The Religious Education Curriculum at St Mary's
“At the Baptism of their children, parents promise to bring them up in the practice of the faith by loving God and their neighbour. The Church assists them in fulfilling this solemn commitment . . . by establishing Catholic schools.
Unless a school has Christ at the very heart of all that it is and does, it cannot be a Catholic school. The ethos of our schools is not something extrinsic to the various aspects of a school’s life. Rather, the Catholic ethos - and its concrete expression in liturgical prayer, assemblies and the teaching of religious education in accordance with the Religious Education Curriculum Directory among other things - is fundamental to our schools, giving them true and lasting value. It should be incarnate in all aspects of school life.”
Taken from the forward to the revised edition: Christ at the Centre by Mgr Marcus Stock
✠ Right Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP Bishop of Nottingham Chairman of the Catholic Education Service
“To put Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church at the centre of the educational enterprise is the key purpose of Catholic schools. In a Catholic school, the Church seeks to build the foundation our spiritual development, our learning and teaching, the formation of culture and our society in Christ.
This means that the Church provides Catholic schools to be more than just places where pupils are equipped with learning and skills for the workplace and responsible citizenship. Rather, they are to be the communities where the spiritual, cultural and personal worlds within which we live are harmonised to form the roots from which grow our values, motivation, aspirations and the moral imperatives that inform our choices and actions as persons. They are . . . very much a public good whose benefits enhance the whole of society.”
(Christ at the Centre: Mgr Marcus Stock)
Religious Education (RE) is a core curriculum subject and is planned, taught, assessed and monitored with the same rigour as all other core curriculum subjects at St Mary’s. It is well resourced and clearly integrated into all other curriculum areas.
Religious Education comprises three distinct areas: Catholic Life and Ethos, Collective Worship and Prayer Life and RE Teaching and Learning.
RE Teaching and Learning
St Mary’s, along with all other Catholic Primary Schools in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, uses the RE syllabus Come and See: A Catholic Primary Education Programme. The material used has been developed by a group of experienced diocesan advisers and is based on the theological foundations of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Catechism and the revised RE Curriculum Directory.
Each year group works through a series of 9 units over an academic year. Each of the 9 units has a central theme relating to Church (domestic, local, global) the Sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick) or Christian Living (loving, giving, waiting, relating, community, serving). These central themes are visited three times a year across the syllabus. The 9 units are timetabled to coincide so all children are working on the same theme at the same time throughout the school. Children build on and extend their knowledge and understanding from the previous academic year.
In addition, all children study different elements of Islam and Judaism in two specially, whole school, themed weeks during the year.
The Come and See programme is taught using a range of resources: images and displays, videos, activities, supporting scripture, personal experience, drama, visits and visiting speakers and prayer and liturgies. Come and See themes can also form part of Collective Worship.
As a core subject, 10% of teaching and learning time is devoted to the Teaching and Learning of RE across the school.
We come together in Christ to Pray ~ Learn ~ Love ~ Enjoy as stated in our Mission Statement, Collective Worship provides us with an opportunity to do just this.
There is a daily act of Collective Worship:
Monday: Gospel Worship ~ the whole school meet together to share the story, message and key values from Sunday’s Gospel and to carry these forward into the week ahead.
Tuesday: Praise through singing, Key Stage and Class Worship
Wednesday: Christian values Worship ~ the whole school meet together to celebrate and learn from the examples of Saints, modern day and historical figures, key figures in the people of God, explore and celebrate Cultural Capital and British Values.
Thursday: Key Stage and Class Worship
Friday: Celebration Assembly and Worship ~ the whole school meet together to celebrate success and the spiritual, moral, sporting, academic and incredibly diverse achievements of the whole community.
Worship is planned and led by all members of St Mary’s community, staff and children alike.
Prayer Life and Catholic Ethos
At St Mary’s we are visited regularly and supported enormously by our local Parish Priest and school Chaplain, Fr Dominic.
Children at St Mary’s learn and use the most commonly known and used prayers of the Catholic Church.
Each day each class begins with a prayer either in class or in Collective Worship. Children say grace before lunch and each day closes with a prayer.
There are a number of quiet prayer spaces around school where children can find peace, a place to be still and reflect or be reminded of the liturgical time of the year.
Each class has a focussed prayer table where children can find Bibles, religious and spiritual artefacts and prayer focusses for them to touch and hold.
In class or Collective Worship children are taught and experience many forms of prayer, from prayers of petition, thanksgiving and praise to contemplative and meditative prayer and Lectio Divina.
When circumstances permit the children of St Mary's elect 2 members from every class to form a representative RE Pupil Council. RE Pupil Council members meet to discuss and contribute to all aspects of the RE Curriculum, Prayer Life, Worship and Catholic Life and to report to Governors on a regular basis.
Staff meet at least weekly for prayers and take time before meetings and many other diverse events to pause for a moment in prayer. The whole school community is also supported by a Parish prayer group.
Through participating in masses and liturgies and regular visits to St Mary’s Church children extend and share their experience and faith with our wider community.
Charity and Fundraising
In common with all Christians worldwide we encourage all in our St Mary’s Community to witness our faith through actively living out our Christian values in charitable works.
At Harvest time we seek to support those in need in our local community. During Advent and Lent we focus our support through CAFOD and Missio and in the summer terms we look to our own diocese.
All are encouraged to participate in any way they can, from prayers to donations, offering as much or as little support to our common cause.