Latest News - Director of Education

Dear Headteachers,

In advance of Ash Wednesday, the Cardinal wishes to address you directly to expresses his thanks and gratitude for your resilient and strong leadership of your communities throughout the Covid Pandemic. It also includes a link to a video that he would like shared with your pupils and staff at your earliest convenience. (The link will be live from Wednesday 23rd February).

The Cardinal has also asked that I include a Pastoral Letter being issued to all Parishes to be read at Mass this coming weekend (26/27 February 2022).

Ash Wednesday Letter to Headteachers

Pastoral Letter - Pre Lent

With every best wish,

Peter Sweeney | Director of Education | Diocese of Westminster

Dear Head Teacher/Chair of Governors,

I am writing to you concerning the publication of the new School Admissions Code which is expected to come into force from 1st September 2021 and contains a number of changes.

The main purpose of these changes is to improve support for the in-year admission of vulnerable children. The changes include introducing more detail on the process for managing in-year admissions; changes to improve the effectiveness of Fair Access Protocols; giving children adopted from state care outside of England equal admissions priority as children who were previously looked after in England; and clarification of which address to use for the admission of service or crown servant children. There are also further minor clarification changes.
Here are the links to the draft Code as laid in parliament, the supporting regulations, the Explanatory Memorandum and the consultation response.

Here are the links to

the draft Code as laid in parliament,

the supporting regulations,

the Explanatory Memorandum and

the consultation response - now closeed.

At this stage, the Code is still in draft, and all admission authorities will be informed in July if all changes made to the Code are to be implemented from September 2021.

As part of the proposed changes in the Code (see attachment), all voluntary aided schools and academies must also prepare to make the necessary change(s) to their determined admission arrangements for the academic years 2021 - 2022 and 2022 - 2023 once confirmation is received in July. These changes will not require consultation, but a governing body/trust meeting will need to be held to ensure that the necessary changes are discussed, and the arrangements updated.

Once the revised School Admissions Code receives parliamentary approval, the CES will provide us with further information and guidance which we will subsequently pass onto you concerning the necessary changes that you will need to make to your existing policy; your revised Admissions Policy will need to be published on your school website before 1st September 2021.

I hope that this information is helpful. As stated previously, we will write to you again with further details and clarification about the required changes as soon as they are finalised.

Diocese of Westminster Education Service

crestPeter Sweeney | Interim Director 

witness to the word

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you remain safe and well. You will find within the link below the latest verion of the 'Witness to the Word' which I would ask that you also share with your school community, drawing specific areas to the attention of key personnel and governors.

It was wonderful to see many of you at our Regional Hub Meetings last week. I am still very conscious that many schools continue to experience high levels of staff absence which add to the many challenges that you still face as you strive to provide the level of care, support and education your children deserve and need at this time. It was so encouraging to hear your determination to find solutions to all these challenges and is a credit and a reflection of the high quality leaders we are both proud and fortunate to have guiding our schools at this time. It now two years since the first lock-down and at that time I do not think many, or any of us could have foreseen all the challenges that were to come. Thank you for the magnificent way you responded to every obstacle and barrier that has fallen in your paths over the past two years, and for the expert and often inspirational way in which you have overcome these.

We are looking forward to meeting with SBMs and Chairs of Governors tomorrow (Thursday 24th March). Links and the agenda for these meeting have been issued earlier this week.

Thank you for all the support and leadership you continue to provide to you school communities,

With every blessing,


Peter Sweeney | Director of Education