Dear Colleague in Catholic Education,
The American writer Henry Adams once wrote “During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa”. He had a point. At this extremely important time for our country it is critical our community does what it can to protect and secure Catholic Education. In examining the main political parties’ legislative agendas they could have a direct impact on both Catholic Education and the curriculum that is taught in schools. We have to be very conscious that in securing a future our political parties are very clear where we stand and what we expect them to do in support of Catholic Education. Bishop +Marcus Stock, the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, has identified in his paper “Why Catholic schools matter in this General Election” key components that must be protected. He argues we must be sure where political parties stand on the issue of core principles. Not least the core principles which protect the ethos of Catholic Schools and the distinctive nature they provide. Among these are the ability to give priority to school’s admission criteria to Catholic children; the Bishop’s right to appoint a majority of the schools Governors; the right to reserve the schools Senior Leadership posts for Catholics; and the right to teach and inspect religious education. We hope that all political parties will respect and protect religious education as a core element of the curriculum.
We seek to hear political parties demonstrate real support and action for school leaders, teachers and staff and invest in the vocation of teaching. There needs to be education funding that is more sustainable for the long term and not just to cover the cracks created by systemic underfunding in recent years. There needs to be a national debate on education that is positive and constructive. Teaching is a profession that provides an abundance of grace for all those who have chosen to serve and we seek new opportunities to attract new teachers to the profession. It is important that we have clarity from the political parties on relationship and sex education based on the formation of the whole child. Well taught and appropriate relationship and sex education should be at the core of what we do. While we are confident that the model curriculum in Catholic schools to deliver RSE is in accordance with the teachings of the Church and the wishes of parents, the same cannot be said for other schools. Hence, for Catholic parents who do not have the option to send their child to a Catholic school, it is vital that this parental right remains in place. As a community, we have provided our schools as part of the commitment to the common good of society and the education of young people in our diocese. Discussion and debate in our schools regarding politics is healthy and important. It is a time where our pupils can learn more about the way the teachings of Christ should shape how we serve our country. Decisions made today will affect their future and we welcome the opportunity to stand up for what we hold true and believe in.
The Education Service has been working closely this term on how best to help schools on Finance, Governance and Standards. As part of the expanding Academy programme the Education Service has employed experts to help the current 13 schools who are completing their due diligence in these key areas. The lessons learned will be shared with all schools. Another key element of our work this term is analysing the drop in applications to our Primary schools, particularly in central London. As this trend started three years ago, it is vital we have the cooperation of all schools in submitting their Pupil Placement Data to Nigel Spears. We are doing everything we can to ensure any recommendations presented to the Trustees going forward is based on the best way to protect and secure our schools. That requires quality intelligence and readily accessible data. Nigel Spears has outlined in this bulletin his desire to gain more information from our schools and full compliance in data submission. It is crucial that all schools comply with this request. Please complete our online form: http://w.pfrms.co/87zbs if you have not already done so. Without it our hands are tied to make the right recommendations based on evidence for the future. Sharing with you the outcomes of this data research is vital too.
Finally, I am delighted that our new Events and Marketing Coordinator, Diwura Olayinka, – known as Dee – has settled in so well to her new role. We are very grateful to her for the contribution she is making to the team.
Thank you for all you are doing to support, promote and protect Catholic education across our Diocese.
With best wishes.
Director of EducationRelationship and Sex Education Expand
The government has issued some guidance on parental consultation on RSE. It has some guidance on how and why to engage with parents on RSE and some case studies which you might find useful. We will be following up on this on day 2 of our training on RSE policy and practice to explore what consultation should look like in our schools.
Contact: Trisha Hedley firstname.lastname@example.orgPrimary Standards Training – Tracking Expand
The Primary Team has scheduled three Assessment and Tracking training days on 8th ,15th and 28th January to support schools who are engaging with the Standards Framework. During the day there will be an opportunity to explore expectations within Religious Education books; analyse and discern skills development in relation to Attainment Target 3 (AT3); and examine current examples of Tracking Systems. The course is free of charge but, due to room capacity, only one delegate per school may attend. Lunch will not be provided so please bring your own. If you have any questions contact your Adviser.
Booking can be made using the following links:
Contact Diana Roberts email@example.comPrimary Standards – Year Six Advent Assessment Target 3: Analysis and Evaluation Task Expand
In order to support teachers with their understanding of Attainment Target 3 we have created an analysis and evaluation task entitled, “Gaudete Sunday is the most important Sunday of Advent.” A supporting document and Powerpoint have been emailed to Religious Education Coordinators. These resources can be found on SLACK within the ‘Standards’ channel. The Primary Team have suggested schools engage with the task and submit three samples by 3 December. These will be analysed using comparative judgement. The intention is to create a diagnostic report to develop and exemplify the progression of skills.
Contact Diana Roberts firstname.lastname@example.orgNew Foundation Stones Course – Westminster Expand
Foundation Stones is a twelve hour introductory course to Catholicism. Participants learn about the key Catholic beliefs and practices and the course is structured to allow participants to discuss and gain insights into the Catholic faith. This will in turn support teachers’ RE teaching and the Catholic Life of the school.
Please sign up for the new Foundation Stones course starting in Westminster, Upper Thames, Lea Valley and North London next term.
The cost of Foundation Stones is £200 per staff member or £300 per school for two or more staff members. Please use this link to find out more and book – https://education.rcdow.org.uk/foundation-stones-2019-2020/
Contact Claire O’Neill email@example.comCCRS News Expand
“There was a real sense of spirituality in this topic. It really brought the reality of my faith home.”
“……. how active and relatable the teacher made the sessions as they were stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking. The unit was fantastic.”
“The tutor helped us bond with her amazing style of imparting knowledge. She was a truly inspirational speaker.”
Above are just a few of the very positive comments received from teachers studying for CCRS. It is of great benefit to all teachers and particularly for those considering a leadership post.
A new CCRS course will be starting at St. Ignatius Catholic Primary, Sunbury-on-Thames on 16 January 2020. This will be taught as Thursday twilight sessions, 4 – 6pm – everyone is welcome to join – and we are very grateful to the host school for providing the venue.
There are two other courses currently running where you can still join the course:
- Bishop Challoner School, Tower Hamlets, running on Mondays from 4-6pm.
- Vaughan House, Westminster from 10–3.30pm. running on two consecutive Saturdays per module. Module Three: 01 and 08 February; Module Four: 29 February and 14 March.
Although the first two modules at both venues have taken place, it is not too late to join either course. Please send registration forms for any of the three courses as soon as possible – these, along with a course overview can be found at:
For further information please contact: Liz O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org 07738183831ADMISSIONS UPDATE Expand
Admission Arrangements 2021 – 2022
All schools should, by now, have sent their policy and SIF for 2021-2022 to the Diocese for comment. Following this, the arrangements will either go out to consultation or back to governors for determination.
It is recommended that the latest date for sending documents out to consultation should be 16th December 2019. Advice on the consultation process can be found in the previous bulletin.
Published Admission Number (PAN)
The PAN, which must be stated in the admissions policy, applies to the number of children being admitted that year in the main co-ordinated admissions round. It only refers to Reception, (Year 3 for junior schools), Year 7 and Year 12. Admissions to all other years are considered ‘in-year’.
Use of the Certificate of Catholic Practice (CCP)
Schools are advised that the use of the CCP in schools that are not oversubscribed with Catholic applicants is not appropriate. The diocesan published guidance on the use of the Certificate of Catholic Practice is as follows:
‘A higher test than ‘Catholic’ (i.e. that of ‘practising Catholic’) must not be used unless there is an absolute shortage of places in the locality. An absolute shortage of places is not to be confused with oversubscription at a particular school. When there are sufficient places in Catholic schools within the locality for all Catholic children, other criteria should be used to distribute the places available on an equitable basis. In order for the governing body to decide whether it needs to use the test of ‘practising Catholic’, it will need to seek the agreement of the diocese, since the diocese will have the information about the availability of places in Catholic schools in the locality.’
There will be training for panel members and clerks willing to serve on admission appeals panels, on 30th January 10.00a.m. – 3.00pm. This training is also open to those wishing to learn more about the appeals process.
For further information please contact email@example.comCAPITAL Expand
Capital Work Protocol
Reminder: Schools must employ the services of a Diocesan Approved Buildings Consultant when planning, specifying, procuring and delivering any Capital Works Project. This directive is based on the advice of legal counsel and is intended to protect both the owner and occupier of a Catholic School. It is also set out in the model Protocol document.
The Diocesan Trustees appreciate the efforts that school make to stretch funding as far as possible. However, they have determined that they can no longer accept the potential jeopardy that local procurement creates for school staff/governors/directors and for the Trustees themselves. Governors and CAT Directors are asked to ensure that all of their employees understand and comply with this latest protocol.
PUPIL PLACEMENT PLANNING
Enumeration Day 2019 – Thursday 31st October
Thank you to those colleagues who ensured that the submission from their school was received before the deadline. Unfortunately, there are a significant number of missing returns and these omissions seriously compromise the usefulness of our Catholic data in discussions with Local Authorities and Central Government.
We need you to submit your data if you have not already done so as soon as possible. The Diocese is the only organisation that reviews data related to the Religious Heritage of the pupils attending Catholic Schools. They are currently considering options for rewarding those schools that do comply with data submission requests.
The link to the online form is: http://w.pfrms.co/87zbs
Contact: Nigel Spears. firstname.lastname@example.org, 07738183828
The Application Portal for 2020/2021 Projects is now closed. Many thanks to the 120+ schools that submitted applications by the deadline. As in previous years, the level of need significantly exceeds the anticipated grant. We continue to negotiate with the DfE as the retirement of LCVAP approaches and the NEW SCA/CIF process is introduced. Unfortunately, the Government is currently in Purdah during the General Election and this is affecting the negotiation position of civil servants. Hopefully, things will return to normal when a new Government is elected.
Contact: Nigel Spears. email@example.com, 07738183828
Land and Buildings Collection Tool (LBCT) – Focus on Academies
The LBCT process for 2019 is complete. Many thanks to all Academy Colleagues that ensured that their data was uploaded in sufficient time for us to process. We are currently participating in a “lessons learned” review with DfE/ESFA researchers in an effort to continue to improve the submission and validation processes.
Contact: Nigel Spears. firstname.lastname@example.org, 07738183828
Asbestos Management Awareness Process (AMAP)
We have been advised by the DfE that that 12 Schools in Westminster Diocese have failed to engage with AMAP. Each of these schools will be contacted again this week to complete the appropriate paperwork.
This means that the Governing Body of these 12 schools has failed to access the Online Portal at anytime during the last two rounds (last 18 months). The AMAP Portal is still live and can be accessed by schools (operational level submissions – partial assurance) and Governing Bodies (executive level submission – full assurance). If you cannot locate your login details, please contact Nigel Spears for assistance.
Also, there are a number of schools where the Executive has not fully assured the submission registered by the school. If you wish to improve your assurance status, please contact Nigel Spears for contact details.
Contact: Nigel Spears. email@example.com, 07738183828CARITAS AMBASSADORS Expand
Caritas Westminster is committed to supporting schools in deepening and developing their Catholic life, particularly through Catholic Social Teaching. They are currently working with several schools across the diocese to pilot their new Caritas Ambassador programme. This aims to equip pupils with a strong understanding of CST and how they can put it into action in their daily lives. The programme runs through six key themes of CST, helping pupils to think about social justice issues in their local community, before taking them through developing and running their own social action project. It will also introduce them to the work of Caritas Westminster, offering practical examples of how we use Catholic Social Teaching to influence our work.
As Caritas Ambassadors the children will be leaders of social action in the school, with an increased understanding of the issues faced by their local community and how they and their fellow pupils can address these to create a fairer society. The Ambassadors will be awarded badges, and they and the school will also receive certificates.
The programme materials have been geared towards Year 5 for primary schools and Years 8-10 at secondary level, and each of the eleven sessions comes with a PowerPoint, resources and detailed lesson plan – but the programme can be adapted, to fit different schools’ needs.
To find out more about this, and how else Caritas Westminster can support your school in developing its Catholic life and outreach, please contact CaritasAmbassadors@rcdow.org.ukGOOD NEWS AND SAD NEWS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org )
We are happy to publicise all sorts of achievements, although we do not usually feature OFSTED outcomes.
Many Congratulations to St Bernadette’s Primary School, Harrow awarded Primary Science Quality Mark.
St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls, Enfield for informing us that one of their students, Julia Faron, one of their Year 9 students, has won the Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition. This means that her design will be used by the Mayor of London and will be sent to many dignitaries, including the Queen. Naturally, school are all very proud of Julia, as are we and we thank them for sharing.
We were sad to hear of the death of ALPH REILLY a former Headteacher in this diocese. Alph’s funeral will be held in Lancashire on Friday 29th November 2019, but there will be a Memorial Mass at St Edmund’s in Richmond on Saturday 7th December at 10.30 a.m. May he rest in peace!