Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,
The word most associated with the month of November is Remembrance. For centuries Catholics have celebrated the Feast Days of so many Saints throughout the month as well as subtle portents of eternity. We take time to remember and pray for the dead. Our school communities have faithfully and respectfully honoured those who gave their lives for our freedom in conflict. At the same time, we remember those holy men and woman who lived lives as Saints and pray for those souls who have faithfully departed.
Life matters and November is a wonderful time to remind ourselves of that. The Education Service fully supports the Mayor of London’s campaign www.london.gov.uk/london-needs-you-alive Some of our school communities have had to deal with students who carry, or have been victims of, knives. No child in a Catholic school should carry a knife. We welcome the initiative taken by Sadiq Khan and gladly support the campaign to inform every student that London needs you alive. So does Hertfordshire and so does Surrey. Look at and share the information pack and campaign.
There are two key areas of focus this term the Education Service has concentrated on – Standards and Finance. A national working party met regularly last year to produce a skills based standards document, for piloting this academic year. We currently have 35 schools across the diocese (primary and secondary) who have volunteered to be involved in the pilot which will run from October until Easter. We will be presenting the skills document to all subject leaders at the RE Coordinators Day Conference and the Head of RE Day, both taking place in November, so all remain informed even if they do not wish to be involved currently. All schools not involved in the pilot should continue to use the Agreed Understandings of the Levels of Attainment as usual.
The Education Service has introduced a sharing platform for primary schools, which we hope will be particularly useful for RE Coordinators. Instructions, FAQs and invitations have been sent to headteachers. As a Service we have uploaded initial resources but the intention is that primary schools will share resources regularly. We hope this will be a useful platform to facilitate sharing good practice and collaboration – but will only work if people do contribute.
The explanatory information sent to headteachers stated very clearly that the Education Service does not endorse/take responsibility for any of the resources uploaded – we simply do not have the capacity to manage and approve each contribution. Schools must still use their professional discretion as to what is appropriate and accurate – and report anything that is inappropriate to the Education Service
Last year it became apparent that many RE subject leaders were not reading/did not have access to the Education Service bulletin sent to schools. The information relating to RE and Catholic Life was therefore not being received in many cases by those with direct responsibility. A half termly bulletin for RE subject leaders has been introduced that is sent directly to them electronically, as well as to their headteachers. The bulletin will contain reminders of CPD opportunities, resources and relevant news updates. We will review the contents of the bulletin to ensure it remains relevant.
The Education Service is acutely aware that the challenge of financial challenges facing all schools and colleges this year. We need to collate the information from all schools and colleges as to the scale and depth the difficulties that you face. Therefore, I urge those who have yet to do so to submit their accounts to the financial audit that was sent to all schools earlier this year. A reminder will be sent by email.
Finally, the Education Service is working closely with St Mary’s University to explore opportunities for training for middle leaders, senior leaders and governors as well as support for standards. More details will be published in January.
Thank you for all you are doing to support, promote and protect Catholic education across our Diocese.
With best wishes.
Director of Education
The Diocese warmly invites all Secondary Assistant and Deputy Head Teachers, to the annual day conference taking place at Vaughan House on 23rd November. We have two outstanding speakers booked for the day, Canon Luiz Ruscillo and Dr Richard Wilkin, as well as an opportunity to share good practice. We would encourage every secondary school in the diocese to send at the very least one member of their Senior Leadership Team to this day. Evaluations from last year were incredibly positive and we know the quality of the speakers this year will only build on that success.
To book please use the following link:
Contact: Amanda Crowley, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0207798 9182
The Diocese warmly invites all secondary chaplains, and those with responsibility for liturgy in a secondary school, to a Chaplaincy Day on Friday 24th November from 9.30-3pm at The Centre for Youth Ministry, 20 Phoenix Road, London, NW1 1TA. The aim of this course is to provide an opportunity to promote good chaplaincy provision through professional development and an exchange of personal experience.
This day will focus in particular on supporting chaplains as they help students and staff facing bereavement and Katrina Avery from Rainbows Bereavement Support will be speaking. Katrina is the Rainbows Director and was a lay chaplain in a Catholic secondary school. She knows first-hand what a difference bereavement support can make to a student who has experienced significant loss in their lives and Katrina will both support and encourage the work chaplains do with bereaved students and deliver further training to help them.
The cost for the day is £55 which includes an experienced speaker - Katrina Avery, lunch and refreshments.
To book please use the following link:
All schools should now have submitted their draft admission arrangements to the diocese. They are being processed as quickly as possible. For those schools intending to go out to consultation (i.e. those who have made changes to their policy or SIF), the documents need to be sent out by 18th December at the latest. Most LAs will give assistance with this and schools will then just need to send the documents to parents, parishes, pre-schools and put them on their website. For further information on this please contact: email@example.com
This new regulation comes into force on 25th May 2018. However, it is important that preparations are made now, so as to be ready for the new law and to ensure that your school is compliant. Many of the concepts and principles are the same as in the current Data Protection Act 1998, however, there are some new elements and changes to the way things are done. Implementing the new regulation will have resource implications and it is important that we are prepared for this.
Consider the following:
- Ensure that all staff and governors are aware of the changes and of any areas of possible difficulty;
- Do an audit of the personal data that you hold, where it came from and who you share it with;
- Review your current privacy notices and plan for any necessary changes;
- Check your procedures to ensure that they cover the rights of individuals, including the right to be informed, right of access, right to rectification, right to erasure, right to strict processing, right to data portability, right to object and the right not to be subject to automated decision-making;
- Update your subject access request procedures (you will have a month to comply instead of 40 days);
- Identify the lawful basis for your processing of personal data (people will have a stronger right to have their data deleted);
- Review how you seek, record and manage consent – do they meet the new standard?;
- Consider any online services you may offer children, how you obtain consent and from what age must the parent consent;
- Ensure you have the procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach;
- Think about the need for Data Protection Impact Assessments;
- Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance;
- Visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website for full information on the GDPR;
- Send a governor and member of school staff to the training session at Vaughan House on 2nd December 2017. The session will cover Freedom of Information and Data Protection, including the new regulation.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This course for Deputy Headteachers, which aims to help them consider and prepare for Leadership of Catholic Primary Schools is being held on Thursday 14th December at Vaughan House 9.30 -3.30pm
Contact: Michael Corcoran, email@example.com, 0207 798 9195
As an advisory team we are eager to promote good practice throughout the Diocese. We have therefore begun to collate resources on a sharing platform called Slack. At the moment we have populated it with useful resources. An initial invitation has been sent to your Head Teacher to allow your school access to the platform. Examples of resources currently on SLACK include links to the different RE schemes, how to plan acts of worship and examples of creativity within RE lessons. We encourage all RE coordinators to sign on and have a look around the site. The intention is for all schools to upload resources to share throughout the Diocese. If you are having difficulty in assessing the site, please let your Adviser know.
Contact: Diana Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org 02077989195
The following schools have kindly organised to host Teach Meets. These are a brilliant opportunity to share good practice and moderate. If you would like to attend please contact the relevant RE teacher using the email address beneath.
- Nicholas Breakspear, A Level Edexcel, 23rd November
Hannah McDonald - McDonaldH@nbs.herts.sch.uk
- Bishop Challoner, GCSE AQA, date tbc
Samantha Alder - email@example.com
Contact: Trisha Hedley firstname.lastname@example.org, 0207 798 9192
The whole framework for KS3 People of God is now complete. There are more resources being produced termly for the KS3 People of God so do check out the website or register at http://www.peopleofgod.co.uk/
Contact: Claire O’Neill email@example.com 02077989192
(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 results.