Press Release 17 March 2016
This morning pupils at St Benedict's Catholic School, Garforth, Leeds had the opportunity to show the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne their sporting skills.
The Chancellor visited the school following his announcement in yesterday's budget to double the amount of funding dedicated to sport in every primary school. He watched demonstrations of netball and gymnastics by the children. He was able to chat with the Pupil Sports Council over a healthy breakfast.
Mr Kieron Flood, Headteacher of St Benedict's Catholic School said "Sport is an important part of the curriculum here at St Benedict's. We believe that promoting a healthy lifestyle through active participation in sport and PE will ensure that children will develop a life-long love of sport through their physical literacy. Our pupils look forward to joining in the wide variety of activities and are extremely proud of their own achievements and the achievements of other children in their school".
"We were pleased to welcome the Chancellor to St Benedict's as it provided the pupils with an opportunity to demonstrate their sporting skills and tell him personally about their success in a range of sporting competitions".
The academy encourages all pupils to have a healthy body and healthy mind so keeping fit through a wide variety of activities is important to the whole academy community including staff. The school is involved not only in the usual team sports, the highly competitive 'Skipping Festival' held between the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Leeds is a particular favourite of the children.
The academy uses the current sports premium funding to ensure that every child has the opportunity to join in sporting activities with a series of professional partners including Liz Jarosz, a PE teacher from St Wilfrid's Catholic High School and Sixth Form College, Featherstone, another academy in the trust.
The academy has achieved the Gold Activemark and is particularly proud of former pupils who have been selected to play for England All Age Wheelchair Rugby team and a visually impaired pupil who skateboards in national competitions – real success stories for those talented children.
Notes to Editors:
1) St Benedict's Catholic Primary School is a popular, oversubscribed Catholic academy in Garforth, a town on the outskirts of East Leeds in Leeds Local Authority.
2) The academy was a founding member of the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust that comprises 2 high schools and 10 primary schools. It was established in November 2012. http://www.bkcat.co.uk/
3) The Headteacher of St Benedict's is Kieron Flood who is a Local Leader of Education and has successfully supported a school in the trust that was a sponsored conversion to academy.
4) The funding enables the academy to provide continuous professional development for staff to improve the teaching of P.E. in school and in turn enhance the experience and learning opportunities for all pupils. Sports specialist teachers and coaches are working alongside class teachers in lessons and providing provision of sports for after school clubs. In this way, children are gaining new skills and experiences and teachers are learning new techniques and knowledge to aid their professional development in teaching sport and PE. This develops an understanding of the importance of a healthy lifestyle through active participation in Sport and PE. Children will develop a life-long love of sport through their physical literacy.
5) The school is one of 94 schools in the Diocese of Leeds, The Bishop of Leeds is The Right Reverend Bishop Marcus Stock
In education, we are used to new initiatives. But occasionally, something comes along which has the potential to have a huge impact, long into the future. The launch of the College of Teaching presents us with one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
The college is the new independent chartered professional body for the teachers. Surgeons and solicitors, engineers and accountants, physicians and architects: all have had chartered bodies at the heart of their profession for a long time. Recently, many other chartered professional bodies have been founded: for plumbers and ecologists, secretaries and payroll professionals.
For a variety of complex reasons, the teaching profession alone has lacked a strong, independent professional body, led by teachers, responsible for promoting high standards and supporting professional development. With the launch of the College of Teaching, that is about to change.
In the past few years, a consensus has emerged that such a college is necessary and its time has come. A remarkable alliance, or coalition, has formed in the education world, including subject associations and national educational charities, teaching unions and learned societies in associated disciplines. The idea emerged spontaneously in 2012 at a residential conference run by the Prince’s Teaching Institute. The PTI established a commission, including a cross section of teacher. Following an overwhelmingly supportive consultation with 1200 responses, it published a blueprint for a College of Teaching. This led to the formation of the Claim your College Coalition, which published a start-up proposal at the beginning of 2015 and established a process to recruit an independent, teacher-led board of trustees.
What is the College of Teaching? It is easier to answer this question by way of what the college is not. It is not a regulatory body, and will not have a disciplinary role. That was the role played by the widely disliked General Teaching Council (GTC), which was imposed as on the profession without its consent and abolished in 2012. An example of this distinction in another profession would be between the Royal Medical Colleges (the professional bodies), and the General Medical Council (the statutory regulator).
What’s more, it will not be compulsory. Teachers had to pay to register with the GTC and were obliged to join. There will be a subscription payable to join the College of Teaching, but teachers can decide whether to do so. The college is not a commercial or political organisation. It is an educational charity, so any surpluses will be reinvested towards teachers’ continued professional development, and all activities will be for the good of education. Furthermore, it will be independent: in particular independent of government, driven only by sound educational research in the hands of the teaching profession.
The establishment of the college will ensure the profession has the status, aspiration and routes to promotion recognised by chartered bodies in other professions. Teachers will work in their early years towards a higher professional standard (‘chartered’ or ‘fellow’ status). This will demand rigorous, ongoing professional development and create expectations on employers and new entrants, which will match those in other professions. It will create a platform and structure for career‑long, continuous professional growth of each teacher. The development of the college has been carefully designed to benefit the profession as a whole.
As part of its contribution to the common good, the Church has been at the forefront of every major development in this country’s education system. The Churches created the first infrastructure for educating the vast majority of the poor in the early nineteenth century. We founded the first teacher training colleges, such as St Mary’s College (now St Mary’s University) in 1850 and Notre Dame College (now part of Liverpool Hope University) in 1856. We pioneered the formation and education of teachers, recognising how central this was to improving outcomes for pupils.
The Church, its schools and universities have remained at the cutting edge of the education system, marked by innovation and high standards, not just for the benefit of the Catholic community, but for society at large. That is why the Catholic Education Service was an early supporter of plans for a College of Teaching, and why Catholic teachers, schools and colleges should support its launch and ensure its success for the benefit of the whole education system.
The College of Teaching is now calling on teachers, schools and colleges from all phases and stages to put take part online in The Big Staff Meeting before the end of this term. The Big Staff Meeting introduces the college’s place in the professional landscape of teaching in the UK.
The college needs to be shaped by teachers, and we want every teacher to be well informed on the developing plans and to share views on who should be part of it and what it should offer. All this will be vital part of shaping what the college looks like. By taking part in this national consultation, teachers can contribute their opinion on the scope and benefits of membership that will shape the future direction of the college.
This is an enormous opportunity for the teaching profession to come together to set its own standards. All teachers are urged to share their views by the end of February via an online survey (www.research.net/r/N3L3KMC), talk about it with their colleagues, and get involved.
Newman University’s Teacher Education programmes have received high recognition in all categories in its latest Ofsted report.
Ofsted inspectors have graded teaching at Newman’s School of Education “good”, reaffirming the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training.
Dean of Education, Professor Stephen Rayner, said: “We are delighted with the acknowledgement throughout the report of the inspiration and impact our work has on our trainee-teachers, newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) and the children and young people whom they teach.
“Newman trained teachers acquire a diverse range of skills and experience during their time with us, which helps prepare students to meet the demands of teaching in today’s challenging educational environment. It is evident from this extremely positive report that our students’ passion and desire to continually improve their teaching skills are in demand by employers who recognise the high calibre of our student-teachers.
“We would like to congratulate our Initial Teacher Education (ITE) team and to thank our partner schools for their support during the inspection process.”
Katie North, a Primary ITE student at Newman, commented about the standard of teaching from a first-hand perspective: “Staff at Newman truly do take the time to get to know you on an individual basis. This has had a positive impact on my confidence levels, and hence improved my personal quality of teaching in the classroom.”
The School of Education at Newman University has trained teachers for over forty years and has an established reputation in teacher training, excellent education research, and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The report highlighted several key areas of strength relating to the primary and secondary programme inspection including:
- High-calibre trainees and NQTs who demonstrate exceptional professional attitudes. They share a passion for teaching and a desire to continually improve their teaching skills. They are held in high regard by local head teachers.
- Exceedingly strong centre-based training, which blends theory and practice flawlessly, is complemented well by specialist and enhancement learning opportunities. This accounts for trainees' and NQTs' strong subject knowledge and their confidence and competence in teaching across the primary and early years curriculum.
- The partnership enjoys a good local reputation for nurturing well-prepared teachers who are an asset to schools. Head teachers are overwhelmingly positive about the calibre of NQTs, who consistently demonstrate exceptional professional attitudes, and share a willingness to seek advice and learn from others. Trainees emerge from the different training programmes as well-rounded, resilient and enthusiastic professionals who make a difference to the schools in which they work and the pupils they teach.
- A particular strength of the training programme is the enhancement and specialist weeks. These events ensure trainees become steeped in their specialist subject but also open their eyes to a broader range of teaching techniques. The opportunity to visit schools in Sweden to explore the impact of Forest Schools is just one example, among many, of the excellent learning opportunities available to trainees.
- The outcomes for trainees are good. Trainees' attainment is high, especially through the School Direct route, where around three quarters of trainees were judged outstanding at the end of their training in 2015.
- Careful vetting of the quality of the placement allows trainees to gain experience in schools in more challenging circumstances.
Notes to editor:
Newman University is a Catholic higher education institution based in Bartley Green, Birmingham and historically enjoys one of the highest graduate employment rates of any higher education institution in the country.
Founded in 1968, Newman was awarded University College status in 2007, receiving full university status in February 2013. With a strong reputation for teacher training, it also offers a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation degree courses covering a range of subjects, primarily in the fields of humanities and social sciences.
It was recognised in the Top 10 UK universities for quality of teaching in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2013 and is one of a select group of 15 higher education institutions to gain three ‘high’ ratings in the Which? University Guide.
Newman also enjoys a burgeoning reputation for research, with some outputs being recognised as ‘internationally excellent’ in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (REF2014).
Newman is named after Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801 – 1890), one of the intellectual greats of the nineteenth century. While proud of its Catholic heritage, the college welcomes staff and students of all religions and backgrounds.
List of statutory policies for schools and academies
CES Director Paul Barber sets the record straight about the recent news on the new RE GCSE
There have been many headlines this week about the teaching of RE in Catholic schools. Many of them have distorted the reality of both the new RE GCSE and what actually goes on in Catholic schools.
Let’s be clear, Catholic schools are not ‘banning’ the teaching of Islam nor are we ‘shunning’ them from our GCSE syllabus. Pupils in Catholic schools will continue learn about Islam and the world’s other main religions and belief systems.
Just because pupils will not be examined on faiths other than Christianity and Judaism, it doesn’t mean to say that the other world religions will not be taught.
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference Religious Education Curriculum Directory, the authoritative document which outlines the teaching of RE in Catholic schools, is clear, a broad understanding of the world’s major religions is crucial to a child’s understanding of their own faith.
In compliance with the local Bishop’s wishes, the vast majority of Catholic schools are currently teaching 100% Catholic Christianity for GCSE RE.
The Bishops have long recognised the need for greater academic rigor in the RE GCSE curriculum which is why they are welcoming the new GCSE and the opportunity to study a second religion. Thus, Judaism was chosen for two primary reasons.
Firstly, we are taking this opportunity to advance the cause of Christian/Jewish relationships, a historic step in building bridges with a community Pope John Paul II referred to as ‘our elder brothers in faith’.
Many of our critics this week have claimed the Bishops’ decision as going directly against Pope Francis’ call for greater tolerance between the faiths. The irony is, by embracing a second religion at GCSE the Bishops are doing precisely what the Pope is calling for.
In fact, we are working with leading figures in the Jewish community to help train our teachers so they can teach Judaism with the same level of expertise that they teach Catholic Christianity. This is an essential part of delivering outstanding RE.
This is exactly the kind of co-operation and mutual understanding that Pope Francis is talking about. Similarly, many Catholic schools have good working relationships with Mosques and Imams who assist in the teaching of Islam at primary and secondary level.
Secondly, we are fully supportive of the new more academically rigorous nature of the RE GCSE, and by teaching Judaism as the second religion, pupils will be able to get a more thorough understanding of Christianity.
Much of the negativity fired at us this week has been down to a misunderstanding about the role of RE in Catholic schools. For us, religious education is at the heart of everything we do. It encompasses at least ten per cent of the schools’ timetables and goes far beyond the ‘compare and contrast’ style of RE you find in other schools.
It is because of this commitment RE, and the importance we place on it, that we’re championing these reforms. To gain a thorough understanding of the more than 2000 years of Catholic theology and culture, the teaching of Judaism is essential. After all, Jesus himself was Jewish.
Changes to any curriculum, especially RE, can be controversial, however our RE advisors at both a national and diocesan level are providing support to assist teachers with this change.
Whilst it is true that some of our schools have a large proportion of pupils from other faiths (across England, 30% of our pupils are either not Catholic or non-religious) the primary role of a Catholic school is to provide a Catholic Christian education.
Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in the country and it is this inclusivity along with the Catholic ethos which makes then so successful in promoting community cohesion.
The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has reiterated his support for the Living Wage.
A growing number of Catholic schools already pay the living wage to thousands of teaching assistants, catering and school support staff. The move comes following a joint campaign with UNISON – the public sector union representing low-paid staff in schools.
At a local level many Catholic parishes, schools and charities were involved in the original design and development of the London Living Wage through the community organising group London Citizens.
For Cardinal Nichols and the Bishops of England and Wales, the payment of the Living Wage recognises that fair wages are essential to the common good of our society.
He said: “For more than 100 years the Catholic Church has championed the cause of a just wage so that employees can meet the needs of their families.
“It’s encouraging to see that this has now become a national movement with real momentum behind it. In accordance with Catholic Social Teaching, and as part of its mission to support the poor and vulnerable, the Bishops fully endorse the principle of the Living Wage. As a Church we have given a commitment to work towards implementing the Living Wage for all who work with us. This week I reiterate that commitment.
“A just wage is the basis for creating a fair economic system. We now look to the wider business community, public sector and the Government to play their part in securing a just wage for the lowest paid in our society.”
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is a huge development for the thousands of school staff who have been struggling to make ends meet and a major step towards achieving fair pay in the country.
“The Catholic Church, alongside UNISON and community groups, is the force behind this movement. The bishops are showing real leadership by encouraging businesses and other organisations to follow suit.”
Linda Amos, Business Manager at St Ursula’s Convent School, Greenwich, commented on why they pay the Living Wage.
She said: “Paying the Living Wage shows that we value our staff, and that includes everyone, from the teachers to the support staff to the cleaners.
“The Living Wage has also given job security to many of our support staff, some of whom had to work two jobs prior to being employed by us.
“Paying the Living Wage means we keep people and our staff turn-over is low. Not only is this good for school moral, but also it teaches our young people how ethical employers should behave.
“Also because we have invested in our staff, they have in turn invested in our school with support staff participating in extra-curricular events such as sports day.”
There are now more than 400 Catholic academies up and running in England according to the latest figures released by the Catholic Education Service.
This equates to 37% of Catholic secondary schools and almost a fifth, 18%, of all Catholic schools in England now achieving academy status.
Of the 404 Catholic academies in England, 280 are primary, 124 are secondary. Catholic schools currently account for 10% of the total number of state maintained schools in the country.
The Catholic Church has managed schools in England for more than a century and has been at the forefront of education innovation, pioneering many of the academy models in use today.
The Diocese of Nottingham has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of academies with more than 60% of its schools now converted.
Nottingham Diocesan Director of Education, Peter Giorgio commented: “Academies provide schools with the autonomy to cater for the educational needs of their pupils.
“What’s more academy status gives Catholic schools greater freedom to develop their commitment to the formation of the whole child.”
Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service commented: “We are really pleased with the great work Catholic academies are doing up and down the country.
“Academy status can prove really effective for schools allowing them to adapt elements such as the curriculum and the school day to secure the best education for each and every child.
“However, no two schools are the same so the decision to convert into an academy must be made by the local diocese, in collaboration with parents and the wider community.”
Notes to editors:
The Catholic Church is the largest provider of secondary and second largest provider of primary education in England.
There are currently 2156 Catholic Schools in England educating upwards of 813,000 pupils.
The chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael MP, has reiterated his support for Church schools.
Mr Carmichael confirmed his support for faith-based education at a fringe event organised by the Catholic Education Service (CES) in conjunction with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at this year’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
The panel also included IEA director, Professor Philip Booth, Schools Week editor Laura McInerney, Daily Telegraph journalist Dr Tim Stanley and CES director Paul Barber.
The panel was unanimous in its support for the continued state funding of Church schools, with many citing the fact that Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in England and take higher than the national average of children from the poorest backgrounds.
During the discussion around the subject ‘should the state fund faith schools?’ Mr Carmichael commented on the important role Church schools play in providing parental choice in education.
He said: “Church schools play a big and important role in our wide range of schools.”
Mr Carmichael went on to stress the importance of strong leadership and governance in these schools, especially at the hands of parent and foundation governors.
He added: “It is necessary for Catholics, as well as members of other religions, to understand what they need to cultivate in schools is a culture of strong leadership and governance, and Ofsted has every right to inspect schools on this.”
CES Director, Paul Barber commented: “Our event at this year’s Conservative Party Conference was a great chance for us to promote the fantastic work Catholic schools do and I warmly welcome Mr Carmichael’s comments.
“The panel discussion was really interesting and I’d like to thank all our key speakers for their robust defence of Church schools. I would also like to thank the IEA for co-hosting this event with us.”