing bodies and boards should be encouraged to take specific advice if there are particular issues that they are unsure about.

The guidance issued by the Department for Education which you can find by following these links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures?utm_source=ff2d8d9d-2d96-444e-b822-0f33cb999bb9&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures?utm_source=14eca40b-5c2d-41f1-9f44-3604decd9d96&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020

The links above also include a link to the Government’s planning guide for primary schools.

You may also wish to look at the overview of the scientific advice, which confirms that what schools are being asked to do at the moment is to plan for re-opening on 1 June. A final decision regarding whether or not schools should actually open will be taken on 28 May.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overview-of-scientific-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Laudato Si’ Week – 16th to 24th May  

In view of the 5th anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical Laudato si', Pope Francis recorded a video message. In it, he addresses Catholic communities around the world. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?" Pope Francis asks in the video message. “Motivated by this question”, he says, “I would like to invite you to participate in Laudato Si' Week from 16-24 May 2020. It is a global campaign on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the encyclical letter Laudato si': On the care of our common home.”

The Pope also renews his urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis: “The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue”, he says. “Let's take care of creation, a gift of our good Creator God. Let's celebrate Laudato Si' Week together.”

Getting involved

Laudato Si’ Week is sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and is meant to encourage Catholic communities to take bolder actions for creation during the week-long initiative. For all of you interested in join Pope Francis and  want to take the next step in your Laudato si’ journey, you can find suggestions available on the Laudato si’ Week website.

As part of the week communities are being invited to click on the useful toolkit to plan and implement their actions and to use the template promotional materials to share the word about activities with their members.

Support for Mental Health

Included with this bulletin is the following:

This week is mental health awareness week and the theme for 2020 is KINDNESS.

Explore the resources below to support yours schools and families during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond:

  • Seven Days of Kindness for Mentally Healthy Schools, to support teachers and parents during Mental Health Awareness WeekClick Here
  • What are the benefits of being kind? – Explore the Mental Health Foundationresource to see how being kind is good for your mental health and of others. Click Here
  • Check out the resources atCORAM for teacher, parent and Carers for Being Kind during Mental Health Awareness Week Click Here
  • Advice and tips on young people being kind to themselves at Young MindsClick Here

Keep safe. Keep well and keep the faith.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

13th May 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. If the government would like a lesson on how to communicate a clear unambiguous message then look no further. But for us it is not just a message. It is a call to be witnesses to the teachings of Christ. We are very conscious that your resilience right now is under strain. Therefore a key focus of our bulletin this week is resilience. We hope you find the resources useful. On Monday evening we learned the detail of the DfE’s proposals to return more pupils back to school. We all want students to return to school, but it has to be done properly and the clarity and security we need for a phased return needs more time and more discussion. At the Diocesan Headteachers Forum on Tuesday recommendations were made that have been passed on already to the DfE for consideration. We recognise the considerable strain and concern the announcement has produced and together we will find a way through all of this. Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources here https://education.rcdow.org.uk/homepage/communications-from-the-director/

The Beatitude Resources

Each fortnight, we are concentrating on a beatitude which links to the liturgical year. In preparation for Laudato Si week, our theme for the last fortnight has been ‘Blessed are the Gentle’. This week, in line with Pope Francis’ call to people of all nations to pray on 14th May, it is ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’. See resources

  • ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ PowerPoint for Primary
  • ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ PowerPoint for Secondary

https://education.rcdow.org.uk/pandemic-support-the-beatitudes-resources-new/

The Education Service welcomes you and your school community to join us every Friday at 10.30am to recite a decade of the Rosary. Please find attached the link for this week’s Rosary upload to our You Tube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fur6IQI5GTk

Our Witness to Faith

In trying to discern spiritually what we having to endure at the moment it can feel overwhelming at times. Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ, Director of the Religious Life Institute at the Margaret Beaufort Institute in Cambridge, has powerfully summed it up very well. She said, “All intellectual attempts to reconcile God and suffering flounder when we deal with events like the Covid-19 pandemic. No rational argument can provide a satisfactory answer to the question of why it has come upon us. The insights of scripture point to God as unknowable but also at work in us through the power of the Spirit, giving the power for our inner self to grow strong. Christ continues to be crucified in and by the world. If there is an approach, rather than an answer, to the problem of the plague, Pope Francis tells us that it is found through conversion based on reconnection with our real surroundings, coherence in our beliefs and genuine love of one another. St Ignatius’s Contemplation for Attaining Love, he points out, is based on remembering. Suffering can become a route to union when we re-member, reconnecting and reuniting ourselves in love with Jesus, the crucified and Risen Saviour, and with our crucified brothers and sisters.”

It falls on all of us to ask how the extreme situation that we are living through can change us, individually and collectively, says Mauricio López Oropeza, Executive Secretary of REPAM https://redamazonica.org/en/ Through this pandemic we are invited to a conversion in which we learn to embrace our fragility, interconnection and mystery, ‘just as in these Easter days the meaning of Jesus’s death and passion is a passage to the promised new life of the resurrection. Writing recently in Thinking Faith he stated the following:

  1. Awareness of our own fragility and finiteness as a starting point, so that we create and recreate the new from our limited being. Many cultures and traditions can show us how to turn our backs on societies centered on consumption and unlimited accumulation, on market economies that swallow up human beings, and on a vision of an unlimited planet that we must destroy. We must end the ‘throw-away culture’ in order to weave a culture of sobriety and solidarity, which will arise from the awareness of our own fragility.
  2. Awareness of our undeniable interconnection. Never before has society realised that we are absolutely intertwined. A tiny virus has shaken us from the illusion that each one of us is enough for him- or herself, or that I can remain isolated without taking responsibility for the consequences of my acts (or omissions) with respect to the lives of others. Nature has always cried at us, trying to communicate this interrelationship and the fragile balance in ecosystems. The potential new post-Covid-19 society will have to be sustained by existential ties that allow us to rethink all relationships, institutions and structures, otherwise we will again be at the mercy of the next pandemic, even more fragile in our capacity for resilience.
  3. Awareness of mystery as the energy that sustains everything. No one can save him- or herself, and in the darkness of these days the most essential search of many is for a profound encounter. Beyond the particular religions, embracing all of what is positive and valuable in each one of them, we are called to create new conditions for a planetary spirituality rooted in communion, co-responsibility, otherness and the capacity of contemplation of God´s presence in all.

Laudato Si’ Week – 16th to 24th May  

Laudato Si’ Week honours the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home. The theme of the week is “everything is connected.” This week launches a year-long journey of transformation, as we grow through the crisis of the current moment by praying, reflecting, and preparing together for a better world to come tomorrow.

Following Pope Francis’ invitation to join Laudato Si’ Week, Catholics everywhere will reflect and prepare for action 16-24 May.  We’ll put our preparation into action during the Season of Creation this September, when Pope Francis has invited Catholics to pray and act for our common home. See  https://laudatosiweek.org/

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-05/covid-19-faithful-respond-to-popes-invitation-to-pray-may-14.html

For other support on Laudato Si, including an inspirational article written by the Good Shepherd Primary School in Hammersmith, see our Teaching and Learning Week 8 Resources:

Support for Mental Health – Building Resilience 

Included with this bulletin is the following:

Young Minds is a charity aimed at supporting the mental health of young people within the UK.  Its mission is to make sure all young people get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s challenges.

Building Pupil Resilience in Schools Click Here (Young Minds approach to building pupil resilience within school.)

The Resilient Classroom - Click Here  (A Resource Pack for Tutor Groups and Pastoral School Staff)

What is academic resilience?  Click Here (A factsheet on academic resilience)

Resilience Framework - Click Here (A framework summarising evidence-based practices that promote resilience. It was developed by Prof. Angie Hart and Dr. Derek Blincow, with help from Helen Thomas and a group of parents and practitioners.)

Which pupils are we talking about? Click Here (A resource to support schools to have a greater positive impact for the most disadvantaged pupils.)

Introducing Academic Resilience PowerPoint Click Here  (A presentation introducing Academic Resilience, why it matters and some things schools can try to ensure so that students achieve good educational outcomes despite adversity.)

Resilience Audit Process Tool Click Here (This tool  demonstrates how to use an audit approach to develop  within a school. The Audit tool brings together ideas about what could be improved or introduced within a school to promote academic resilience.)

Pyramid of Need Click Here (A tool to help identify levels of risk and needs of children and young people by using pupil data.)

Fostering Academic Resilience: A brief review of evidence. Click Here (A paper by Professor Angie Hart and Ms Steph Green, University of Brighton and Boingboing Social Enterprise reviewing the evidence and impact of focusing on a whole school resilience approach.)

Academic Resilience for children and young people with learning difficulties Click Here (These slides are developed to be used with children and young people with learning difficulties to help build their resilience.)

Resilience in children, the family and the community Click Here (A resource listing the protective factors for children in themselves, their family and the community.)

Ideas for Resilience Assembly stories Click Here (A document with suggestions for some stories that can be used in school assemblies to promote resilience.)

School Resilience Survey Guide Click Here (This survey guide will help you gather ideas from pupils, parents, staff and others in the school community and put plans in place to boost Academic Resilience.)

Senior Leadership Team Audit Tool Click Here ( A tool for Senior Leadership Teams to carry out an audit of their school and find ways to improve resilience throughout the whole school.)

School Staff Resilience Survey Guide Click Here (A survey guide to  help Senior Leadership Teams to gather information about how their staff are developing their own resilience.)

Staff Audit Tool Click Here (A tool for all school staff to carry out an audit of their school and find ways to improve resilience throughout the whole school.)

How do I improve results through academic resilience? Click Here (A resource showing how you can improve results through Academic Resilience.)

There are more resources in the Bulletin along with important updates on VASCA allocations to schools.

In the weeks ahead we will be listening carefully to your concerns and acting on your behalf to ensure the safety and well-being of our community is paramount. Thank you for all you are doing for the pupils we serve.

Keep safe. Keep well and keep the faith.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

6th May 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Together we have reached Week 7 of lockdown and our schools continue to provide inspirational and innovative ways to promote teaching and learning through our witness to faith. You continue to inspire and encourage all those in your community to work closer together for the Common Good whilst physically being apart from so many. We all await the news of how the phased return to school will be managed. We will work with you and for you to ensure that decisions to return are led by science and not political expediency. In time of uncertainty we seek clarity and reassurance that our communities will continue to be safe. Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do.

Our Bulletin and Resources

Every week new materials are located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources here https://education.rcdow.org.uk/homepage/communications-from-the-director/

The Beatitude Resources

https://education.rcdow.org.uk/pandemic-support-the-beatitudes-resources-new/

The Education Service welcomes you and your school community to join us every Friday at 10.30am to recite a decade of the Rosary. Please find attached the link for this week’s Rosary upload to our You Tube channel. Even on VE Day we welcome you to attend. Especially if you are at home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okLYzq2yE5g

Our Witness to Faith

The week started with Good Shepherd Sunday and Cardinal Nichols in his sermon said, “the shepherd who never forsakes his flock in time of danger but stays with them even unto death. These are images that readily move us to be closer to Jesus in a sense of our need and our gratitude for his love and care” He spoke movingly that “Deep within the heart of every person is a reservoir of love and compassion. We are made for love, for generosity, for kindness. Jesus is the gateway to that kindness. It is he who encourages and enables this kindness to flow freely, in and out. Then, with him, we receive graciously, give generously, forgive compassionately, care especially for those who are lost.”

Celia Deane-Drummond is Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall, University of Oxford. Writing for Thinking Faith she explains how gratitude for real relationships are so important right now.   She said, “Pope Francis argues in Laudato si’ that technology is a poor substitute for human relationships. He welcomes technology that is at the service of the common good, but not when it replaces social bonds. We are now finding the deep truth in what he says. Doing everything through FaceTime or other virtual tools is dissatisfying and feels odd to most people. We are now in a strange land, in spite of familiarity, where we cannot even properly weep and mourn with others. Even papal Masses and eucharistic communion, the liturgical highlight of the Christian year in the Triduum, and the material incarnate source of Christian life, are virtual. What are the spiritual lessons in this dark night, that the early mystics knew so well? The shadow of the empty tomb lingers.”

In a fascinating and thought provoking article she goes on to say, “Covid-19 is teaching the human race important lessons that it first learnt in the crucible of its early emergence in deep time. Our lives are entangled with each other and with other species and this is the source of both our unique strength but also our vulnerability. We will best honour those who have suffered and died by learning to take our interconnectedness with God, each other, and other creatures much more seriously. Further, even the deepest and darkest suffering is not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace, thus providing an occasion for change and renewal.”

May the Month for Mary 

The month of May is a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family.  The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.

For this reason, the Holy Father seeks to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.  This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities.  The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.

Pope Francis has provided two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that he himself  will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. Both are included in this week’s bulletin.

Support for Mental Health

Included with this bulletin is the following:

Mentally Healthy Schools – 

Emotion Wheel - https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/media/2001/emotion-wheel.pdf (The emotion wheel can be used with children of all ages who are struggling to express their current feelings.)

Emotional  Check-in - https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/media/2003/emotional-check-in.pdf (A written resource supports children and young people to not only express their feelings but identify why they are feeling a particular way.)

Anxiety Thermometer https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/media/2022/anxiety-thermometer.pdf (Using a feelings thermometer is a great tool to help children recognise what feelings they might be experiencing in any given moment.)

Sentence Starters 

https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/media/2005/sentence-starters.pdf  (Sentence starters can be useful prompts for children who are struggling to order their thinking or express the way they feel.)

Keep safe. Keep well and keep the faith.

Thank you for all you are doing for the pupils we serve.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

29th April 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Firstly, thank you for all the communication you have been returning to the Education Service in regard to the help you seek from us in the weeks ahead. Two key issues have arisen. One is how will the return to schools be managed? Second is how can we support students and staff with coping with bereavement? We will endeavour to help you with both. We are working closely with the CES and the DfE to ascertain strategy and clarity in the days and weeks ahead. Hopefully some of the details that follow will be of interest.

As the materials are too big to send they are now located on our website. Please find all our Covid-19 lockdown resources on our website https://education.rcdow.org.uk/homepage/communications-from-the-director/

If you can please join us this Friday and every Friday at 10.30am to recite a decade of the Rosary. In order to ensure this goes smoothly please use the attached PowerPoint for you to use at home or at school. The link to this Friday’s YouTube Video is: https://youtu.be/la--sRTzxx4

In Pope Francis’ inaugural homily as Pope on 19th March 2013 he said the following which has so much resonance for us at this time:

“Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, ‘hoping against hope, believed’ (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.”

Reopening of Schools

In this week’s TES there are some important comments to be aware of from Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, in relation to schools opening in the foreseeable future.

https://www.tes.com/news/open-schools-would-increase-infection-how-much

Support for Mental Health – in particular Bereavement:

Included with this bulletin is the following:

Secondary School Students

Child Bereavement UK - Click Here (Support and information for supporting a bereaved student)

Young Minds - Click Here (Information and advice for young people dealing with grief and loss)

Supporting School Staff for children affected by grief and loss

Catholic Children’s Society - Click Here (Information on the Rainbows Bereavement Programme)

Rainbows Bereavement Click Here (National Rainbows Bereavement Charity)

Child Bereavement UKClick Here (Primary)  Click Here (Secondary) (Information for families and school staff in supporting children and young people experiencing grief and loss.)

Childhood Bereavement Network - Click Here (Information for school staff in supporting children and young people through bereavement.)

Winston’s Wish - Click Here (Information for school staff in supporting children and young people through grief and loss.)

Mentally Healthy Schools - Click Here (Information for school staff in supporting children and young people through bereavement.)

Cruse Bereavement Care - Click Here (Support for schools on a wide range of bereavement issues)

Glasgow City Council/NHS - Click Here (A Whole School Approach to Supporting Loss and Bereavement)

SecEd - Click Here (Article on bereavement in schools entitled When death happens: Bereavement in schools)

Supporting Parents/Carers for a child affected by grief and loss

Rainbows - Click Here (Information for parents on Rainbows National Programme)

Winston’s Wish - Click Here (Support for parents on helping children dealing with grief and loss)

Sue Ryder - Click Here (Information for parents on helping their child through grief and loss.)

Together for short lives - Click Here (Information and support for families dealing with the death of a child.)

Young Minds - Click Here (Information for parents support children and young people with grief and loss)

 

Message from Rainbows Bereavement Support GB

When schools reopen, there will be a real and increased need for Rainbows. They will offer quality training in bereavement, grief and loss to staff enabling school staff to support their pupils in a small groups situation. As the Rainbows Resource Centre is closed they made some resources, including Silver Linings and When Somebody Dies, available to download for free https://rainbowsgb.org/corona-virus-how-rainbows-can-help/

And provided a link to a terrific book for children explaining Coronavirus, also available to download for free https://rainbowsgb.org/2020/04/coronavirus-a-free-book-for-children/

The Tablet recently published an article highlighting the experience of one of our own Headteachers -  Karen Cunningham, St John XIII Catholic Primary School, Hammersmith and Fulham. Please see attached on P4.

Finally, many of you will be aware that tomorrow Mary Ryan retires after 12 years of service to the Diocese. On behalf of all the Education Service I wish to pay tribute to her hard work, dedication and commitment to support our schools. Mary did a wonderful job in supporting Heads and Governors and will be sorely missed. We wish her a long and rewarding retirement and we will be inviting her back once the lockdown is over to publically celebrate her years of legal advice and guidance to all our community. I am very grateful to her for all she has done. We wish her every happiness and fulfilment in the years ahead.

Keep safe. Keep well and keep the faith.

With best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

15th April 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

On behalf of all the Education Service wishing you every blessing and good wishes for the Eastertide. In spite of all you are trying to cope with right now take strength and comfort in the Risen Lord.

His Eminence Cardinal Nichols put it so vividly in his Easter message, “Here on this Easter Day, a new horizon opens for us and we try and live by that horizon. We try and live these moments, difficult, joyful, however they may be, against the horizon of an eternal life, which is the Risen Lord’s gift to us. So we rejoice this day. We give each other such warm Easter greetings, even at a distance, and renew in ourselves our faith in the Living Christ. Alleluia. He is risen. Give thanks to God.”

Our Witness to the Word Bulletin this week has many new resources and links for your school community. We hope you will find them useful.

As you are aware the Education Service welcomes you to join with us every Friday at 10.30am to recite a decade of the Rosary. In order to ensure this goes smoothly this Friday please use the attached link to a YouTube video for you to use at home or at school.  https://youtu.be/nuYFEsdmvvU We will be joining you in prayer at the same time. Fr Peter Gallagher SJ has written a very enlightening piece you may find interesting too  https://www.jesuit.org.uk/blog/i-am-you-still

Recruitment

We have had questions concerning the recruitment process and whether it can continue in the current circumstances, and if it can, how it should best be managed.  In particular, we have been asked what is going to happen in relation to notice provisions which require that notice needs to be provided by April 30th for head teachers and May 31st for teaching staff.

The current advice from the Department is that schools are responsible for managing their workforce and will need to continue to assess their staffing needs and recruitment requirements. When conducting recruitment activity, schools should have regard to the government’s guidance on social distancing which means that face to face interviews will not be possible.  Interviews will need to be held virtually or will need to be delayed as appropriate.  The Department has agreed to look into the question of notice periods and come back to us with appropriate guidance.

It is worth noting, that it is possible for employers to accept less notice than is provided in an employee’s contract of employment but we appreciate that in schools this could cause problems in that it may make it difficult for schools to recruit to fill positions if a consistent approach is not adopted across the board.  We will provide further guidance on this issue as soon as it is available.

The LGA has published some useful guidance on employment issues and you may wish to refer to that for further guidance on employment related issues: https://www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-employment-law-faqs

Governance

You will have seen the guidance issued by the Department in relation to governance.  Governors should not be meeting in person and should be conducting any business that is urgent using virtual meetings.  It is important to ensure that any communications with governors, whether by way of virtual meetings or email communication, are secure and we would advise governing bodies to agree a basic protocol setting out how such meetings will be run.  Browne Jacobson has produced some useful FAQs for governing bodies which address some of the main concerns.

https://www.brownejacobson.com/education/training-and-resources/blogs/2020/03/coronavirus-faqs-for-schools-and-academies

Funding Questions

The CES have been asked for guidance about what schools should be doing in relation to paying their contractors.  The guidance on .gov states “Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure.  This will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments”.  This guidance and the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note (PPN 02/20) would suggest that schools should continue to pay those financial commitments that they have budgeted for but arrangements will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis in order to determine what arrangements can be made.  We are aware that there may be some disparity between the Cabinet Office guidance and what is expected of schools and/or the advice that is being provided by local authorities. We have asked the Department for further clarity on this point and await further information. We will keep you informed as further guidance on this becomes available.

You should also note the guidance published yesterday setting out the financial support the DfE is putting in place to support schools during this time. Schools will continue to receive their core funding allocations for the 2020-21 financial year regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Exceptional funding is being provided for specific items judged likely to be necessary to allow schools to provide appropriate support to children continuing to attend schools under the current arrangements. Eligibility criteria to access the funding are set out in the guidance, School Funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) for the period March to July 2020, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020

School Admission Appeal Code Guidance

The DfE has now provided an update to say that in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic a number of organisations have contacted them asking for advice regarding school admission appeals. In particular, how to overcome the challenges posed by social distancing to in person appeal hearings.

In response to these queries the Department is currently drafting urgent temporary regulation measures which will disapply certain elements of the School Admission Appeal Code. The aim of the regulations is to give admissions authorities as much flexibility as possible to manage appeals in a way that best suits their local circumstance. It is anticipated that the regulatory changes will come into force on the 24 April 2020.

Specifically, the new regulations, which will be in force until 31 January 2021, will:

  • Disapply the requirement that appeal panels must be held in person and instead give flexibility for the panel hearing to take place either in person, by telephone, video conference or through paper-based appeals where all parties can make representations in writing;
  • Relax the rules with regards to what happens if one of the three panel members withdraws (temporarily or permanently) to make it permissible for the panel to continue with and conclude the panel as a panel of two; and
  • Amend the deadlines relating to appeals for the time that the new regulations are in force.

It has, however, been highlighted by the Department that the regulations will not remove any of the clerking duties for admissions appeals. In addition, parents will retain the right to lodge a maladministration complaint if they are unhappy with the way their appeal has been administered.

The regulations are currently pending Parliamentary approval. The CES will provide a further update once the regulations and guidance are available.

In advance of Primary National Offer Day we hope that this information about the forthcoming regulations will assist you in providing guidance to your schools about planning for upcoming appeals.

The full announcement with additional information on the proposals is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/admission-appeals-for-school-places/coronavirus-covid-19-school-admission-appeals

Legal Advice Updates

Winckworth Sherwood have offered advice to schools. See the link below:

Winckworth Sherwood Business Continuity Statement in response to COVID-19

BrowneJacobsonn has now produced a free toolkit for governing bodies and academy trusts regarding what to do re employment matters during the lockdown. This covers many frequently asked questions including furloughing of staff, what do regarding wraparound and nursery staff, temporary staff, recruitment and dealing with unions.

https://www.brownejacobson.com/education/training-and-resources/legal-updates/2020/04/coronavirus-employer-toolkit-for-schools-and-academies

Wishing you all good health.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

8th April 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Please find attached materials that have been produced by Elaine Arundell, of the Education Service, for our Praying of the Rosary and the Dowry of Mary publications.

I have also attached some helpful advice on child protection policies and Adult Mental Health.

The Education Service wishes to join all schools this Friday who remain open in reciting a decade of the Rosary at 10.30am.  This is the access code that attendees will need in order to see the live event:

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NjA0MDcwNjctMTNkZi00MjNkLTkyZTUtNDVmZDZhOGNiMjNk%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22f23aff7a-0585-4169-9c55-a7804b72a88d%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2223985bdb-ffd5-455d-86c2-c3c109af4e4c%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

We hope as many of you as possible can join us at school or home.

On behalf of all the Education Service we wish you a happy and blessed Easter.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

9th April 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Following the publication yesterday of Witness to the Word I have the pleasure of updating you in regard to some of the content.

In these uncertain times the mental health of our community is of paramount importance.   Within the Education Department we aim to support our school communities by signposting support to aid the well-being of colleagues within schools and the children and families that they serve. In the short term this will be through links to resources via the weekly bulletin.  To aid the long term support for schools in addressing well-being and positive mental health we are signposting resources that provide training for staff.

 

The PowerPoint presentation ‘Adult Mental Health First Aid’ is aimed at highlighting the training programme devised by MHFA England.  It is not in itself a training tool on mental health, but rather sets out the content of the two-day training course that staff, who wish to become Mental Health First Aiders, will cover. This course can be accessed through https://mhfaengland.org/individuals/adult/ or via the Catholic Children’s Society https://www.cathchild.org.uk/mental-health-first-aid/

Schools can also seek to become Mentally Healthy Schools through initiatives such as https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/ I am very grateful to my colleague Patrick Murphy who is doing the research for the Education Service on this.

Finally Leo Duggan, Head of St Lawrence’s Catholic Primary School, has reminded me to publish the school address – St Lawrence Catholic Primary School, Victoria Road, Feltham TW13 4AF.

On behalf of all the Education Service we wish you a happy and blessed Easter and joy in the risen Christ.

 

Dear Lord,

May we who are merely inconvenienced,

Remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors,

Remember those who are vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home,

Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close,

Remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips,

Remember those that have no places to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market,

Remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for quarantine at home,

Remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,

Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.

Amen.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education  

1st April 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Be assured of our prayers and support. For you and all your school community. Keep strong. Keep well. Keep the faith.

Today I have attached for you more resources and links that the Education Service hopes will be of interest. This commitment to you will continue every Wednesday for the foreseeable future.

As a community of schools we are committed to work with one another for the Common Good. I am very conscious that Heads are seeing a significant rise in stress related incidents and concern over the well-being of staff and pupils. In our bulletin today we have provided for you some links that may help you through the weeks ahead.

The Education Service is concerned that there is inconsistency in the provision for FSM pupils and if you have any concerns over the quality of food your pupils are receiving out with the voucher programme please let me know. We need to ensure our most vulnerable are supported at this time.

Many of you will have heard what was said by Pope Francis in his message to the City and to the World earlier this week. We can take great solace from these words.

“The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours

when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by

his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of

isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves

us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the

grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled” – Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi, 27th March 2020.

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-03/urbi-et-orbi-pope-coronavirus-prayer-blessing.html

Full text of the Holy Father’s speech.

Thank you for all you are doing for your school community and for Catholic education. Please keep us informed of the status of your school. If you are closed or open; closed for Easter

holidays only; part of a cluster arrangement; or taking in pupils from elsewhere. Here is a link to let us know your current situation.

http://w.pfrms.co/c75yi

Please complete in order for us to feedback to you next week what the situation is across the diocese.

Best wishes from all the Education Service

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

25th March 2020

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

On behalf of all the Education Service may I extend to you our sincere thanks and appreciation for the incredible work you have done in recent days to manage your school community. You have been outstanding and we are very privileged to work with you.

I am very conscious how difficult and stressful it is now. You have brilliantly managed the need to provide work for pupils at home. However, it is our understanding that many are finding the management of the well-being of staff a real struggle for a wide range of reasons. Please ensure you look after your own mental and physical health first. If you wish to speak to me or any of the team please feel free to do so. We are here to help you. Enclosed in our bulletin today are links to organisations who offer support with mental health well-being.

Take each day at a time. Seek the graces in each day and cherish the mission Catholic education provides for us all.

Be careful how you react to staff who are understandably nervous and anxious. I would advise managing expectation through kindness and tenderness.

As promised each Wednesday, for the foreseeable future, we will be sending you a weekly bulletin we are calling “Witness to the Word”. This includes a wide range of resources for you that we hope will be of interest.

Your comments are welcome and recommendations for future bulletins too.

If you have links and resources you wish to share with colleagues please let me know. We can incorporate them into future weekly bulletins.

The Department of Education have asked for all the schools in the Diocese to complete a short questionnaire and here is the link. http://w.pfrms.co/7qgpi

Please ensure this is completed as soon as possible as this information is valuable for both the government and the Diocese. It focuses on the current position your school is in terms of numbers etc. We know that pupil attendance at school has significantly fallen this week to very low numbers.

We are conscious that LAs are beginning to cluster school provision. If you have been asked to do this please let me know. We do support Catholic schools working together in local areas to manage this arrangement if you are able to do so.

‘Tonight before falling asleep
think about when we will return to the street.

When we hug again,
when all the shopping together will seem like a party.

Let's think about when the coffees will return to the bar,
the small talk, the photos close to each other.

We think about when it will be all a memory
but normality will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.

We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.

Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.

We will go back to laughing together.

Strength and courage.’

Pope Francis

Thank you for everything you are doing for the pupils and staff at your wonderful school. Keep well. Keep strong. Keep the faith. Keep in touch.

Best wishes

JP Morrison  | Director of Education

Cardinal - Letter to Schools