Religious Education (RE) is at the centre of all work at St Patrick’s. We believe that RE is the foundation of the curriculum. The beliefs and values it communicates, inspires and unifies all aspects of our school life and enables the children to experience faith in action, and 'Grow in God's Love'.
The outcomes of Religious Education are Religiously literate young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to think spiritually, ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of Religious commitment in everyday life.
[From the Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools]
Introduction to The Way, The Truth and The Life Syllabus
This syllabus is based on the Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic schools. The primary content of all religious education material is the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and their implications for the lives of people today, and particularly for the lives of the pupils. Religious education material must, therefore, always present the three key elements of the Christian faith:
- that every human event is marked by the creative activity of God which communicates goodness to all beings;
- that the reality and power of sin limit and numb every person;
- that the life, death and resurrection of Christ, communicated by the Holy Spirit, give believers the hope of a definitive ‘fulfilment’.
Other faiths are addressed as a consequence of, and in the context of, Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching about the action of God in the world requires an informed and respectful approach to other faiths. By a study of the action of God in these faiths, Catholics can come to a deeper appreciation of the revelation of God in Christ. Catholics can also learn from the practices of other faiths (e.g. patterns of prayer, fasting, pilgrimages etc.)
The syllabus incorporates attainment targets: learning about the Catholic faith and learning from the Catholic faith. These are set out in the form of specific key learning objectives for each module.
The pupils’ books to accompany this syllabus provide rich resources. The teachers’ books have theological notes, additional suggestions, activities, liturgies, worksheets and levels of achievement based on QCA guidelines. Teachers are encouraged to use these resources as the starting point of any lesson, and build in challenge, creativity and links to Social Catholic Teaching and the common good.
The programmes starting point in presenting the religious content specified by the Religious Education Curriculum Directory [RECD] should be REVELATION. God is always the initiator in the history of our creating and redemption; it is His revealing of himself that makes classroom religious education possible. To begin with Revelation ensures that we respect the revealed nature of Christian faith.
From Revelation the programme moves onto CHURCH; in other words, we consider how Revelation gives life to the Church. The Church is, at one and the same time, the bearer of God’s Revelation and the divinely ordered means by which human beings live out their response to Revelation, enlivened by the Holy Spirit who fills the Church.
From here the programme focuses on two aspects of the Church’s response to God’s Revelation: CELEBRATION – the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, and LIFE IN CHRIST – the moral life and the pursuit of holiness – both enabled and enlivened by the activity and presence of God in the Church.
LIFE IN CHRIST
It is proposed that each of these areas should, as far as possible, without artificial distortion of the content areas, be covered in each Module of work. However, attempts to make clear connections between the truths of faith and the pupils’ own experience of life are essential. For many it is only when they see the relevance to their own lives of what they are learning that they become fully engaged in it. At times this will mean starting with the pupils’ experience. For example, in studying ‘conflict and reconciliation’ we might well want to begin with reflection on conflict in the lives and experience of the pupils. Nevertheless, REVELATION in the strict sense of the word would remain the starting point for the delivery and presentation of the specifically religious content material. We would look, in other words, at conflict in our world and in our lives as a sort of background, and then begin our religious education proper with how Christian Revelation addresses itself to conflict in human life.
As we live in such a diverse society which is ever changing, we believe that it is important to set aside time for other Faiths each Year. We give our children the opportunity to study an aspect of Judaism annually and one other faith.
Worship is an essential and constant feature of the school. Celebrations occur regularly according to the liturgical seasons and special feasts. They involve staff, children, clergy and parents and are carried out in ways suited to the children and their particular stages of development. Collective worship can take place as an assembly, prayer service, mass or class sessions. The Chaplaincy Team Members regularly plan, prepare and deliver Collective Worship sessions, and Gospel assemblies.
The classroom environments promote prayer and reflection by including a prayer focus with current liturgical icons, artefacts and symbols. We have a prayer are in the school hall, where the children can spend time in personal prayer and the Chaplaincy Team Members lead a weekly prayer group.
If you were to walk into RE lessons at St Patrick’s, you will see and hear:
● Pupils engaging in a variety of creative activities (including staff taking part in role play for example the Year 1 teacher visited the class as Angel Gabriel) which allow them to explore their Religious understanding further for example; making paintings, writing prayers and producing poetry.
● Pupils making links to the themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
● Pupils engaging in scripture; from our youngest pupils engaging in role play of some of the traditional stories, through to Key Stage 2 where pupils confidently refer to scripture in their written work.
● Pupils working collaboratively and engaged in rich discussions about their Religious learning.
● Pupils reflecting on their own learning, and making links to previous topics or scripture and consider how these link to their own lives. Through the use of green pen responses pupils demonstrate the progress they are making in their learning over time, be this over the period of a lesson or a topic.
● The use of music to engage the senses and to encourage a quiet, prayerful atmosphere. Staff utilise both the use of traditional and contemporary music to support pupils in their RE learning.
● Hear the children's beautiful singing of hymns as you walk around the school.
● The use of display to support children in their learning through the inclusion of key vocabulary, scripture, art, images and artefacts. You will also see children's work celebrated.
● Opportunities for prayer and reflection are incorporated into lessons. We have greatly developed the school's Chaplaincy Team with pupil’s taking greater ownership on child-led liturgies, using the four-part structure; gather, the word, response to the word and mission .