Schools Bulletin: May 2017

Welcome to our May 2017 Bulletin Expand

Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,

The announcement that the country would be returning to the ballot boxes on June 8th provides the Catholic community an opportunity to seek assurance that education, and in particular Catholic education, will be served and supported in every way possible to allow our students to thrive. I ask you to communicate with your prospective MP to see what they intend to do to support Catholic education and how they will support the need to address the significant financial shortfall which all schools are facing across our Diocese. I am grateful to all those schools that have completed the online survey regarding the financial health of our schools Please ensure that if you have not completed this questionnaire you do so by 5th May. Once this survey has been completed we will be sharing with you the overall findings this term.

To help improve our services we have upgraded our booking system for all CPD courses and placed them online via the event portal Eventbrite.  Go to and search ‘Westminster CPD programme’ for the list of events available to book. This should enable everyone to have easy access to all the details (content, timings, venue, etc) for all the events at any time and to book on line.  There will no longer be any need to fill in a booking form or pay by cheque. It is intended that this will make our system of booking courses and events quicker and more efficient for you. We are trialling this portal this term with a view for all our CPD courses in the new academic year from September to be booked and paid for using this excellent facility. I hope this will prove successful and we would welcome your comments on this new way forward.

The Education Service will complete in early May the first set of meetings regarding the proposed 11 Families of Schools across our Diocese. A paper will be sent to schools later this term collating the findings of these meetings. However, there are three immediate findings to share with you. Firstly, there is a general consensus to see what is possible and engage in the discussions to ascertain how this proposal can best serve Catholic education. This is new and brings with it a great desire to have clarity and an explanation for the roles and responsibilities of leadership and governance. A great deal of work has been done in this regard and a paper will be published later this term explaining in greater detail all the roles and responsibilities that the Diocese seeks to adopt. Secondly, there is a discrepancy between governing bodies that have done due diligence on the proposal and those who have not. It is important that all governing bodies do actively explore the proposal so that they can make an informed decision. There is a great deal of published information available and not all governing bodies are accessing it. There are a considerable number of schools that are willing to move forward with the creation of Families of Schools. Thirdly, schools will need time to get to know the other schools within their proposed family and opportunities to do so need to be shaped at local level. Schools should plan together to hold joint sessions to explore all possibilities where greater collaboration can take place. All schools are requested to complete the following survey by 5th May.

Finally, the Education Service is seeking a new Primary RE Advisor for the Autumn term. The details can be found in and on the diocesan website. It is important to note we have changed the terms and conditions of this post to reflect those of the teaching profession. It means a serving teacher who seeks a new opportunity would have the same terms and conditions regarding holidays and notice to leave as they experience now. We look forward to hearing from you.

Change is the reality in education. Whatever the outcome in the general election we will continue to place Christ and the teachings of Christ at the centre of all that we do. As many of our students prepare to sit public examinations in the weeks ahead our prayers and best wishes go to each and every one of them.

As Cardinal Nichols said in his Easter Homily, “The light of this Easter day, the strength of this fire of faith, is the true antidote to the corrosive cynicism of aspects of our public culture that wants to belittle what it cannot comprehend and undermine what it may reluctantly admire. Today we celebrate the true victor, the one whose triumph entails no losers except sin and death, in which all who wish share the victory and find in it the true fulfilment of their souls.

Christ is Risen. Alleluia. May he reign in our hearts and bring us his peace. I wish you all a most joyful Easter indeed!”

Thank you for all you hard work and dedication to Catholic education.


With best wishes


JP Morrison

Director of Education

Cross Diocesan Moderation Expand

Cross Diocesan Moderation

The letter inviting Religious Education Co-ordinators to the Cross-Diocesan Moderation sessions has been sent to schools. The dates, times and venues are as follows:

•             Wednesday 14th June 2017 Vaughan House

•             Wednesday 21st June 2017 Vaughan House

•             Thursday 22nd June 2017 Niland Centre, Bushey

Attendees have been asked to bring 5 samples of work only, one from each of the levels, 1-5. It is important that attendees only bring the number of samples specified and adhere to the instructions in the letter of invitation. Due to reduced capacity in the primary advisory team we will be unable to produce a booklet of levelled samples for this academic year.

All sessions begin at 1.30pm and finish by 4.00pm.

Booking is through .

Contact:  Kathleen Gilbert, 02077989005

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.

Booking is through .

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

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

Applied Theology: Module 4: The Common Good June 15th&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.

Booking is through .

Contact: Amanda Crowley,, 020 7798 9182

Admissions Expand


Schools are asked to check their local authority website to ensure that the correct version of the school’s 2018-19 admissions policy has been put on the website. If the version on the website is not identical to the version determined by governors last term, please contact the LA immediately to ask them to amend it.

Data Protection Expand

Data Protection

The General Data Protection Regulation 2016 which came into force last year will apply in all member states later this month. An information sheet by the CES is attached here.

It would be useful for all governors to have updated training on Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

The next planned session at Vaughan House is on 2nd December 2017 10am – 1.00pm. Training is also available for groups of governing bodies or whole governing body sessions on request.

Booking is through

Forthcoming Governor Training Expand

Forthcoming Governor Training

Presenting Officers (for the governor/headteacher presenting the school’s case to the admission appeals panel) Saturday 20th May 10.00am – 12.30 pm at Vaughan House

Complaints Procedures (for all members of the complaints committee) Saturday 8th July 10am – 12.30pm.

SEN and Equality (for the SEN and other governors) Saturday 1st July 10am – 3.00pm.

Booking is through

Capital Expand


LCVAP 2017/18:

The Secretary of State announced the capital allocations for condition investment in schools on 3 April. Since then, we have been in negotiation with the representatives of all 18 local authorities in order to secure a Catholic share of the available fund. This process is complete and the Capital Strategy Committee of the Education Commission is due to meet on Tuesday 2 May to finalise grant allocations. School will be notified of the outcome as soon as possible.

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

As the deadline for this submission approaches, we have been contacted by a number of schools requesting a template for their completion. In anticipation that other colleagues may benefit from the resource, it is supplied as an attachment here. When returning the workbook, please include the URN for your school/academy.

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 – Management of Building Risk (VA Schools Only) Expand

Insurance – Management of Building Risk (VA Schools Only)

Task for SBM and Premises Committee

Thank you to the 109 schools who have completed our online form to date. Your contribution is appreciated. We will be discussing the received data with Zurich and the CCIA and some schools will be approached for additional evidence in due course. In the meantime, colleagues from the Education Service will be contacting those schools that have not registered a return in order to secure a complete record.

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

Email: Mobile: 07738183828

A Heart Which Sees (A note from David Wells of Plymouth Diocese) Expand

A Heart Which Sees (A note from David Wells of Plymouth Diocese)

Before Christmas you kindly submitted work for a resource which helps schools to look at concrete suggestions of mercy in action in our schools. Between Christmas and Easter I have, at various venues around the country, used these examples to inspire “Compassion in our strategy.” What seems remarkable is just how uplifting and accessible the examples are, and how they don’t feel like “another initiative.” They seem to be received as persuasive and encouraging.

A problem is that we don’t quite have enough examples to justify a publication. Many of the submissions were not microscopic enough. They tended to lean towards fund raising for CAFOD which although laudable, isn’t specific enough to generate creative imitations. The ones that appeal tend to be like Mitze, a primary school administrator who has made the space under her desk a safe “den” that troubled children run to when they can’t cope. She gently coaxes them back with encouragement and prayer. These stories are inspirational even if they can’t be replicated and they create energy because they are living testimonies – faith in action in schools.  When people hear about them they start proffering other examples. There are many many stories yet to be told.

I have approached several organisations to see if there is synergy and I have looked to find funding, but at present the testimonies can’t really stand alone as a self-funding publication and the financial support isn’t there.

The main purpose of this email is to ask you to thank schools who have submitted ideas to you, and perhaps copy this email to them so as to reassure them that the work has not disappeared into a hole and there is still some ground work to be done. This work won’t become dated because it isn’t a virtue that will become redundant. I’m sure that the theology is sound, the motives are good, the response is uplifting, and the fruits are already there. The question of provision will surely follow.

David Wells, CAST Offices, Plymouth Diocese, St Boniface House, Ashburton Rd.,Newton Abbot,TQ137JL.

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 Anne’s High School for Girls, Enfield on receiving letter from the Minister of State for Education, Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP for School Standards.  He confirmed that they were in the top 5% nationally of all schools in terms of the progress their students make between Key Stage 2 and the end of Key Stage 4 (so entry level in Year 7 through GCSE level in Year 11) using the new Progress 8 Measure. Congratulations also to Our Lady’s Convent High School for Girls, Hackneyon being recognised for its exceptional 2016 performance by the Schools Students, and Teachers Network (SSAT).  Educational Outcomes data for the SSAT has shown that the school is in the top 10% of schools nationally for progress.  Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: “We know how hard teachers work to ensure the success of every child.  SSAT’s Educational Outcomes Award recognises the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the leaders, teachers and students at Our Lady’s Convent High School.”