Oct 2015 - Director`s Letter to schools

Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Education Service
4 Southgate Drive, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6RP
Telephone: (01293) 511130 Fax: (01293) 616945
website www.abeducationservice.org.uk
E-mail: [email protected]
Marie Ryan BA (Hons), MA, MCIL
Director, Education Service
6th October 2015
Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to you at the end of what has been an incredibly busy month in schools and here at the
Diocese. As the nights are starting to draw in, the Summer holidays already seem like a distant
memory and I know schools are looking forward to a well-earned rest at half term! The Education
Service has had a very busy start to the new academic year and many of us have already met with
Headteachers and Governors both in school and at our various seminars and courses. In addition to
visiting schools, since I last wrote to you in early September I have met with - amongst others Bishop Richard, new Headteachers and their Diocesan Professional Partners, Section 48 Inspectors,
other Diocesan Agencies, prospective Foundation Governors, Local Authorities, the Academies
Shadow Board, the Diocesan Finance Committee, School Chaplains, Headteachers, and a range of
other groups. The last month has already given us much to reflect on as well as many things to look
forward to and I thought I would take the opportunity to share a few key points with you.
Headteachers’ Retreat: Last Wednesday, 30th September, Bishop Richard led a wonderful day’s
Retreat entitled “Year of Mercy: Prepare ye the Way” for Headteachers at Worth Abbey. The day
was extremely well attended and very positively received by Primary, Secondary and Independent
Headteachers from across the Diocese. It has been wonderful to hear how uplifting Headteachers
found the day, and how much they valued the opportunity to join with colleagues from across the
Diocese in prayer and reflection. I am delighted to say that, following last week’s Retreat, some
deaneries are now considering making Lectio Divina part of their deanery meetings! Thank you to
the many Headteachers who took the trouble afterwards to say how much they had valued the day
and to express their thanks and appreciation for Bishop Richard’s time and input last week. The
following e-mail extract is typical of the messages we received:
“It was lovely with all that we are asked to do, to focus on the Lord for a while and find
peace. I was so glad […] others from our deanery attended as they too found it a small
oasis of calm. If it could be a regular feature of our year, that would be wonderful.”
Sincere thanks to Bishop Richard for his thoughtful presentations and for leading us through a most
valuable and much-needed day. We are very keen to make the Headteachers’ Retreat an annual
event and hope that even more Headteachers will support this next year! If you have any further
comments to make regarding last week’s Headteachers’ Retreat, or about future Retreats, please
contact Gill Sajnog in the first instance.
Headteacher Inductions: Many thanks to those Headteachers whose Inductions I have already
attended this term. It has been lovely to see school, parish and families celebrate together as one
The Arundel and Brighton Diocesan Trust is a Registered Charity No. 252878
united community. Each has been a joyful occasion and I am grateful for the generous invitation to
join with you in welcoming a new Headteacher.
Year of Mercy Launch Day – 9th December 2015, Arora Hotel, Crawley: The Education Service has
been working hard to ensure that the forthcoming Year of Mercy is a key pillar of our academic year.
The Year of Mercy will afford us the opportunity to explore key themes such as holy doors,
pilgrimage and mission; celebrating reconciliation; lectio divina; the spiritual works of mercy; and the
corporal works of mercy. To this end, many of the courses the Education Service is offering this term
are underpinned by the theme of forgiveness. As many of you know, we are launching the Year of
Mercy for schools on 9th December at the Arora Hotel, Crawley, and all Headteachers, RE Coordinators/ Heads of RE and Chaplains are warmly welcomed. We very much hope that every school
will be represented and that many schools will send two or even three members of staff. The day
will include key talks from Bishop Richard and from Margaret and Barry Mizen who have practised
and promoted a message of peace and reconciliation since the unprovoked murder of their sixteen
year old son, Jimmy, in Lee Green, South London in May 2008. The day will also include Arts-based
workshops to explore key themes of the Year of Mercy in a creative manner:
 An Art workshop exploring the theme of Holy Doors and Pilgrimage;
 A Liturgical Dance Workshop exploring the theme of Love and Forgiveness;
 A workshop on Restorative Justice exploring the theme of the Corporal Works of Mercy;
 A Creative Writing Workshop exploring the theme of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Due to the nature of some workshops, numbers are capped so we are encouraging schools to sign
up early to secure their chosen workshop(s). Participants will be able to attend one workshop –
schools sending more than one participant are encouraged to select a different workshop for each
participant. They are already filling up so please be quick to ensure your first choice! You can sign up
directly through our website; please click on www.abeducationservice.org.uk/Courses.
Good Shepherd Celebration 2016: Next year’s Good Shepherd Celebration will be an intrinsic part of
our celebrations of the Year of Mercy. The Good Shepherd will be held at Arundel Cathedral (please
note the change of venue from Worth Abbey) and will be closely linked to the theme of pilgrimage,
holy doors and mission. I will be writing to schools with full details about this after half-term.
Mary Reynolds’ Mass of Thanksgiving: Schools from across the Diocese are coming together next
Thursday, 15th October at Arundel Cathedral. Bishop Richard will celebrate Mass to give thanks for
Mary Reynolds’ forty years of service to Catholic Education, and in particular twenty years of
dedicated leadership in Arundel and Brighton, much of that time as Director of Schools. Mary has
been a powerful advocate of Catholic education and next Thursday’s Mass will be a fitting way to
give thanks for, and celebrate her many achievements. The Primary Steering Group has worked
incredibly hard to organise next Thursday’s celebration and we are all indebted to them for their
great efforts. We look forward to celebrating together with Mary next week!
Lastly, I am acutely aware of the wonderful work going on across the Diocese in primary and
secondary schools alike, and how hard so many people work, every day, often behind the scenes.
Thank you for everything you do for Catholic Education throughout the Diocese. Every member of
the team at the Education Service considers it a genuine privilege to work with you.
Best Wishes,