Dear friends in Catholic education, At the end of the academic year, we wish to extend sincere thanks to everyone in our Diocesan schools who have contributed to the work of Catholic education during this past school year. Our thanks go to the many members of teaching and support staff who make a difference to the lives of children every day. We are very grateful to our headteachers and school leaders, our CSELs, governors and directors for shaping this vision of Catholic education in your local communities. We recognise the many challenges you face as you support your school communities. For this we are most grateful. Thank you for all the opportunities you have taken to work together in your families of schools and to support each other in many different ways. We thank you for your cooperation with the DES and for the opportunities you provide for us to support you. In the year ahead we look forward to working together for the good of Catholic education and the mission of the Church. As we come to the end of the year, we take a moment to pause and reflect on all that has taken place. Hopefully, we can all recall moments of great joy and satisfaction from the work entrusted to us and the difference it has made to our young people. For these precious moments let us bless the Lord and be ever thankful for his guiding presence in our lives. Canon Jonathan Veasey Eric Kirwan and the DES Team
As another school year draws to a close the Catholic Education Team want to say a very big ‘thank you’ to you all for everything you do for Catholic Education. It is always a joy and a privilege to work with you whether that be on individual school visits, Cluster Group or Partnership meetings and CPDF.
A special thank you goes to those school leaders who spoke so eloquently at the recent ‘When Somebody Dies’ training which supports schools in developing their own Bereavement Policies. Over 60 schools were in attendance and greatly appreciated learning from the experiences of colleagues who have dealt with both known and unexpected loss within their school communities.
You have already received the information about the CPDF being provided by the Catholic Education Team for next year. You can book on them by following this link: Training and Events (bdes.org.uk).
We would be very grateful if you could update us with names and emails in regard to the following roles within schools: RE Lead, PICCL and Lay Chaplain.
Livesimply: Congratulations to all the schools who have achieved the award this year. We look forward to hearing of more success stories in the year to come.
CSI This year saw the introduction of the new CSI Inspection Framework for England and Wales and there is much to celebrate and acknowledge. Schools have made inspectors most welcome and have responded positively and effectively to the new framework.
Our grateful thanks also go out to all the inspectors, who have worked hard this year to ensure that judgements made using the new national framework have been securely based on evidence. And, of course, thank you to all employers who have released staff from their roles in order to undertake the statutory function of inspection. Without your generosity, it would be impossible to implement the bishops’ vision for England and Wales.
National CSI Framework Consultation: if you haven’t responded to the latest consultation you have until Friday 15 September. Please see the email from 11 July for further details. Recruitment: We are seeking to recruit some new inspectors. Current inspectors say that being an inspector is a great form of CPD and they feel privileged to serve the Catholic Church in this way. Please see the advert on our website Vacancies (bdes.org.uk). We are especially keen to hear from colleagues who will not be based in school on a daily basis and have slightly more flexible capacity to undertake inspections. Compliance checks will begin again from the week commencing 18 September. Details of what these involve are on the CSI page of our website Catholic Schools Inspection (bdes.org.uk) BUILDINGS AND FINANCE This academic year has been a very busy one for us with much work carried out. The Building & Finance Team thank you for your ongoing support and hard work to ensure that our school estate supports delivery of high-quality education across the diocese. Funding for Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools – VASCA Programme As you will be aware, we receive funding to spend on school buildings from the Department for Education (DfE) on an annual basis, this funding is allocated in accordance with DfE criteria of keeping buildings warm, safe, and dry. This year’s programme will see almost £6 million spent on more than 40 projects at VA Schools. As usual, we will be writing to all headteachers during October to ask about your building priorities for the next funding round (2023/24), please do look out for the letter so that you can contact your building professional in readiness to submit bids for funding early in the new year. In the new academic year we will be delivering half day workshops at Don Bosco House on managing your school revenue budget. Please contact Amy Majhu firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to book a place on one of the new workshops. The DfE has recently published the annual Academy trust handbook 2023. This years’ handbook is a materially shorter and sharper document. It contains several key changes along with a new schedule of ‘must do tasks’. We would recommend that you provide a summary to your boards of directors early in the new academic year, including making use of the new schedule of ‘musts’. For information, we are changing the IT platform that we use for booking places on future courses and events facilitated and delivered by DES. From September we are moving to the Eventbrite platform. EDUCATION STANDARDS Report form Ted Hammond – Deputy Director (Education Standards) Ofsted Inspections have never been far from the news headlines this academic year. Regardless of personal opinions they have continued at pace across our Diocesan Schools and the outcomes have overwhelmingly positive and in most cases the inspectors have given same judgment as suggested by the school. Inevitably there have been some inspections which we would not agree with, but these are a small minority. By Wednesday 5th July 2023 there have been 69 inspections across the Diocese (42 in the academic year 2021/22); 32 of these have been Section 5 graded inspections and 37 have been Section 8 ungraded inspections (including one monitoring inspection). Of these inspections 63 schools were judged Good or better and the monitoring inspection was also very positive. Most colleagues will understand that to secure an Outstanding judgement is demanding but 6 inspections have resulted in such a judgement including one were the school had previously been on a Requires Improvement categorization. To put these outcomes into a national context we can see that our schools are performing above the pattern for all schools. The last published report from Ofsted (Autumn 2022) highlighted that 84% of schools nationally were Good or better, the current comparable figure for Diocesan schools is 90%. For primary schools, nationally the figure is 89% whereas for our schools it is 90% and for secondary schools the figure nationally is 82% but for our 35 schools the figure is 89%. These outcomes clearly demonstrate that our schools collectively are providing quality education and I would very much like to thank all teachers and leaders for their continued commitment to the children in our schools. LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE Please keep us up to date with any changes to contact details For related queries please contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Staff Recruitment and Selection Schools are respectfully reminded that any protected positions are to be supported by the DES for the recruitment and selection process. Please contact Ted or Justine for further information or to notify us of any protected vacancies. Members of the team at the DES have been involved with the following appointments:
13 appointments of Executive Leaders with responsibilities for two schools or School Improvement support across a MAC,
17 appointments of Headteachers/Principals who have responsibility for a named school,
16 appointments of Heads of School working under an Executive Headteacher and will have secondary responsibility for named school,
25 Deputy Headteachers/Vice Principals, Assistant Principals/Assistant Headteachers working under a Headteacher/Principal and will have secondary responsibility for a named school.
The team is currently supporting the recruitment of 20 further leaders. We are here to help and support you so please give us as much notice as possible of planned recruitments and in particular, interview dates. Governor Induction and Governance Online Sessions The Governor/Director induction and briefing online sessions have been very well attended. We have already planned the next sessions, and these are available to book on our website. Next academic year, our briefing sessions for Heads/Principals and CSELs will include an invitation for Governors and Directors. There will be three, two-hour briefings taking place on the same day and will be known as ‘Leadership briefings’ and leaders will have the opportunity to choose the session most convenient for them to attend. Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher Induction Sessions Ted and Justine are currently developing material for the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher (or equivalent) induction sessions for the new academic year. There will be five sessions in total, the dates of which have already been circulated and we have sent personal invitations to all new to post from Jan 23. If we have accidentally missed you off our list, please contact Justine or Ted.
School Improvement/Standards Justine and Ted have continued to provide bespoke support and training for Heads/Principals, Governors/Directors and school staff for school improvement and upcoming Ofsted visits. These have either been in person or as virtual meetings. The BDES receives notification of Ofsted Inspections once the inspection has been confirmed and then the team contact the CSEL, Executive Heads/Principals or Headteachers/Principals to provide support and guidance during the two-day inspection. Ted or Justine also meets with/speak to the Lead Inspector/HMI to support the Inspection process. Please keep the DES up to date with any changes to contact details and positions by emailing email@example.com. We would like to take this final opportunity to thank you for all that you do in supporting the many children and young people across the diocese and wish you all a well- deserved summer break. We look forward to working with you all in the new academic year. With our thanks and prayers, The Diocesan Education Service Team