In Catholic schools, as in any school, Religion is taught as an academic subject: but this is not enough. The whole life of a Catholic School has to be an expression in practice of Catholic belief and Catholic tradition. Children are not only ‘taught’ their faith, it is ‘caught’ from home and from school. As they grow, the children are encouraged to put their faith into practice in their own lives.
In class, the children help to prepare and participate in weekly liturgies and assemblies. Not only in the teaching, but also in the daily practice of the faith, our children are helped by the personal example of the staff.
However great the opportunities given and examples set, they will have little lasting value without the support and encouragement of parents. We try hard in school, but we can only back up what you do at home. In handing on the faith, parents are the first and best teachers. No trouble, that a parent or teacher may take to become proficient in teaching the Catholic religion, is too great.
By working together for the children; parents and teachers make this school a place which we can truly say:
‘When we welcome the child, we welcome the family’
Aims and objectives
- To foster a love of God through knowledge and understanding of the Catholic Faith from scripture to doctrine.
- To encourage the development of a personal relationship with God.
- To help our children be aware of and respect other faiths.
- To encourage children to study, investigate and reflect.
- To develop the thinking and listening skills.
- To develop respect for truth and for the view of others.
We believe that the school alone cannot undertake a child’s religious education. Religious Education begins at home at Baptism; the parents are the child’s first teachers and support the child with his/her first religious experiences. The school works in partnership with parents and parish to enrich the lives of our children.
We distribute a weekly newsletter to inform parents about the weekly Gospel and notify parents of Masses and liturgies both in the school and the Parish.
Our School regularly supports Parish events and fund raising e.g. CAFOD, SVP, Advent appeals, Lenten appeals.
Liturgy and Collective Worship
Our Catholic faith is central to day to day life of our school and all aspects of the curriculum, and pupils are encouraged to recognise the importance of their faith and they respond to all forms of liturgy and collective worship with respect and reverence.
We have a rich liturgical life in that the experiences we provide are wide ranging and take place in school, out of school, in Church and the wider community, and engage and involve pupils, parents, staff, governors and the parish.
The Celebration of the Eucharist and prayer are central in our school. Our Parish Priest regularly celebrates Mass in School. In addition, we celebrate Whole School Masses at the beginning and end of term.
Statements to live by
The whole school gather weekly to listen and act upon a weekly statement to live by. Pupils participate in the assembly by reading the statement and thinking of ways they can follow it.
The resource is rooted in nine guiding principles which support the distinctive nature of Catholic schools. The statements make the Catholic values of the school explicit, promote a positive and caring Christian ethos that is understood and communicated to everyone, promote emotional literacy and contribute towards community cohesion and the common good. They ensure that children and young people are given opportunities to:
- Hear the Christian story and encounter the person of Jesus
- Understand their uniqueness as made in the image and likeness of God
- Experience a sense of belonging within a range of communities, including the local Eucharistic community
- Know, appreciate and understand the importance of social justice
- Know that our limitations are also opportunities for growth
- Understand the connection between knowledge and living
- Know that everything has the opportunity to reveal God’s presence to us, ie to see the divine in the ordinary
- Forgive and be forgiven, to reconcile and be reconciled
- Experience fun, humour, imagination, creativity, play and excitement in life
Each week a different statement such as ‘I try to be just and fair’ is displayed in every classroom and around the school, and introduced and explained to the children, usually through an assembly. Children are encouraged to think about the statement at the beginning of the school day, it is reinforced throughout the day, explored in collective worship and circle times (written specifically for each statement) and reflected upon before going home. Rewards are linked to the statements and certificates are presented to those children who have lived the statements well that week.
The children prepared for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion on a two year rolling cycle. Children learn about the importance of the Sacraments through drama, storytelling, writing, singing and dancing.
The children are supported in their preparation and celebration of the Sacrament by the school, parents and the parish. The children are also supported on their journey by the Multi-Academy Trust, and St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School in particular, who help prepare the children on their spiritual journey.
We use ‘Come and See’: the Catholic Primary Religious Education programme for Foundation and Key Stages 1 and 2 published in July 2012. It makes learning about our faith lively, interactive and relevant.
This easy to use, teacher-friendly material has been written by a group of experienced diocesan advisors. It follows on from successful trialling in schools in England and Wales and is based on the theological foundations of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Catechism and the revised RE Curriculum Directory and includes the Catholic attainment levels.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses the search for meaning in life. God’s initiative in Revelation who comes to meet us and our response of faith. (cf. CCC26) This pattern guides the structure of the programme and informs the process of each topic, opened up through; Explore, Reveal and Respond.
The children also spend two weeks over the course of the year learning about other religions - one week each on Judaism and Islam. See below for a brief overview on what each class covers:
Teaching and Learning in Religious Education
A range of teaching strategies and learning methodologies are employed depending on the needs and abilities of the children and the nature of the activities being undertaken.
Work will be differentiated in terms of activity or outcome according to the needs and abilities of the children.
Approaches will include whole class teaching, group activities and individual work. Children will have opportunities to work individually as well as co-operatively and collaboratively, developing their own knowledge and expertise as well as sharing their experiences with others.
All work will involve thought provoking reflection and discussion, encouraging the children to develop their moral and spiritual consciences.
Teachers are encouraged to make cross curricular links when planning R.E., incorporating opportunities for Speaking and Listening, Art and Design, ICT and extended writing where appropriate.
Withdrawal from R.E
The Governors are required to inform parents of their rights of withdrawal of pupils from religious education and worship. Parents are also reminded that our school exists to give a ‘Catholic’ education to its pupils. It is therefore expected that parents be in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the school.