We are becoming increasingly concerned that the Secretary of State for Education will be making a u-turn on the Government’s Manifesto commitment to remove the 50% cap.

At the Bishops’ Plenary this week it was agreed that a national campaign in England was needed to mobilise Catholics to write to the Secretary of State for Education. To support this we have produced an online tool which we are encouraging all Catholics to complete.

By providing your name and address, the tool automatically generates an email to the Secretary of State and sends a copy to your local MP. This tool can be found on the homepage of our website www.catholiceducation.org.uk or on the Bishops’ Conference website www.catholic-ew.org.uk

Last year the Government promised to lift the 50% cap on faith admissions for new religious schools. This policy had proved to be an effective ban on any new Catholic schools as our Bishops ruled that opening a Catholic school that tuned away Catholics for being Catholic was against Canon Law.

The 50% cap was a policy that specifically targeted Catholics as Catholic schools are popular with parents of all faiths and none. Last September the Government acknowledged the cap was unfair to the Catholic community and pledged to scrap it. The Conservatives even included a commitment to remove it in their manifesto.

Unfortunately, the feedback we are getting is that the Secretary of State for Education is thinking about U-turning on this and breaking the Government’s promise to Catholics.

The Catholic community now needs to make its collective voice heard and tell the Secretary of State that this level of discrimination against Catholic schools, parents and children will not be tolerated.

As such we are urging Catholics to write to the Secretary of State and their MP expressing their concern that this promise to our community could be broken. These letters can be easily sent by visiting www.catholiceducation.org.uk under the section relating to Safeguarding the Future of Catholic Schools, or following this link, inserting your postcode and clicking ‘send’.

Also, it would be hugely appreciated if you could share this link with as many people as possible.

Parking Around School

Could we remind parents, visitors and staff of St Thomas More to park in our designated parking areas whenever possible please. If you are unable to park on the school premises, could you please try and park considerately.

Cars should not be parked on pavements, close to gates or blocking driveways.
At present, local residents are sometimes unable to get their cars off their drives, or even access their houses via their gates. It is also difficult for parents with buggies and for wheelchair users to use the pavements. Parking on pavements and blocking drives is an offence, and offenders are likely to attract parking tickets.

We would also draw your attention to The Highway Code which states

Do not stop or park:

  • near a school entrance
  • at or near a bus stop
  • opposite or within 10 metres of a junction
  • in front of an entrance to a property
  • on a bend

This is to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other motorists.

In addition to the above, please refrain from parking in the bus stop which runs along the outside of the front of school. A number of people have received fines for parking here.

Funding Crisis

Dear Parents/Guardians

RE: School Funding

You may have seen a number of stories in the press linked to school finances. School/Academy budgets are used to fund all of our operating costs: everything from resources and equipment for pupils, staffing costs, ICT and buildings maintenance costs.
We felt it important that we let our parents/guardians know at this stage, that there are huge concerns for Head Teachers, staff and governors about rising costs and lower levels of funding in our academies/schools. Gateshead schools will work hard to ensure that cuts have the least possible impact on teaching. However, a continuation of rising costs and a frozen budget means that tough decisions may have to be taken. Over time, school leaders cannot guarantee that such cuts will not impact on teaching and learning, despite doing their best to prevent this.

It is the belief of School Leaders in Gateshead that the time has now come for parents to join us in taking immediate action, demonstrating to all political parties, the unfairness of the education funding system. School Leaders will always act responsibly on behalf of your children and their education. We need your support in order to do this to the best of our abilities.

Please sign the petition on the following website: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/schools?chosenSchool=3904606


Please be assured that Governors and Head Teachers will continue to take the utmost care with budgets, to ensure all the money is spent effectively on your children.

Yours faithfully,
Mr J Parkinson

For further information, please read the full letter on behalf of the Gateshead’s Secondary Head Teachers.

Funding letter on behalf of Gateshead’s Secondary Head Teachers