A Reflection As we start a new academic year, we begin to consider the implementation of the Diocesan Vision and “The Unfolding of God’s Plan”. As we do so it is worth pondering on the words of our prayer for the Diocesan Vision. This prayer is so relevant for each and every one of us working in Catholic education. It shows us that we are all part of our Diocesan Vision and so we all have a role to play in ‘unfolding God’s plan’.
Prayer for the Vision of the Archdiocese Spirit of God, descend on me this day. grant me the Spirit of joy, to lift me, the spirit of hope to inspire me, the spirit of love to surround me and the spirit of truth to enlighten my path.
Holy Spirit, I pray for a new outpouring of your grace, so that I may grow in worship of your name in love of you in my prayer and in my actions towards others.
Come Holy Spirit into my life to guide me. Strengthen and defend me, So that I may be drawn ever closer to you. Help me this day and always to be a channel of grace in all I say and do and invite others into relationship with you.
A warm welcome back to a new academic year. We hope that you have all managed to have an enjoyable and restful summer holiday.
As we return to work, and slowly life begins to return to semblance of normality, we look forward to being able to visit and work with schools. This is an exciting time which we look forward to with a great sense of hope and optimism as we emerge from the last two years of challenge that the pandemic has brought us.
Filled with this anticipation, and the need for the strength to undertake the work that we face, we will be delivering our first diocesan headteachers’ retreat later in the term, which we hope will bring spiritual strength and renewal in our headteachers.
Don Bosco house is now open for business and meetings and training will be taking place as usual so please check the website for events. We look forward to seeing you soon and welcoming you to the DES offices. As a professional courtesy we will maintain some aspects of good practice to ensure the safety and well being of both our visitors and staff. There will be some events that may continue as virtual meetings where it is deemed to be in the best interests of efficiency and preference of delegates.
There have been a number of staff changes over the summer, as reported in our previous newsletter, and new and exciting opportunities will be soon available for those interested in joining the DES team. Watch this space and keep an eye on our website: http://www.bdes.org.uk/vacancies.html
It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the sudden and unexpected deaths over the summer holidays of John Farrell (recent headteacher of Bishop Walsh and CSEL for John Paul II MAC) and Mary Atterbury the deputy headteacher at St Thomas More, Willenhall. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
CATHOLIC EDUCATION The Catholic Education Team send a warm welcome to you all at the start of this new school year especially to those who are new to post. We are delighted that this year we will be able to be out and about visiting schools, delivering INSET and holding Cluster Group/partnership Meetings. as was our practice pre-Covid. Please be assured that as part of our precautions all of the advisers are carrying out lateral flow tests twice weekly.
Maggie Duggan – Deputy Director for Catholic Education Rebecca Brolly - Primary Adviser David Harris - Primary Adviser Richard Smith - Secondary Adviser Ben McArdle – Senior Adviser for Section 48 Inspections Beccy Roseman - Lay Chaplaincy Coordinator
You can contact members of the Catholic Education team via email, through their office number and through their work mobile. Please do get in touch if you have any questions or queries. We are always willing to offer whatever guidance and support that we can. The contact details can be found here https://www.bdes.org.uk/the-des-team.html
SECTION 48 As outlined at July’s Inspection Briefing, a full programme of Section 48 inspections is planned for this term, with the first schools having already been notified. A brand new inspection cycle has launched, with schools currently graded less than Good and those who were originally scheduled (i.e., prior to the pandemic) to be inspected by July 2020 being prioritised in the first instance. Once these schools have been inspected, all others will be inspected in due course. Schools inspected in the current academic year will be inspected against our current Section 48 framework, whilst inspections from September 2022 will be under the Catholic Schools Inspection framework. Monitoring Visits and Compliance Checks remain suspended for the whole of this academic year. Further information is available on the Section 48 page of our website http://www.bdes.org.uk/section-48.html Training is available for Senior and Middle Leaders, Governors and the SEF Writing Workshop is also being run. Booking for all courses is via the calendar http://www.bdes.org.uk/training-and-events1.html Support for the launch of CSI will be made available in due course.
Chaplaincy Mass This year’s Chaplaincy Mass is taking place on Tuesday 28 September at St. Chad’s Cathedral at 10:30. It will be great to see our Lay Chaplains gathered together again. For more information please contact Beccy Roseman.
Congratulations A big congratulations to St. Chad’s Primary, Newtown for leading CAFOD’s ‘Go Green’ National Assembly on 16 September. It was wonderful to see the children presenting so well and sharing such an important message during this Season of Creation. If you haven’t seen it yet you can still access it here https://cafod.org.uk/News/Events/National-assemblies
Pilgrimage to Assisi A small group of children and staff from St. Francis of Assisi in Handsworth, accompanied by their parish priest Fr. Kelly, are going on pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi at the end of this month. The pilgrims will actually be in Assisi for the Feast of St. Francis on October 4 which is also the last day of the Season of Creation. We thought it would be a lovely idea if they were able to take with them a prayer intention from any school in the Diocese so that it can be offered up in the very place where St. Francis lived. We intend to do this virtually and details will be sent out to schools over the coming days.
A Prayer from The Book of Blessings God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Let us ask him to bless those who seek to learn and their teachers. For students, that the Spirit of God may grant them the gifts of wisdom of understanding. For teachers, that they may share their knowledge with gentleness, patience, and concern for their students. Amen.
EDUCATION STANDARDS The published pupil outcomes in 2021 were once again determined by school-based assessment of students. As such it is very difficult to look at three-year trends and, comparisons can only really be made with the 2020 outcomes data. Nevertheless, there is much to celebrate in the data that we have collected from our Secondary Schools. At Key Stage 4 the numbers of numbers completing Year 11 remains relatively stable at just under 6,000 students. In 2021 the outcomes data highlights an increase in the average Attainment 8 score across the Diocese as well as the percentage of pupils awarded a Grade 5 or better in both English and Maths (this is now over 52%). Encouragingly, the number of students securing an award for a full GCSE RE course increased and 77% of the students secured a Grade 4 or better. The Post 16 results are also positive with our students entering both academic and vocational courses. The total number of students completing year 13 remains relatively stable (just below 2,400) and the outcomes show impressive increases in the percentage of A*/A grades at A level. The number of students studying RE A level increased by nearly 8% which reverses a recent trend and even more encouraging is the significant increase in A*/A grades. In 2022 it is expected that there will be a return to assessment by examinations for Key Stage 2, 4 & 5 and we will discuss the full implication of this as detail emerge.
The first Headteacher (and CSEL) Briefing sessions this year will be on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th November (09.15 to 12.00) and these will be virtual meetings. You will be able to book for one of these sessions from Monday 20th September.
BUILDINGS AND FINANCE Updates The summer is a busy time for our team with many building projects being carried out at schools. Over 50 projects are either complete or nearing completion funded from the School Condition Allocation (VASCA) Grant which represents more than £5 million of investment in our school estate this year alone! Work is also progressing well on some secondary school expansions across the diocese that represents a further £12 million of investment in Catholic schools.
Thank you to all of our schools that have paid their annual charge. These payments are required before the end of September so we would appreciate all of the remaining schools to make this payment promptly before the end of the month. Thank you for your cooperation.
A bid for funding from the phase 2 public sector decarbonisation scheme has also been submitted by the team at the DES to secure funding to develop decarbonisation plans for school sites. If successful surveys will be carried out at several schools. The scheme aims to tackle one of the greatest challenges to the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target – decarbonising the way buildings are heated. Further information will be available in due course. The team welcomes Elizabeth Hodgins who joins us as a finance officer based at Don Bosco House, Liz will be taking over Sharon Leahy’s former role.
Reminders Thank you to those schools that have already completed and submitted their statutory testing and compliance returns, we ask for the remaining returns to be provided by 24th September please.
The bidding window will open shortly for Voluntary Aided Schools to apply for VASCA capital funding for 2022, all school leaders will receive an email with further information at the beginning of October with bids being submitted by mid-January 2022.
Thank you to all involved in Catholic Education in our Archdiocese and your help in pursing the BDES Mission: To announce the joy of the Gospel by making Christ known today through securing, protecting and improving the provision of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
Welcome to Our New Senior Leaders A warm welcome to all of our newly appointed senior leaders. We have a wonderful group of Principals/Headteachers, Heads of School, Vice Principals/Deputy Headteachers across the Archdiocese who started in role, many during the height of the challenging Covid period. We will be inviting all those who were appointed last academic year and at the start of this to participate in the relevant Archdiocesan Induction programme which we hope to hold predominately in person this year. We are also seeking to engage experienced Catholic leaders to provide important mentorship to them. If you have any questions in this respect, please do email Yvonne Salter Wright on email@example.com At the start of the academic year, there have also been many changes within our Boards and governing bodies, particularly Chairs, Vice Chairs and Clerks. Induction sessions for members of local governing bodies in VA schools and Multi Academy Companies are currently being planned. These will be twilight sessions held via zoom. As soon as dates are available, these will be circulated so that new governors can register to attend. While Directors are welcome to attend these sessions, we are also reviewing Director induction and hope to provide further information in this respect later this term.
Governance Application Forms Can all schools please ensure that governor application forms are always accessed from the DES’ website at http://www.bdes.org.uk/governance.html Forms have been recently updated so any other versions retained in school will now be obsolete. Please make sure that any old forms are destroyed, and the current form is obtained from the above link when a prospective governor needs to access a form for completion.
To ensure that Diocesan information is correctly recorded and DES communications reach the appropriate people, please ensure that any changes in membership, roles or contact information for Boards and governing bodies are forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org and for senior leadership staff to email@example.com. These email addresses should also be used for all general governance and leadership queries as they are monitored by more than one member of DES staff.
Admissions and Appeals There have been a number of emails sent out in relation to Admissions and Appeals due to the revised School Admissions Code coming into effect on 1 September 2021 and temporary appeals legislation being extended due to the ongoing Covid situation. If there have been any changes in members of staff who deal with school admissions on a day to day basis, please notify Rebecca Tonks (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can ensure our records are updated and new staff are copied into any admissions and appeals emails.
MUST KNOW for all in our MACs and Schools: New Safeguarding Statutory Guidance and Ofsted Sexual Abuse Review and Recommendations While we all may engage in different ways with our Schools and Multi Academies, understanding statutory requirements in relation to safeguarding as well as your role in ensuring a positive safeguarding culture is critical for all those who work in and with children and young adults. The Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) Document has been updated and the new version came into force from 1 September 2021. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2 All should at minimum read Part 1 of the new guidance. A table of substantive changes between the 2020 and 2021 KCSIE document is included at Annex G. Please also note that Part 3 on safer recruitment has been substantively restructured and should be reviewed by anyone involved in recruitment and appointment of staff or volunteers.
Additionally, Ofsted published its Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges in June 2021. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-sexual-abuse-in-schools-and-colleges/review-of-sexual-abuse-in-schools-and-colleges All should be aware of the key findings. The report concludes that many teachers and leaders consistently underestimate the scale of these problems and that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse has become ‘normalised’ for children and young people. Do please review the specific recommendations for governors and directors/trustees set out in the report, including a recommendation that ALL leaders act on the assumption that sexual harassment is affecting their pupils, to have more enhanced methods of listening to pupils and taking a whole-school approach to ensuring sexual harassment is not tolerated.
Opportunity to Join the BDES as Senior Advisor A new role of Senior Advisor (Senior Leadership Recruitment and Training) at BDES has been developed and will be advertised in the near future. It is a brilliant opportunity to engage with multi academies and schools across the Archdiocese and to play a key role in team’s mission through its work in securing and sustaining Catholic senior leadership. The role will be instrumental in supporting senior leader recruitment and selection and well as developing effective induction, briefing and training. If you might be interested, please do contact Yvonne Salter Wright at email@example.com This and other upcoming vacancies will be posted on the BDES website at: http://www.bdes.org.uk/vacancies.html
Recent Multi Academy Developments Six Schools Join a MAC Family We welcomed on 1 September 2021 another 6 schools joining our Multi Academy Companies, bringing the total number of conversions to 143 across 16 MACs.
The Rosary St Teresa of Calcutta
St Chad's St Teresa of Calcutta
St Joseph's, Nechells St Teresa of Calcutta
St John Bosco, Primary St John Bosco
St Bernadette's, Brownhills St John Bosco
St Christopher's St Francis and St Clare
Creation of Our Lady of the Magnificat Multi Academy Company We continue to work with our Multi Academy Companies in their development and are pleased to announce that Holy Family and Our Lady of Lourdes MACs merged on 1 September 2021 and are now known as Our Lady of the Magnificat Multi Academy Company [ https://www.magnificat.org.uk/ ].
Planning for Future Conversions Following the letter from His Grace in June 2021, we look forward to working with all of those schools that have not yet joined a MAC, as well as the MACS that are seeking to grow and merge. The DES team are currently supporting a number of schools across the Archdiocese with their plans to convert in the current academic year. Our staff will be in contact in due course to arrange meetings to help governors to move forward, in accordance with the wishes of the Archbishop.
In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1