The Diocesan Education Service wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that you have returned to school refreshed and invigorated after the Christmas holidays. It is a busy term in all aspects of our work with a lot taking place and as such this term’s newsletter is a long one! We suggest that you take time to read it so that you are aware of everything that is going on – including the changes to the DES team in the general information section. We will of course, whenever possible, provide further details on our website.
“Lord, As we begin a new year we pray that You will bless all that we do for our schools across the diocese and we keep in our prayers all the children and families in our school communities that they may all enjoy a successful year in 2020. Amen.”
RSE: The Ten:Ten workshop takes place on Monday 3 February. As demand has been so popular an additional date has been arranged for Friday 14 February and the link to the booking form is below http://w.pfrms.co/htn50
Rainbows and ‘When Somebody Dies’ training: Rainbows ‘When Somebody Dies’: Sadly, each year several of our schools will have to face the loss of members of their school communities through illness or accidents. These events cannot always be anticipated but it is important that schools know what to do when such tragedies occur. To assist schools in preparing for such instances a half-day course for school leaders is being held on 23 June and will be led by a member of the Rainbows organisation. Please use the following link to book onto this training: http://w.pfrms.co/hq97j
New and refresher Rainbows Bereavement Support GB training sessions will be offered to staff in school this year by the Diocesan Advisors for Catholic Education team. In addition there will be training available for Headteachers about devising a school policy based on the Rainbows ‘When Somebody Dies’ resource. Information about both these training opportunities will be available at the Headteacher Briefing. https://rainbowsgb.org/
The God Who Speaks: This initiative got off to a fantastic start with many schools and parishes celebrating Bambinelli. Thank you to everyone for such a great response. If you haven’t seen the photos do look at them on the Flickr pages of the Archdiocese https://www.flickr.com/photos/155145153@N08/ Our scripture quotations for this term are Spring 1: “Here is the light you will reveal to the nations” Luke 2: 32 Spring 2: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said”Luke 1:38 Simeon’s words shared in the Gospel for the Feast of the Presentation (February 2) remind us that not only is Jesus the Word made flesh but that he has come to save all not just some. On this day the Church remembers this event and celebrates it by blessing all of the candles to be used in Church over the coming year. Schools could present classes with new candles and bless them at this time. Interstingly, for Orthodox Catholics, this feast marks the end of the Christmas Season falling exactly 40 days after the birth of Our Lord.
Don’t forget that Sunday 26 January is the very first Day of the Word which has been introduced into the Cycle of Prayer by Pope Francis. There is a prayer of blessing for bibles which you could use. You will find this here https://www.bdes.org.uk/catholic-education.html
Weekly meditations by Fr Dries van den Akker on the paintings of St Matthew's Gospel by Peter Clare: The Archdiocese are providing these on their own God Who Speaks section and you may find them useful for your own personal prayer and reflection during this year, or for use with staff and/or pupils. Please follow the link for more information https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/pages/category/matthews-gospel-reflections-2020
Chaplaincy Team Training Day Feb 5th 10-2pm at St Francis of Assisi College, Aldridge: This is the second day for those undertaking the Chaplaincy Team Certificate this year! Secondary Chaplaincy INSET - Wednesday March 4th: Focusing on The God Who Speaks a day led by Catholic Writer and Poet Sarah De Nordwell. She will help us explore the Year of the Word and give concrete resources for exploring this further with our young people.
CAFOD has new resources available now: CAFOD Lent materials are now live: cafod.org.uk/secondary/lent). Resources for prayer and liturgy as well as fundraising, this year for the Amazon people. Fast Day is Friday 6 March. CAFOD is the development agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Thank you for your support.
FREE British Council-supported CPD courses run by CAFOD, including a folder packed with resources. “It’s a fast paced and informative course. It allows the opportunity to think more deeply, not only when planning for pupils but about our own beliefs and ideals.” – RE teacher in Hexham and Newcastle: cafod.org.uk/connectingclassrooms
LOOKING AHEAD Campaign In April, CAFOD launches its campaign ‘Generations Unite’, leading up to the climate meeting COP26 in Glasgow this November. A guide will be mailed to Heads of RE after Easter. Please look out for it and watch the website. Thank you.
Harvest and Advent materials – will also have an Amazon theme this year. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT Ofsted: During the Autumn Term we had 21 inspections. These were a combination of Section 5, Section 8 and monitoring visits. The vast majority of these inspections retained their ‘good’ judgement. Please be aware that a few of our inspections were at least a term earlier than expected and in addition we still have schools awaiting inspection that was expected in the Summer term 2019. The message here is that we can never predict with certainty when an inspection is going to take place. Subjects chosen as ‘deep dives’ include; reading, writing, maths, science, geography, history, computing, PE and MfL.
Section 48: During the Autumn Term eight Section 48 inspections took place. Again, the vast majority retained their ‘good’ judgement.
Catholic School Inspection (CSI): In December, the Bishops' Conference formally approved the proposal for a National Framework for Inspection, including the national recruitment, training and accreditation of inspectors. The Framework will be approved (and subsequently revised) by the Bishops' Conference Department of Education and Formation. This is excellent news and means that the next stage of completing the process part of the handbook and planning the training of inspectors can now begin in earnest. The Bishops agreed that the National Framework is to be implemented in all dioceses by September 2021, with some piloting taking place beforehand. Full updates, including further consultation periods, will be issued to headteachers, chairs of governors and chairs of directors as they become available.
SEF Writing Workshop: A workshop based on how to best complete a S48 SEF is planned for Tuesday 30 June at Don Bosco House. It is anticipated that following input from members of the DES Team in the morning, delegates will have the opportunity to work on their SEF’s, in the afternoon, with members of the inspection and RE advisory teams on hand, if desired. It may be useful for two people to attend from any one school, to enable a collaborative approach. Further information on how to book on to this course will be circulated in due course.
LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE Leadership Conference: This year’s annual leadership conference for Head Teachers, CSELs and Chairs is being held at the ICC on Friday 19th June 2020. The theme for the conference is ‘The God who Speaks.’ We look forward to welcoming an exciting range of speakers to enthuse, re-energise and revisit with school leaders who God is calling them to be. The booking proform for the Conference will be circulated before half term. It is strongly recommended that you sign up early to secure your place.
Catholic Senior Executive Leader (CSEL): This spring the DES is also hosting a national conference for CSEL’s and CEO’s in our Catholic Multi Academy Companies and Trusts. We look forward to welcoming 40 delegates to Don Bosco House on Thursday 26th March 2020. Attendance at this conference is by invitation only. Further information on the CSEL role and developments related to it will be shared in the spring term Head Teacher briefings, at Governor Briefings and Chairs of MAC meetings.
The DES is also offering a further briefing session [5.00pm to 6.30pm on Wed 29th April, at Don Bosco House] to all those interested in learning more about the CSEL role. Those wishing to attend should register using the proform on the BDES website.
Admissions: Please remember that schools are required by the School Admissions Code to ensure that the admissions policy for the academic year 2021/2022 is determined by Governors by 28th February. It must then be sent to Rebecca Tonks here at the BDES (email@example.com), your home local authority and be published on your schools website by 15th March. Please send it in to us ahead of this date if you are able to. The whole day training on School Admissions and Appeals that were held during the autumn term is being repeated on Tuesday 31st March. Any staff who deal with school admissions are encouraged to attend. Places can be booked via our website here. Schools are required to publish an appeals timetable on their website by 28th February. A template for schools to use to help them with this will be sent out closer to the date.
Multi Academy Company Admissions Policies: A Multi Academy Company (MAC) is the admissions authority for all schools within the MAC. Under the MAC’s Scheme of Delegation, management of the current admissions policy is delegated to each school. Where there is a requirement to change a school’s admissions policy, approval is required by the MAC Board of Directors.
Governance Details: Please ensure that any membership changes to your governing body are passed onto us so that our records are maintained accurately. For Academy schools, these should be sent to Liz Buck (firstname.lastname@example.org) and for Voluntary Aided schools they should be sent to Charlotte Kirby (email@example.com)
Governor/Director Training: Governor Induction training is being run here at Don Bosco House on Thursday 6th February and Friday 7th February. Places can be booked via our website here. Director Induction Briefing is scheduled to be held at Don Bosco House on Thursday 13th February. Places can be booked via our website here. Following the success of the Governor/Director Briefing sessions held during the autumn term, further briefings will be held on 11th March at Don Bosco House, 17th March at St Gregory the Great Catholic School in Oxford and 18th March at Blessed William Howard Catholic High School in Stafford. All sessions will run from 5.00 pm and should be finished by 7.00 pm. Places can be booked via our website here.
Clarification on the use of communications technology at meetings of a Multi Academy Company Board (MAC) / Local Governing Body (LGB) of a VA school: The MAC / LGB may approve alternative arrangements for Directors, Governors and committee members to participate or vote at meetings, by telephone or video conference. Other than for Admissions, emails can be used to formally approve a matter discussed at a Board / LGB meeting where there is no requirement for a further meeting. An example could be a policy approval subject to final spelling checks. It is for the MAC / LGB to set the requirements relating to such alternative arrangements.
SCHOOL ORGANISATION (ACADEMY STRATEGY)
This will be a busy year with the Academy Programme key in the development of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. It is the expectation of the Archbishop and Trustees that all Catholic Schools under the Trust Deed, will convert to Academy status within a Multi Academy Company (MAC).
The DES team continue to work closely with Directors, Governors and Headteachers to progress conversion as and when schools and MACs are in a position to do so. The DES expects all Schools to be clear on their local school groupings and understand what they need to do to move forward into a new or existing MAC. Where there are new MACs to form, the DES will shortly be in communication with these schools regarding our plans for the development of these new MACs.
“All schools should have converted, or have a conversion plan agreed with the DES by September 2020” Regarding the statement above, it is anticipated that the vast majority of conversion plans will have been completed by Summer 2021, meaning the school will be part of a MAC by that time.
We are now in a position where the majority of children and young people being educated across the Archdiocese of Birmingham are being educated within a Catholic MAC. By September 2020 it is anticipated that at least two thirds of schools and pupils will be in a MAC. Please see list of Schools currently within MACs here.
All current MACs will shortly be involved in our Annual MAC Monitoring meetings, where the DES team will meet with the Chairs and Leadership of each MAC to discuss their self-evaluation of Catholic Mission, School Improvement, Leadership and Governance and Finance and Buildings. These meetings will take place between the end of January and the beginning of April and will directly inform the working relationship between each MAC and the DES team for the year ahead.
BUILDINGS AND FINANCE Save the date: The School Business Managers Annual Conference will be held at the National Conference Centre based at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, B92 0EJ on Thursday 5th March 2020. Further details will be sent out shortly.
Changes to Pupil Numbers in a Multi Academy Company: Changes within a school, say by adding classroom capacity, could result in increased pupil numbers. This may require a “significant change” submission to the DfE / HTB. A ‘significant expansion’, requiring a “significant change” submission, is defined as an enlargement that increases the overall physical capacity of an academy (as recorded in its funding agreement) so that it can increase its overall teaching space enabling the school to provide places for more than 30 additional pupils.
Permanently changing the internal configuration of a school building to accommodate more than 30 additional pupils would also be classed as an ‘increase in capacity’ and requires the significant change process to be followed. Where there is a requirement to undertake a significant change submission, Toni Guest firstname.lastname@example.org and Mark O’Connell email@example.com MUST be contacted for advice and support, prior to any changes taking place.
If the threshold of more than 30 additional pupils is not met, schools do not need to seek approval via the significant change process but will need to take action to amend the capacity figure in their funding agreements. Queries relating to this amendment can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Should this be for a period of temporary enlargement, the capacity figure in the funding agreement must reflect the capacity for the period the temporary enlargement is in place. Please confirm with your DfE lead what action is required where you make any changes which result in changes to the capacity of a MAC school.
General Information It is important that we maintain up to date contact information on all of our schools and therefore, we would ask you to inform us of any changes by emailing email@example.com
Some interesting facts from the DES from the last academic year:
Don Bosco House usage statistics for 2018-19:
90 training courses attended by approx 2000 delegates,
DBH used by schools and others on 165 days of the school year (195 days) with remaining days used by the DES team for meetings and training,
457 bookings for rooms at DBH to deliver events.
Other DES training and meetings across the diocese in 2018-19 included 60 cluster meetings attended by nearly 500 school staff.
DES reviews and evaluations for 2018-19: 99.3% good or better for all aspects of evaluations. (920 received)
DES website usage during 2018-19: over 300,000 hits in total with an average over 25000 hits a month during the academic year.
Our thanks to all of our team, especially the admin team at DBH, who work so hard to ensure that our events are as successful as they are. We are continuously striving to improve and extend our offer of services to schools.
The online booking form for all our courses this spring term is now open and can be found on the front page of our website. Please ensure that when you attend any event at Don Bosco House that you sign in on the appropriate form so that we have a record of who is in the building.
Thank you for taking the time to complete your evaluations after attending any of the DES events because this has helped us to continue to develop and improve our offer to schools.
Website: Please take time to have a look at the BDES website www.bdes.org.uk where you can find lots of useful information.
Please can you remember to click on the cookies link when looking at the website as this helps us keep a count of the numbers of people visiting the website and the pages people like to look at. This helps us improve our website for your future use.
If you have any good news stories, pictures or artwork that you would like published on our website and/or displayed around Don Bosco House then please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
DES Team News: We are delighted to announce that one of the DES team, Elizabeth Buck, will be getting married next month and we wish her all the best for her big day. Please note that this will mean a change of email address for her – she will be in touch in due course.
Yvonne Brennan will be leaving the DES team in September and in the meantime we will be very shortly starting the recruitment process to find a suitable replacement Deputy Director for Leadership and Governance. The advert will be on our website in the next couple of weeks and we will keep you informed with any further details as and when they are available.
In light of the continuously increasing demand on our services by schools we hope to be able to add to our team later in the year to meet this growing demand.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.