Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,
Before the sun sets on this academic year I hope you will take the opportunity to look back and reflect on the many successes and accomplishments your students and staff have achieved in 2014-2015. You continue to do an excellent job in challenging circumstances. Our political landscape has changed and with it an ever-increasing squeeze on resources and the ability to cope with financial restrictions will be a major test for our school and colleges. However, I have every confidence in you in being able to deal with the future’s challenges and constraints. Right now is the time to reflect, discern and celebrate what has demonstrated the joy of the gospel in your schools or college and all those moments that have indicated a witness to faith. Pope Francis in “Misericordiae Vultus” said “Jesus Christ is the face of Father’s mercy.” We need our students and staff to come to know Christ even more in the months ahead. Bishop Sherrington in his letter to you talked about the importance of the Year of Mercy. I reiterate his message and invitation to your school or college to explore God’s Mercy with everyone of your students and staff and together shape new and invigorating opportunities to see the mystery of mercy as a wellspring of joy, serenity and peace.
You will be aware of the recent report by Charles Clarke and Prof Linda Woodhead entitled “A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools” that religious instruction should be the “responsibility of religious communities and families.” In our schools we must pronounce and celebrate that religious instruction is integral to our fabric of Catholic identity and woven into everything we do and say that promotes the values of the Gospels. We see Religious Education and the instruction of our Catholic faith as a core to why we exist and why our families choose our schools over others. Be proud of who we are and what we achieve and continue to instruct our youth in their faith.
The Education Service will be seeking to work with schools to explore ways of how students can discern and discuss the latest encyclical “Laudato Si” which has so much to offer and inspire their understanding of the world we live in.
We will also be reshaping and revamping our CPD programme for Governors and Teachers during the summer. The way the courses are advertised will be changed and there will be far better communication with schools and colleges to ensure the right course is made available to the right individual.
As many of you are aware Sr Mary Jo Martin is stepping down as our Chief Inspector and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for insatiable passion for Catholic education and wonderful character that has enriched all our lives and her professionalism and outstanding contribution in leading our inspection teams. On behalf of us all I extend to her our thanks and best wishes for the future.
In September we welcome Mrs Jane Goring as our new Chief Inspector and Mrs Claire O’Neill as our new Secondary RE Advisor. We will be advertising for a new Primary RE Advisor in September and may you enjoy your well earned summer break. Thank you for all you are doing for Catholic education.
With best wishes
Director of Education
Catholic Education Contribution
Letters have gone out to all schools this week with details of the Catholic Education Contribution for 2015/6. There has been a modest increase this year from £970 to £990 per form of entry. We are very grateful for the overwhelming support from schools in helping with the finances of the Education Service in this way; the contribution represents about a third of the total cost of the Service – the remainder coming from the parishes.
The schools (about 10%) who still pay by cheque / BACS should consider signing a direct debit form. The 90% of schools who do this, save themselves 10% of the contribution each year.
Finally, headteachers are asked to pass the letter stating the amount of the direct debit to their Business Manager as this will be needed for audit purposes. Again, thank you for your support.
Contact: Mike Pittendreigh firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 020 7798 9005
Guidance Documents on Building Consultations and Capital Procurement
Two important guidance documents are attached to this bulletin. The first relates to the use of professional consultants for building projects, and the other relates to Capital Procurement Procedures. Please note these documents carefully.
- diocese of westminster schools guidance for professional consultants march 15
- diocese of westminster schools capital procurement with appendices march 15
Contact Nigel Spears email@example.com 020 7798 9005
Reconstitution of the Governing Body
Schools that have received, but not yet returned, their signed Instrument of Government to the diocese are asked to return it as soon as possible. The Instrument of Government must be signed by the bishop before it can be forwarded to the local authority.
Contact Ian McGibbon or Mary Ryan on 020 7798 9005
- Please remember to check your local authority website to ensure that the correct policy and SIF for 2016-17 have been posted;
- Schools are invited to send their 2017-18 policies and SIFs to the diocese this term in order to facilitate adherence to the new admissions timetable;
- Consultation - Governing bodies that have not consulted on their admission arrangements since 2010 must consult this year, along with those who wish to change any of their criteria. Consultation is for a minimum of 6 weeks between 1st October 2015 - 31st January 2016. When your admission arrangements have been to the diocese they can go out to consultation. In order to consult please send your policy and SIF (not the priest's reference form) to the local authority asking them to send it out for consultation. If your LA does not offer this service please contact Mary Ryan at the diocese for further information. Please note, if you are unsure when you last consulted it is best to do it this year anyway;
- Some local authorities have started asking for policies and SIFs in September. Please note that these documents must not go to the LA until they have been seen and commented on by the diocese;
- The Priest's Reference Form - An inter-diocesan working group is currently looking at a revised form which will be called a Certificate of Catholic Practice. This has not yet been finalised and schools are asked to continue with the current document until the new form is provided. All schools will be notified immediately when the new form is available.
Good News Slot
(Please note: this section of the communique consists of good news which have been sent in from schools around the diocese. It may well be that others have achieved similar awards or success and, if so, we congratulate them too! Please send your news to firstname.lastname@example.org )
Many Congratulations to Gunnersbury Boys School, Hounslow on receiving letter from Nick Gibb MP concerning their English Bacculaureate performance in 2014. They have been determined to be one of the top 100 non-selective state funded schools in England based upon achievement in these core subjects; St Augustine’s Priory School, Ealing girls, staff and parents, (around 160) recently took part in 5k “Race for Life” in Richmond and have raised so far £4,700.00 for Cancer Research. Congratulations to Mr Tom Mannion Headteacher of St Aloysius College, Islington who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Congratulations to all.