Schools Bulletin: March 2017

Welcome to our March 2017 Bulletin Expand

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

Pope Francis’ vision of the meaning of Lent has particular resonance for all our school communities this year. “Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour,” he said. “May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.” The service of Christ is what underpins our mission and defines our thinking and action.

Schools and Colleges are very much aware of the impact the introduction of the new National Funding Formula and other government charges to the education community. The Education Service is very keen to analyse the impact this has had. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could forward to me at  your latest school budget for 2017-18 and, if possible your three year forecast, by Monday 20th March. We need to be in a position to understand more fully the finances of our schools and colleges that are accurate and up to date as we seek to develop opportunities to shape partnerships that can truly offer economies of scale. The national published figures by the DfE do not reflect your current position and we need to be accurate in our assessment of financial stability of our community going into the new financial year.

The Education Service has recently held its annual Headteachers’ Conferences for both Primary and Secondary Schools in Norwich. We have had highly favourable feedback on the location and the quality of speakers this year. We are delighted so many of you were able to attend as it is an important part of our identity and mission to come together each year in renewal and partnership. We will seek to build on our success for next year.

As you know a key component in our conference season, and CPD generally, is the wonderful work undertaken by Margaret Theissl in managing bookings and keeping schools and colleges informed. Margaret has worked for the diocese for 16 years and is retiring at the end of the month. Our sincere thanks to Margaret for all she has done for our diocese and she will be greatly missed. We wish her many happy years ahead of her.

Also this month Catherine Bryan will be leaving the Service to take up a full time position at the CES. Catherine has been with the Service for 5 years and has provided excellent service and support for our Primary Schools. We wish her every success in her new role. This now provides an opportunity for a secondment position for the summer term for a member of staff, or recently retired Primary RE co-ordinator, to help fill the gap until a suitable replacement is found. If you know of someone please contact

This week foundation governor recruitment materials will be sent to all parishes to entice new people to join our governing bodies. We are very much aware recruitment can be a challenge for schools and colleges and each year we ask parishes to promote this important role within the Church. If you know of anyone who would be interested please ask them to contact our governor coordinator at

Thank you for all you are doing for our students, staff, governors and families in Catholic Education. We hope the journey through Lent bring us all many graces and blessings to all our community.

With best wishes

JP Morrison

Director of Education

DBS Checks for Clergy Expand

DBS Checks for Clergy

We are often asked about whether DBS checks for priests visiting and working in our schools are available from the diocese. Please see the guidance below from our Safeguarding Service:

The  sharing of safeguarding information falls under the parameters of the Data Protection Act and the following procedure must be followed:

1.         The school accept,  in making such a request  for Disclosure information, that they do so at their own risk.

2.         The school seeking the information must make  a written request for the information and attach the priest’s written consent for the Disclosure information to be shared. 

3.         The request should be made to the DBS Administrator who is currently Jackie Krobo,

4.         We will provide the certificate number and date of the disclosure to the designated person at the school.

5.         Our reply will also include a disclaimer stating “ The information supplied is factual based on the Disclosure received for the named individual at the time and is no way interpreted as a reference or declaration of the person’s suitability for any post involving children or adults at risk”.

Further information: Mike Pittendreigh,


Admissions Expand


All admission arrangements (Admissions Policy and Supplementary Information Form) should now have been determined by governors and the determined arrangements sent to your local authority and back to the diocese, stating that they have been determined by governors (deadline 28th February 2017). The Admissions Policy and SIF must also be placed on your school website by 15th March 2017.          The school’s arrangements for 2017 appeals must now be on your website.

There is training for the governor/headteacher presenting the school’s case to the admission appeals panel. It takes place on 18th March and is repeated on 20th May. This training is for all members of the admissions committee and other interested governors.

To book a place please contact

For further information please contact

Pre-Inspection Day for Primary Schools – 29th June – Vaughan House Expand

Pre-Inspection Day for Primary Schools – 29th June – Vaughan House

This is a day dedicated to helping primary schools who are due diocesan inspection in the academic year 2017/2018.  We would recommend that every school due inspection sends at least one representative to this day.  We would expect each school to bring the most current version of their diocesan SEF.  There will be no charge for this session as it will form part of our diocesan pre-inspection support.  Please book with Margaret Theissl in the usual way

Contact: Amanda Crowley,, 020 7798 9182

Primary Religious Education Coordinator Meetings Expand

Primary Religious Education Coordinator Meetings

Please could Headteachers release their RE Coordinator for a termly deanery meeting.   We are aware that RE Coordinators in some deaneries meet regularly and enjoy a strong practice of collaboration and sharing.  We hope to ensure this becomes a consistent practice across the diocese.  Please could each deanery determine dates for the RE Co-ordinators to meet for the 2017/18 and send these directly to Amanda Crowley by the end of June so we can ensure a diocesan adviser is available to attend each meeting.

Contact: Amanda Crowley,, 020 7798 9182

Assessment Update Expand

Assessment Update

Trisha Hedley represented Westminster at the Assessment Working Party, chaired by Fr Jonathan Veasey, on 8th February.  The meeting was constructive.   Various models of assessments offered by members of the working party were explored.

Next steps for Working Party:

•       Produce a document at next meeting, 7th April, covering the age related SKILLS expectations from EYFS to KS5 mapped to 4 areas of study from the RECD.

•       These will either be related to each year group or phase (this is still to be determined)

•       The skills will be generic and are not specific to one scheme.

•       Within the descriptors will be progress measures i.e. emerging, meeting, exceeding…

•       Further updates will be communicated after the next meeting of the working party.

Contact: Amanda Crowley, 020 7798 9182

Applied Theology:  Module 4: The Common Good June 15th and 30th June 2017 Expand

Applied Theology:  Module 4: The Common Good June 15th and 30th June 2017

For those wishing to strengthen their understanding of teaching Religious Education in a Catholic School, Dr Margaret Carswell will be leading 2 days of inset with a teaching set task to be completed in between the two days.

Contact: Margaret Theissl, 020 8457 6531

Teaching the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer – 30th March Expand

Teaching the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer – 30th March

A twilight CPD session has been organised for any RE teachers who are interested in teaching the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This may be of particular interest to those teachers of RE A Level using the OCR board as Bonhoeffer is a significant proportion of the Development of Christian Thought specification. The session will cover the theology of Bonhoeffer and how to teach it, as well as providing resources for teaching this part of the specification. This event will take place at Vaughan House on Thursday 30th March from 4-6 pm and will be led by Neill Hinnem, Head of RE at La Sainte Union Catholic School, who is a Bonhoeffer expert and enthusiast.

Contact: Trisha Hedley,  020 7798 9005

Heads of RE Residential Conference – 29-30th June Expand

Heads of RE Residential Conference – 29-30th June

Please ensure all Heads of RE have booked their place on the residential conference which will be taking place on the 29th-30th June. The event will be held at Cartridge Lodge in Chesham and will be an invaluable time for Heads of RE to share good practice and learn more about how to effectively teach the new RE syllabus at GCSE and A Level. Bishop John Wilson will also be speaking and encouraging these talented leaders to persevere with their important responsibilities.

Contact: Claire O’Neill,, 020 7798 9005

A Practical approach to Judaism in the classroom Expand

A Practical approach to Judaism in the classroom

An afternoon CPD session has been organised for primary RE Coordinators and primary teachers of RE to extend their knowledge of Judaism. The course will offer ideas and practical suggestions for the delivery of Judaism within the classroom. This event will take place at Vaughan House on Wednesday 7 June 2017 from 1.30 pm to 4.00 pm and will be led by Ruth Jampel.

If you are interested in attending the course, please see the flyer attached, complete the booking form and email to Margaret Theissl at

Contact: Sinead Steed,, 020 77989195

Capital Expand


LCVAP 2017/18:

The Secretary of State for Education has not announced her department’s education capital allocations for 2017/18. Until the announcement has been made, we cannot begin the process of local negotiation and allocation. This is frustrating for all concerned but DfE civil servants are unable to give any indication of the anticipated announcement date.

Contact: Nigel Spears (AD – Capital Strategy and Pupil Placement Planning)

Email: Mobile: 07738183828

Pupil Placement Planning Expand

Pupil Placement Planning

Task for SBM/Admissions Coordinator and Admissions Committee:

Thank you to all those who have diligently been collecting application and admission data in preparation for submission next term. The information you process is used to support diocesan wide planning for growth and development in Catholic education. As we prepare for significant changes in school designation and local support, it is vital that we identify and respond to demographic evidence in order to marshal our resources effectively. The designated date for the 2017 applications survey is Thursday 8 June 2017. For further information about the required information, please see the January 2017 Bulletin.

Contact: Nigel Spears (AD – Capital Strategy and Pupil Placement Planning)

Email: Mobile: 07738183828

Insurance Expand


Management of Building Risk (VA Schools Only)

Task for SBM and Premises Committee:

Thank you to the 6 schools who have completed our online form to date. Your contribution is appreciated.

Please Remember:

•          The online form can be accessed by clicking on this link: Property Risk 2017 Survey

•          The final date for submission is Friday 28th April 2017

For further information about the purpose of this survey, please see the January 2017 Bulletin.

Contact: Nigel Spears (AD – Capital Strategy and Pupil Placement Planning)

Email: Mobile: 07738183828


Information/Guidance from the CCIA

The Catholic Church Insurance Association have prepared the following guidance:

•          Guarding against theft

•          Risk insurance aspects

•          Winter risks

The above are provided as related files to this bulletin and can be downloaded:

ccia update – risk insurance aspects 2

ccia update – guarding against theft 4

ccia update winter risks rev.

Contact: Nigel Spears (AD – Capital Strategy and Pupil Placement Planning)

Email: Mobile: 07738183828

Good News Slot Expand

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 )

Many Congratulations to St Mary’s Primary School, Chiswick on raising £1003.94 for The Shelter Project in Hounslow. This was a joint initiative in Hounslow running winter night shelters for homeless men in the coldest months and the children chose this project after discussion at School Council and was part of their Advent Preparation.  It is also an ecumenical project that has been supported by a number of primary schools in the area.

Many congratulations!