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A Petition - we need your help
An invitation to Mr O'Donnell, Chairman of the Governing Body, to meet with parents
Another Vigil on 6th April from 6.30pm to 8.00pm outside the school gates
Win or lose in Court, our campaign to Save the Vaughan will continue until Mr Barber is removed from the Governing Body and two parents, with children at the school, are appointed as Foundation Governors. The Appeal was heard in the Courts on Wednesday 9th March 2011 and we await the outcome. Judgment has been reserved.
This year’s admissions process ended on 1st March with school places being allocated to some of the many families who applied to the Vaughan. It is clear now that changes forced upon us by the Diocese have resulted in many practising and committed Catholic families losing out. Many siblings have been unsuccessful and some children have not been offered a Catholic school place anywhere.
Social inclusion has always been a hallmark of the Vaughan. The Diocesan appointees have seriously undermined this by imposing an admissions policy based on the bare minimum – and less, in places – of Catholic faith and practice. They have imposed tight geographical restrictions on the 11+ intake, so determined are they to do away with the School’s historic mission to children of all abilities and backgrounds from across London.
These changes are indicative of the intentions of the Diocese and enforced by the support of the Foundation Governors including Mr Barber and Mr O'Donnell. So when the Diocese tells us that they have no plans to change the school ask yourself this:
If this is true, why did Westminster Diocese go to Court (using your money) not once but twice to defend their decision to eliminate current parents from among the Foundation Governors? Current parents, who would be most likely to want what is best for the school and would work with the staff to achieve it, represent no threat to the Vaughan's existing structures, policies and procedures.
The process of change has already begun and it does not bode well for the Vaughan or Catholic Education in general.
It is vital that we have current parents as Foundation Governors. Without full and proper parental representation on the Governing Body the Diocese can use the vehicle of the appointment of a new Headmaster to implement their plans for the Vaughan with great speed.
We are escalating our campaign over the coming weeks.
On Wednesday 6th April the Governing Body meets at the school and we will again hold a Vigil of prayer and music from 6.30 - 8.00pm outside the school gates. We need to show our determination to be recognised and to have our voices heard. We want you to invite grandparents, friends, existing and past pupils of the school to make it a great celebration of our Catholic faith and commitment to the school.
We will be asking Mr O'Donnell, to make good on his promise of openness and transparency, to meet with parents in the school hall on 6th April to outline the future plans for the Vaughan and to take questions from parents.
We want you to help with our petition to Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Please download and print a copy of our petition form from our Documents page and get it signed by as many relatives, friends and neighbours as possible. Please take it to your local primary school, to other parents at Sunday Mass and to colleagues at work. Explain the issues involved and collect as many signatures as possible.
We would be grateful if you would return the signed petition sheets by post to
22-24 Ely Place
Please ensure that these are posted to us no later than Monday 4th April to allow us to collate the whole petition.
On Sunday 27th March and Sunday 3rd April, we will require your support not only to collect signatures for the petition but also to distribute leaflets advertising the Vigil outside key parishes across London. We will be posting leaflets onto this website for your use. We have tremendous support beyond the Vaughan family and we want to show the Diocese that our campaign has struck a chord in the Catholic community as a whole.
Please contact us if you can help with any of these events.
Our press campaign in the media and on Catholic blogs will continue with renewed vigour in the weeks ahead. I encourage you to buy Catholic newspapers and maybe contribute to the debate in the letters pages? Your support in the past has been vital in getting our campaign off the ground and I know we can rely on your support in the future to make the Vigil on 6th April another great success.
We are fighting to be recognised as the Primary and Principal educators of our children by having current parents on the Governing Body serving as Foundation Governors. Parents who will work with the staff to ensure the Vaughan remain true to its founding principles.
Court of Appeal Hearing
Members of the Vaughan Parents' Action Group demonstrated their support for the Parent Governors outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand today as the Court of Appeal heard the Appeal and some are pictured above.
Whilst those inside the courtroom heard respectful submissions from Counsel and legal arguments about statutes, regulations and appointments, our members outside enjoyed tremendous support from the public and aroused a great deal of interest. We ran out of leaflets as many passers-by asked for details of the issues we were supporting.
Not all moments were serious though - we had to explain to one passer-by who, upon reading our 'Save Cardinal Vaughan' banner, stopped to ask us, 'What has the Cardinal done? Are the beaks going to send him down?' that the banner referred to the School. We are also indebted to the London's black taxi drivers for all their support. One of their number who was passing our banners stopped and told us that he was a parent of a current pupil at the School. He wished us good luck and tooted his horn. However he managed to do it, he passed the message across the black taxis drivers of London and many also tooted their horns in support as they passed us in the Strand.
Judgment has been reserved and we will of course publicise the outcome when their Lordships have finished their deliberations.
Urgent Appeal for Funds
The five elected Parent Governors on the Governing Body have been granted leave to appeal. The Appeal will be heard on the 9th March. They are fighting for greater parental involvement in the running of the School. They are personally liable for the costs of the legal action. It is vital we support them now.
Please give what you can. If 300 families gave £100 each that would raise £30,000
Any donation, however small, will be of great help to their campaign and every penny will be put towards the costs of the legal appeal.
Please donate online via Paypal here.
If you encounter an error using the above link and have a Paypal account you can donate by sending money directly to our email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org
We also can accept cheques. Please make cheques payable to “Vaughan Parents’ Association” marked on the back “Parent Governor Action” and send to:
Vaughan Parents’ Association
Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
89 Addison Road
The Pope greets the Schola Cantorum of Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
The Schola Cantorum of Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School are currently conducting a tour of Rome.
The Holy Father addressed the boys of the Schola during the Angelus at St. Peter's Square on the 20th February:
I offer heartfelt greetings to all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus! In particular I greet the young singers from the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in London. The Cardinal’s motto, “Amare et Servire," is a beautiful expression of the Christian way of life. We are all called to love unconditionally, as today’s Gospel reminds us, and to place ourselves generously at the service of our neighbour. Upon everyone here today, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.
The Holy Father's address to the Schola can be veiwed below - please fast forward to 9 minutes and 50 seconds.
The full text can be found here.
Welcome to all those visiting us for the first time after Education Sunday
The Diocese of Westminster has forced schools such as The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School (CVMS) to drop from their admission criteria the requirement for parents to present their children for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confession. Practising Catholic families question why this requirement of Canon Law has not been insisted upon by the Diocese.
Westminster Diocese has refused to involve parents fully in the education of their children, by eliminating them from the Foundation Governors of CVMS even though well qualified parents offered themselves. This is why the Westminster Diocese is being taken to court by the Vaughan’s elected Parent Governors.
Some Catholic schools in London struggle to fill places with Catholic pupils. Instead of singling out the Vaughan’s Governing Body for special treatment the Diocese should concentrate on helping schools like these to attract a higher Catholic intake.
After Baptism and Mass attendance, the Diocese prefers to use geographical distance as a tie-breaker for admission to Catholic schools over and above commitment to and practice of the Faith or involvement in the life of the Church.
When this applies to schools such as CVMS it will effectively deny practising families the chance of a Catholic education for their children if they live more than a couple of miles away from a school.
Is this what you want for your children and grandchildren?
Please write to Archbishop Nichols to make your views known. We have provided a Sample letter which you can change for your own use.
Please do this before it is too late to make a difference.
The Vaughan Parents’ Action Group has been set up by a number of parents worried about radical changes the Diocese of Westminster has made to the School’s Governing Body.
We believe the Diocese wants to change the way the school operates, to dilute its Catholic ethos and to turn it into a local comprehensive. We do not believe this will help the school to continue to provide a first-class education to young people of all abilities and backgrounds from across the whole of London.
We want above all to protect the School’s Catholic ethos. We want to protect its distinctive identity. We want to protect its high spiritual, moral, educational, cultural and sporting standards.
Our aims are these:
Michael Gormally, the school’s highly-respected former Headmaster, shares our views and vigorously opposes the changes that have been made. He has also resisted strongly Archbishop Nichols’ attempts to gain his support for the changes. His recent letter can be viewed on our documents page here.
Those who are new to this dispute may care to read the 'Conflict questions and answers' and 'Background to the current dispute' documents first.
Candlelit Vigil - February 2nd.
We would like to thank the many hundreds of parents and friends of the Vaughan who attended our Candlelit Vigil on a cold evening. We sang hymns and prayed for the good estate of the School. It was a most prayerful and reverential occasion and one that will be remembered for a long time.
We had to stand in the street outside the School on a cold night as we were not allowed use of the School Hall on the order of Mr O'Donnell, the Chairman of the Governing Body and Foundation Governor appointed by Bishop Stack and Archbishop Nichols. Although Bishop Stack, the Chairman of the Westminster Diocesan Education Service, found the time to record an interview with the BBC on the day and Archbishop Nichols found the time to issue a statement to the press on the day, it would appear neither had the time to instruct Mr O'Donnell to allow us the use of the School Hall on the day.
Could there have been a more telling example of the bullying and deliberate marginalisation of parents by the Diocese than this?
A short film of the Candlelit Vigil we held outside the School on February 2nd can be seen below.