Funding the Service


1.   Why do we need an Education Service?

The Diocesan Schools Commission, known as the Education Service has a twofold role to ensure Catholic schools comply with the law of the land and remain faithful to the teachings of the Church. In this regard it is an agent of the local Bishop and acts on his behalf.

2.  What does the Education Service do?

The Service reacts to the direction of ‘flow’ in educational policy, for example, academies, and implements the policies and directions of the local Bishop and the Bishops of England and Wales. It is ‘on the lookout’ for areas of legislation or educational policy that threaten or undermine the Catholic life of our schools or for points of divergence with the teachings of the Catholic Faith. It offers national representation for the schools within the Diocese through work with the Catholic Education Service and other national organisations. The Service proactively addresses the formation of adults with particular reference to those who work in Catholic education.

The Education Service fulfils its mission in three key areas, vocation, formation and confirmation.

Vocation. The role of the Service is to assist in the appointment of those called to serve as teachers, school chaplains and in foundation governance roles. The Education Service signposts schools to using contracts, appraisal procedures and other employment documents advocated by the Catholic Education Service. It oversees the recruitment and appointment of foundation governance roles for schools and academies on behalf of the Bishop. The Service provides advisory support to the school appointments of reserved posts, that is, those that must be fi lled by a practising Catholic (namely head teacher, deputy-head, RE subject leader and school chaplain).

Formation. Formation requires a place for education to take place as well as a context. For this reason, there are strands to formation, guidance and training (shaped by the vision of the Church), policy and direction and spaces for education to take place, that is, buildings. Guidance and training are provided for all aspects of Catholic education including, religious education and collective worship, governance, policy and buildings. Training on these areas is often reactive. The work of the Education Service needs to be proactive if it is to be genuinely formative.

Confirmation. The Service also acts as a means by which the Bishop can hold to account those responsible for Catholic education within the Diocese. The Education Service operates the Section 48 inspection which complies with legal and canonical requirements for monitoring the fidelity of the school as a part of the Church through student’s experience of Catholic life and the quality of education they encounter. At times, the Service will liaise with Local Authorities to develop school improvement strategies. Whole school improvement may become a greater part of the work of the Service as more schools become academies.

Paying for the service The Education Service is funded by the parishes of the Diocese of Lancaster through a contribution which comes from the Trustees and the contributions received from schools. The contributions received from schools are voluntary. However, schools should expect to make a contribution as in order to be a Catholic school the Bishop needs to be able to have episcopal oversight through the work of the Education Service.

Our evangelising mission is exercised through the diverse interaction of Catholic schools with their local parishes, families, societies and cultures they serve. Diocesan staff, together with colleagues in the Property Department, support schools to ensure that they are successful and act in accordance with the Trust Deed of the Diocese. This involves offering advice and direction on a broad range of educational matters such as: RE and curriculum issues; Catholic life of a school; staffing and recruitment; governance; legal matters, admissions and capital developments. In order to do this, the team works closely with local authorities, the Department for Education, Regional organisations and Ofsted. Strong partnerships are key and the team values the support of the Catholic Education Service.

The vicariate staff working principally with schools are:

Fr Michael Docherty – Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation

Michael Merrick – Diocesan Schools Commissioner

Mrs Julie Jones – Deputy Diocesan Schools Commissioner

Mrs Heather Watts – Office Manager

Mr Paul Lovell – School Buildings Surveyor

Mrs  Liz Dick – School Buildings Administrator

Contact us at: [email protected] Diocese of Lancaster Education Service, The Education Centre,Balmoral Road, Lancaster, LA1 3BT 01524 841190

Range of Duties

1. Services and support for school leadership

    1. To provide Headteachers with the support they need in their roles as committed practising Catholics professionals.
    2. To broker support in key areas identified by the schools with particular reference to their Catholic life and evangelising mission.
    3. To promote, develop and contribute to the training of foundation governors and senior managers in schools.
    4. To offer a Diocesan perspective and advice in the shortlisting and appointment of teachers to reserved posts in schools.
    5. To help identify potential future leaders of Catholic schools and to create appropriate Continuing Professional Development.
    6. To offer support and guidance on matters relating to the Catholic character of the school including, Religious Education, collective worship, vision and mission, and admissions.
    7. To support schools in making the most of the challenge and affirmation afforded by Section 48 Inspection.
    8. To support Headteachers in identifying formation opportunities for governors.
    9. To represent the Education Service and the interests of our schools on local, regional and national bodies.
    10. To provide a dedicated website for the Diocese of Lancaster.

2. To provide professional advice to schools and governing bodies

The following list is illustrative of the areas the Diocese advises on but is not exhaustive.

    1. Admissions
    2. Governing Body agendas and briefing papers
    3. Representation at national and regional bodies
    4. Legal advice and support
    5. Education specific updates
    6. Reserved post appointments advice and co-ordination
    7. Representation and liaison with the Regional Schools Commissioner and Local Authorities
    8. Religious Education and Collective Worship (Prayer and Liturgy)
    9. Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)

3. Section 48 Inspections

Schools will be supported to understand the requirements of the Section 48 inspection process and how to prepare for inspection. The Education Service will provide opportunities for heads to train as Section 48 inspectors following guidance from the National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisers.

4. Catholic Certificate of Religious Studies

The CCRS is delivered through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and is accessible to all teachers and students.

5.  Good Estate Management

The school building surveyor works in partnership with the DSC to facility good estate management of school buildings on behalf of the Trustees of the Diocese of Lancaster by:

    1. Offering schools the services of a surveyor to help identify issues, priorities and funding streams
    2. The School Building Committee (SBC) is facilitated and supported by the Education Service to collate and detail analysis of schools’ bids for capital projects and evaluate their implementation
    3. Supporting schools in the use of safety toolbox
    4. Supporting schools to develop best practice in managing their premises on behalf of the Bishop and Trustees

6. To ensure that the Diocese of Lancaster has regional and national representation with particular reference to Catholic partnerships

Examples of these include

    1. The Catholic Education Service (CES)
    2. The National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisers (NBRIA)
    3. The North West Catholic Dioceses
    4. The North West Catholic Dioceses Training Partnership
    5. CCRS Regional Board