It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. These lines in the opening chapter of Charles Dickens’s book “A Tale of Two Cities” have as much resonance now as it did when published in 1859.
We live in a world where death and fear never seem far away. From the terrible shootings in New Zealand; the murder of Christians in Nigeria and Sri Lanka; and, of course, the confusion, anxieties, deep disagreements and anger over Brexit, seen not only in the Palace of Westminster but also in families and communities. It could be seen to be the worst of times. However, the true message of Easter must give us hope and belief.
Cardinal Nichols spoke recently of the importance of the Latin word humus, which also means “the earth” or “the soil”. He said, “And the word humus is the root of the word 'humility'. Humility is that virtue by which we keep hold of a true estimation of ourselves, not deceiving ourselves that we are more powerful or important than we actually are. Humility enables us to relate correctly with other people because it helps us to recognise our need of others, just as it helps us to recognise our need of God, whose breath within us spurs us on to great things, which only God alone can truly fulfil.”
It is not difficult to come to the view that we have forgotten how to live together, forgotten how to be different without those differences leading to a breakdown in relationships. That is precisely what some point to as the key challenge we face now as a society: a profound breakdown in relationships.
Pope Francis speaks often of the ‘revolution of tenderness’ which was achieved by Jesus in his outstanding ministry of mercy. One person who epitomized the need to show tenderness and humility was the late Jean Vanier. The work undertaken by the L’Arche community had a profound effect on him. He said, ‘At the beginning, I thought I would carry out a Gospel work by trying to do people with disabilities some good. Over the years I evolved as I discovered it was these people who did me good and, more than that, changed me’ He puts it even more simply when he says, ‘If I encounter the poor with compassion and mercy, it is they who transform me’. Bishop Hudson observed that “He is describing nothing less than his extraordinary share in the revolution of tenderness which Jesus came to effect.” Our schools must continue to be places of humility and tenderness.
I am delighted to announce that The Celebrating Young People Awards are open for nominations. They are being offered as an opportunity to respond to Pope Francis’ recent letter, Christus Vivit. Million Minutes CEO, Danny Curtin explains: ‘Pope Francis has written to the young people of the world, calling them to fight for the common good, serve the poor and to bring about the revolution of charity and service. He calls on the Church to support and encourage all young people in their mission. These awards are a timely opportunity to respond to the Pope’s call, and to show the young people in our midst that we value their commitment to bring the Gospel alive in the world today.’
The awards honour the achievements of young people across the country who make our communities and the world a better place. There are six award categories, which take their inspiration from Catholic social teaching and recognise the enormous, often unseen, social action of young people: promoting dignity of the human person, community and participation, the dignity of workers, solidarity and peace, the option for the poor, and the care of creation. There is also an award for the inspiring youth minister and the main youth Award, the Pope Francis Award, selected and presented by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Parishes, schools and individuals are invited to nominate young people aged 11-25, who will all be invited to a ceremony in London’s West End in July.
Nominations are open now at www.millionminutes.org/awards The deadline for nominations is the 24 May 2019.
Following the publication of Anne Moran’s report on Best Practice in Recruitment & Retention in February this year, the Education Service seeks to invite Headteachers and Chairs of Governors to attend a bespoke conference / summit to discuss and highlight good practice in this field. All schools face this challenge. All schools have a role in finding a solution. We invite you to be part of the solution.
We will be hosting a morning session on 10th June from 9:30 – 12:00pm at the SPEC Retreat Centre -125 Waxwell Ln, Pinner, HA5 3EP.
The morning conference is aimed at Headteachers and Chairs of Governors and tickets are priced at £55 per school. Keynote speakers will include JP Morrison, Prof Anne Moran OBE and a variety of Primary and Secondary Heads who helped shape the Report. There will be opportunities to have break out workshops to share practice. Tickets as well as further details are available at the following link:
If you have any questions about the afternoon, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for all you are doing to support, promote and protect Catholic education across our Diocese.
With best wishes.
Director of Education
The combination of the Agreed Understandings and the assessment pilot in RE has resulted in a change to diocesan moderation. This year’s sessions will provide whole day training combined with the opportunity for moderation of a set task assessed using the Age-Related Standards or levelled pieces. Whilst we would strongly encourage all schools to engage in the training provided, there is also an option for colleagues who wish to just join us for the moderation of levelled pieces session only. The three dates are 11th June (not for those moderating levelled pieces), 25th June – Niland Centre and the 27th June – Vaughan House. Full details can be found on the CPD booking site.
For further information, please contact your diocesan adviser
At the moderation sessions in June the Primary Advisory Team will share exemplar support materials for Year 1,4 and 5. These will support teachers in identifying the progression of skills in the New Skills Framework. Pilot schools have uploaded their pupils’ examples and are using No More Marking to make comparative judgements. In order to maximise the number of judgements each piece receives and produce reliable results we would like as many individuals to judge as possible.
If you are interested in participating please contact Diana Roberts who will provide further information email@example.com
As the end of Our Eucharistic Journey draws near, schools are encouraged to ensure that they have booked on to our Adoremus Mass, which will take place on 18 June at 10:30am. Priests associated with our schools are also invited to attend and to inform Fr Andrew Gallagher that they will be present. All schools have been encouraged to gather some special evidence from this year to add to the deanery folders which will be carried up for the opening procession at this Mass. A display of pupils’ artwork will also be displayed in St Patrick’s Chapel in the Cathedral during the month of June so all schools can send a piece of artwork with a description of this to Elaine Arundell. Further resources have been created for schools and parishes to support with Corpus Christi. Please see our website and our sharing platform, Slack, for further details https://education.rcdow.org.uk/re-catholic-life/adoremus/
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Education Department and Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School have developed a programme of support for non-specialist teachers of RE. This course will run in early July at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and will provide a series of six taught sessions by experienced RE practitioners, alongside both monitored and independent learning.
Day One: 2 July 2019
Session One - Teaching RE in a Catholic school
Session Two - Misconceptions in RE
Session Three - Sources of wisdom
Day Two: 9 July 2019
Session Four - Teaching Catholicism
Session Five - Teaching other faiths
Session Six - RE teaching ideas
The aim of the course is to give teachers an understanding of the importance of RE and practical strategies and ideas to develop their RE teaching. The total cost is £50 per teacher. Successful participants will receive a certificate of completion in recognition of the learning undertaken and progress made. The Chair of the Education Commission, Bishop John Wilson and the Director of Education have approved such certification.
If you have any colleagues who would like to attend please email the following address and request a booking form - email@example.com by Monday 3 June, 2019.
Now that arrangements for 2020 – 2021 are settled, it is a good time to check that the 2020 arrangements on your school website and on the local authority website match those determined by governors in February 2019.
Schools have already started submitting their 2021 – 2022 admission arrangements to the diocese. This is the time to consider any proposed alterations to your policy or SIF and be ready to go out to consultation in October 2019. Please remember that if you have not consulted for the past 6 years you must go out to consultation regardless of whether anything is being changed in the arrangements.
Please check that your SIF contains a privacy notice or a link to the privacy notice on your school website.
The 2018 – 2019 policy and SIF can be removed from your school website at the end of July 2019.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor training on legal and procedural issues is now available in schools. If your governing body would like specific training e.g. Complaints, Admissions, Data Protection etc., or if you would like to offer your school as a base for a training course, please contact email@example.com
The announcement of the 2019/20 School Capital Allocations was made by the DfE on Thursday 4th April. On Saturday 6th April, 77 schools were informed that their application/proposal had secured a grant from the 2019/20 LCVAP. It is extremely frustrating and concerning that a significant number of qualifying projects could not be funded. The Education Commission and its advisers have tried, wherever possible, to ensure that funding is used to resolve the highest level of need first. However, in some instances, priority has been given to the association of LCVAP with other funding strategies, particularly PSBP.
There has not been an announcement regarding HPCF for this financial year. Sources from the DfE have stated that it is now unlikely that announcements relating to this programme will be made this year.
The next data collection will be in October 2019. The focus will be Registered Pupils. The deadline date and information relating to training opportunities will be announced later in the year.
This trend is occurring in a number of local authority areas. Local Authority colleagues are contacting us seeking opportunities to reduce capacity in our schools. The Education Service will consider viable proposals from clusters of schools seeking to protect local provision during this period of decline. Proposals will need to demonstrate a clear response to prevailing trends. Schools that do not work with others may find themselves isolated and vulnerable. School revenue budgets cannot sustain a significant level of surplus places. Evidence presented to the Education Service has confirmed that some of our schools will be experiencing surplus capacity rates that are in excess of 26%! In one area, three schools are offering 150 places (5FE) in September. Offers (at the last count) are 89 pupils (3FE). Collectively, these three schools will be resourcing 5 full time class bases when they only need three. All three schools are reporting deficit budgets.
Contact: Nigel Spears. firstname.lastname@example.org, 07738183828
Just a reminder that there are further opportunities to study for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies. All current courses have been extremely well received and have helped to strengthen teachers’ knowledge and practice. A new course will begin at Cardinal Pole School, Hackney starting on 25 September, running as twilight sessions on Wednesdays from 4-6pm.
A second course provides an opportunity for teachers who find it difficult to attend twilight sessions and so runs on two consecutive Saturdays per module from 10 – 3.30pm at Vaughan House, Victoria. The first module on Old Testament will be taught on 21 and 28 September. Please register for either course as soon as possible but by 28 June at the latest.
Registration forms and a course overview can be found at https://education.rcdow.org.uk/professional-development/ccrs
For further information please contact: Liz O’Brien at email@example.com 07738183831
SPEC is dedicated to providing a space for children and young people to retreat from the rush of daily life in order to reflect on their faith and, hopefully contribute to meeting the spiritual needs in their lives. Every retreat participant is invited to encounter Christ through group activities such as talks, testimony and prayer exercises, reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration, and to share their faith journey, identifying what makes each of our lives unique: our families, our friends, our likes, our dislikes and our struggles. The hope is that by the end of a retreat all participants are able to see the image of GOD reflected in their relationships with each other. You and your school are invited to visit SPEC and see how we can work TOGETHER in the faith journey of our young people.
For more information and all enquiries, please contact:
Maria West, SPEC Retreat Centre Manager, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 020 37572507
Following the publication of Anne Moran’s report on Best Practice in Recruitment & Retention in February this year, the Education Service seeks to invite you both to attend a bespoke conference / summit to discuss and highlight good practice in this field. All schools face this challenge. All schools have a role in finding a solution. We invite you to be part of the solution.
We will be hosting a morning session on 10th June from 9:30 – 12:00pm at the SPEC Retreat Centre -125 Waxwell Lane, Pinner, HA5 3EP. This is proving popular and we do not wish your school to miss a place.
The morning conference is aimed at Headteachers and Chairs of Governors and tickets are priced at £55 per school. Keynote speakers will include JP Morrison, Prof Anne Moran OBE and a variety of Primary and Secondary Heads who helped shape the Report. There will be opportunities to have break out workshops to share practice.
Please note that parking is extremely limited and it would be advisable to get public transport.
Tickets as well as further details are available at the following link:
Other upcoming CPD Courses
Full details available at:
21/05/2019 - Special Educational Needs and RE – 9:30-15:30- Vaughan House
22/05/2019 - Capital Planning/ LCVAP for Governors – 12:00-15:30 – Vaughan House
HT Discussion forum
The next Headteacher Discussion Forum will take please here at Vaughan House on 9th July 13:00- 15:30
(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 email@example.com )
We are happy to publicise all sorts of achievements, although we do not usually feature OFSTED outcomes.
Many Congratulations to St Columba’s College had a Lenten Appeal where they collected 1.4 tonnes of food and toiletries which were donated to a homeless shelter and foodbanks, including Borehamwood Foodbank where Cardinal Nichols launched the Cardinal’s Appeal, along with a number of our Sixth Form students;
Congratulations again to St Columba’s students who for the past seven years, hold an annual Homeless Sleepout which takes place at St Columba’s College, in raising funds for the Open Door homeless shelter in St Albans. This year was by far the most successful, raising £3000, and involved 200 people including boys, staff and parents.