Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,
It was Blessed John Henry Newman who wrote, “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.” The changes in the education landscape over the last three years have made the pursuit of perfection even harder to achieve. Our strength is the central relationship we all have with Jesus Christ. It is not correct to say the Church has a mission, but rather Mission has a Church. If a sacrament is an outward sign of inner grace, then surely our schools are sacrament? We are called to the perfection of faith and that holiness should be for everyone – we should rejoice and be glad. Never lose sight of the culture of encounter with Christ that permeates all that we do.
Last month we requested schools to complete and return their Financial Summaries. If you are finding this exercise difficult please contact the Education Service for advice and help. This information is not to determine whether a school is financially viable, but rather what can be done in terms of advice and support for any school that may be experiencing difficulty and challenge. According to the CES nationally 1 in 4 schools are in deficit. In 2016/17 60% of all Primary Schools and Secondary Schools spent more than their income. It is imperative in our Diocese we have the accurate picture of how challenging the situation actually is for all our schools. Therefore, I request you complete this task as soon as possible. Collective action cannot be undertaken if schools don’t comply.
On 16th May 2018 the DfE announced that the Diocese had successfully gained the approval of the State to form two Catholic Academy Trusts. These are the Harrow Family of Schools and Brent Family of Schools within the All Saints Trust. This means that 12 schools have been granted their Academy Order and will be fully established by October / November 2018. This is a major milestone to be reached. The DfE and the Regional School Commissioner’s office (RSC) had emphasised that the argument made for Catholic Academy Trusts is now acceptable and they recognise that our schools have a major role to play in raising standards and attainment across the wider community. The DfE now see academies as the vehicle to drive school improvement. Following close behind these two CATs are schools applying to join the ASCAT Trust in Rickmansworth and Watford to expand an existing Trust to four by the end of the summer term.
The Education Service has developed links with the University of Notre Dame, USA and its Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) programme. www.ace.nd.edu/teach/ This programme sustains and strengthens under-resourced Catholic schools through leadership formation, research and professional service to ensure that all children, especially those from low-income families, have the opportunity to experience the gift of an excellent Catholic education. Since the programme’s founding in 1993, ACE has strengthened K-12 schools through innovative practices in four realms integral to school transformation: forming talent, expanding access, enhancing school vitality, and conducting research on school improvement. Today, with a presence in every state in the United States, they strive to ensure that all children, regardless of background, have the opportunity to receive an excellent Catholic education. As part of our strategy to expand our support for recruitment and retention we endorse this programme. For schools to become involved theymust possess or apply to UKVI for a Tier 2 sponsorship licence. The Visa is only granted for shortage occupations: Maths, Physics, Science (where an element of physics will be taught), Computer Science, Mandarin. If a school is interested, please contact me to find out more. The successful applicants will be expected to stay for a minimum of two years.
On behalf of all the Education Service I would like to take this opportunity to introduce two new appointments to our team. Mrs Linette Blackmore will be the Education Service new Office Manager and my PA from Monday 25th June. Our sincere thanks to Ms Mary Murray who has done a fantastic job over the last 15 weeks as my PA and we wish her very happiness for the future. Our new Primary RE Advisor will be Mr Tony Gorton, the current Headteacher of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Waltham Cross. Tony will be replacing Michael Corcoran and will take up his post in the autumn term. We are delighted that both of them are joining our team.
Thank you for all you are doing to support, promote and protect Catholic education across our Diocese.
With best wishes.
Director of Education
One of the three Westminster CCRS courses will be coming to a close at the end of August, so there will be a wealth of CCRS accredited teachers as a result. Their participation in this course will enable them to contribute even more deeply to the ministry of their schools. The two other courses continue, the most recent being in Hammersmith where the second module is currently being studied. If you started your CCRS some time ago but think now is the time to pick it up again, then there is still time to sign up and start with module three on Christology, which will explore the person and work of Jesus Christ. This module will start in September with all sessions taking place at Larmenier and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Hammersmith.
Plans are in place to start a further CCRS group in September with some first class tutors already lined up. The venue and final details will be publicised shortly.
For further information please contact: Liz O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org 07738183831
Celebration of Mass Guidance Document
The celebration of the Mass is at the heart of Catholic life and worship. It is therefore important that assistance is given to those in our schools who are responsible for planning and preparing Eucharistic celebrations. Question and Answer Guidelines have been written in response to requests for practical advice. They apply both to Masses celebrated in school and Masses for schools celebrated in diocesan churches and chapels.
The Q & A Guidelines do not offer a complete treatise on celebrating the Eucharist, nor do they supersede any of the authoritative documents of the Church. They simply address some important aspects of our Eucharistic celebrations and seek to help those involved in planning and celebrating school Masses to be attentive to what the Church teaches and requires.
The Guidelines are for use in primary and secondary phases.
Please find the document here.
For further information please contact: Amanda Crowley email@example.com 02077989182
Primary School Assessment Information Sessions
As you are aware, this year, many of our schools have been piloting the new skills assessment framework in Religious Education. The pilot has now finished and the national feedback is currently being collated. The pilot framework will be revised in light of feedback provided and subsequently presented to Diocesan Bishops for approval at the end of June.
Once the new assessment criteria is approved, we will expect all schools to work towards transitioning to the new format during the academic year 2018/19. We are hosting information sessions in July in which the new framework will be presented. Please note, these sessions are merely intended to provide information and enable you to begin the conversation in your schools about the impending changes. More formal and detailed diocesan training will take place in early September, and will continue throughout the year at deanery level.
There is no cost for the meetings but please do register your intention to attend on our online booking system using the links below. Although it may be a challenge, I would recommend for both Headteacher and RE Co-ordinator to attend if possible.
Even if you have been involved in the pilot, please do attend, as the framework will have been updated and there will be new information.
1: July 6th 1pm - 3.30 Vaughan House
2: July 9th 1pm – 3.30 Niland Centre
3: July 10th 1pm - 3.30 Vaughan House
For further information please contact: Trisha Hedley firstname.lastname@example.org
SAFEGUARDING NOTE: VISITING PRIESTS IN SCHOOLS
When you invite a visiting or supply Priest to minister in school you need to ensure that he has credentials with him attesting to his status. For Priests who belong to a diocese of England and Wales a current celebret * should be produced. For those from elsewhere a current Testimonial of Suitability for Ministry is necessary, or a letter testifying to the good standing of the Priest. Priests who belong to a Religious Order should also be asked to produce the Testimonial from their Superior. It is the responsibility of the Headteacher / DSL to ask to see such documents, and we all understand why this is necessary for the safeguarding and well-being of all, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults.
* a ‘celebret’ is a document issued by the Bishop confirming that the person identified is a priest (In our diocese this is a credit card sized plastic card, bearing the priest’s photograph etc)
For more information contact: Mike Pittendreigh email@example.com
The Limiting Judgements in Classroom Religious Education have been amended to reflect the direction on the GCSE specifications from the bishops in Westminster. In September 2015, the Bishops’ Conference recommended certain criteria for an ‘approved’ GCSE specification; this recommendation was adopted in full by the bishops in Westminster. Therefore, from September 2018, the Limiting Judgement for Classroom Religious Education will be as follows:
77. A limiting judgement on classroom religious educationwould prevent the school from obtaining an ‘outstanding’ grade if it failed to meet ONE or more of the following criteria:
- the content of classroom religious education does not meet the requirements of the Curriculum Directory in the following way:
- there is a lack of authentic use of the Curriculum Directory as the foundation of the religious education curriculum
- in the case of a secondary school, the GCSE specification followed is not one approved by the Bishop (Cf Canon 804).
- pupils’ achievement (as well as attainment and progress) in religious education is low:
- pupils fail to make sufficient progress in their religious literacy and there is weak assessment and levelling of work.
Further information: Jane Goring, Chief Inspector, firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7798 9183 Mobile: 07710 088910
FORTHCOMING CPD OPPORTUNITIES
For further information and bookings for the CPD courses below, please visit the following link: https://courses.rcdow.org.uk/events/list/
28 Jun Heads of Religious Education Overnight Conference, £265
DATE: June 28 @ 9:00 am - June 29 @ 4:00 pm
VENUE: Chartridge Lodge
05 Jul Celebration of Service Mass, FREE, DATE: July 5 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
TIME: 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm VENUE: Westminster Cathedral
06 Jul Assessment Information Afternoon One FREE, DATE: July 6 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
TIME: 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm VENUE: Vaughan House
09 Jul Assessment Information Afternoon Two, FREE DATE: July 9 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
TIME: 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm VENUE: Niland Centre
10 Jul Assessment Information Afternoon Three, FREE, DATE: July 10 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
TIME: 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm VENUE: Vaughan House
12 Jul Diocese of Westminster Catholic Schools’ SBM and Bursar Forum FREE
DATE: July 12 @ 10:00 am - 3:30 pm TIME: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
VENUE: Vaughan House
13 Jul New to Chaplaincy Day, £50, DATE: July 13 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
TIME: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm , VENUE: Sion Manning, ADDRESS: 75 St Charles Square
In the Autumn Term , we anticipate that we will be inviting proposals for Capital Investment (LCVAP). Currently, the Catholic Education Service and others are in discussion with the Department for Education regarding future capital investment in schools and academies. Anything that is likely to influence the outcome of your application will be communicated through this bulletin at the appropriate time. Please ensure that Governors are confident in their Asset Management Plan and will be prepared to authorise the submission of an application at the appropriate time. Currently, we are expecting the focus to remain on “Condition” items.
For informal discussions in advance of the 2018/19 LCVAP funding applications round (Autumn 2018), please contact Nigel Spears: email@example.com or 07738183828.
Condition Data Collection Tool (Tranche 5): We have been advised that a number of our schools are listed in tranche 5 of the programme. Heads and SBMs should expect contact from the Surveying Organisation. The Trustees of the Diocese of Westminster and the Education Commission are aware of this Governmental programme and are supportive of its objectives. Please facilitate access to your sites on request. A full list is available here.
The assigned surveyor will contact you to arrange the date and time of their visit to your site. Please endeavour to be as accommodating as possible. Once their visit data has been uploaded, you will be provided with access and offered to opportunity to challenge the accuracy as necessary. If you have any issues relating to this programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP)
We have been informed that all VA Schools and CAT have been supplied with the necessary access codes and passwords to complete this return. If you have not received this information, please contact Nigel Spears email@example.com and he will make enquiries on your behalf.
Pupil Placement Planning and GDPR
Thank you to those schools that have submitted returns, your support is greatly appreciate.
Following the implementation of the GDPR, the Education Service has determined that the process of submitting pupil level data to the Education Service will need to be redefined. Consequently, submissions made in good faith in the June 2018 round will be erased from our system.
This will leave a significant hole in our contextual data and inhibit the ability of the DOWES to plan strategically. We therefore request that:
- The Diocese is formally recognised as an organisation with which your school has a significant relationship and with whom your school/CAT will share data relating to:
- Registered Pupils
- Applicants to become Registered Pupils
- You write to your local authority and lobby for the Diocese of Westminster, and other Diocese as appropriate (i.e. LDBS) to be included in the list of organisations that may receive details relating to applicants to the Local Authority. The Diocese of Westminster is a strategic partner in the provision of schools and access to appropriate data is essential if we are to function effectively. Appropriate Data from the Local Authority may reduce the workload of school based colleagues.
- Adjust you admissions policy documentation as recommended, in due course, by Mary Ryan.
If you have any issues relating to this aspect of GDPR, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Eucharistic Journey
At the Education Service, we are really excited about the Adoremus Congress and want to create a real and lasting legacy in our schools. We are launching a year of activities to support all those involved in education in the Diocese of Westminster. Entitled 'Our Eucharistic Journey,' the year will run from Corpus Christi 2018 to Corpus Christi 2019. It aims to help our schools participate in the build up to the National Eucharistic Congress in September, and to perpetuate its legacy. The Cardinal is producing podcasts to launch Our Eucharistic Journey in our primary and secondary schools across the Diocese.
An Adoremus Launch Pack, similar to that for the Year of Mercy, has been created to inspire and engage teachers in their faith formation and that of their pupils. It provides links to useful websites and educational resources to enhance their own understanding of, and devotion to, the Blessed Sacrament to pass this on to our children. We share Cardinal Nichols’s hope for a 'rejuvenation' of love of the Eucharist in our communities and schools. Emphasising Christ is at the heart of our schools and learning, there is a plethora of cross curricular links to the Eucharist including music, art and poetry.
For example, we are giving students and staff the opportunity to explore the Eucharistic art of the Old Masters, Salvador Dali, Fr. Sieger Koder and Elizabeth Wang. This has already inspired a retreat on Eucharistic Art in Fulham this Spring which it is hoped will be the first of many.
Whilst pupils and staff are familiar with the Mass, we plan to introduce them more to the experience of Jesus’s love in Eucharistic Adoration and to prayers such as the Divine Praises. To this end, we have created 'My Blessed Sacrament Booklet,' including St. Teresa of Calcutta’s addition to the Divine Praises: 'Blessed be Jesus in the poorest of the poor.' This links to the recurring theme of mission throughout the Launch Pack, going hand in hand with the Eucharist and the Word. The Cardinal has also asked all children learn the Eucharistic hymn ‘Sweet Sacrament Divine,’ written by a former Westminster priest.
Please do ask our children over the year about the activities they are engaging in, and support them in deepening their love of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Further information: Elaine Arundell email@example.com
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 )
We are happy to publicise all sorts of achievements, although we do not usually feature OFSTED outcomes.
Congratulations to St. Anne’s Gospel Choir who were successfully chosen as one of five choirs in the country to go through to BBC Songs of Praise Young Choir of the Year 2018 Semi-final. The Semi-Final was aired on Sunday 6th May and following a phenomenal performance, our Gospel Choir was successfully chosen as one of the three finalists. 40 girls represented our Gospel Choir, all singing with passion & each student shone brightly.
Congratulations to Sf Joseph’s Primary School, Bishop’s Stortford Chaplaincy Team comprising of a group of year 6 pupils, have successfully organised a huge collection of food for the Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank.
Congratulations to Our Lady’s Convent, Hackney who held a dance competition, and we managed to raise £242.32 for Sport Relief. Also on Thursday 3rd May Our Lady’s Convent High School hosted its third Spring Community Lunch for over 35 local guests.