At St Mary’s School we want every child to be happy and enthusiastic learners of RE, and to be eager to achieve their very best in order to fulfil their God-given talents. We firmly believe that the recipe for success is high quality first-wave teaching in RE, which is central to the life of our happy, caring school.
Intent – What we are trying to achieve?
At St Mary’s we will:-
Enable each child to develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, promote respect for religious and moral values and tolerance of other races and religions.
Foster the growth of each child’s potential through the development of respect for self and others.
Promote the individual talents and abilities of pupils to ensure that each child fulfils his or her full potential.
Promote an understanding and care of the environment in which each child finds him or herself.
Promote a close and co-operative relationship between home, parish and school.
In the school community we live by the motto:- Learn to Love, Love to Learn.
• Our principal aim is that children leave St Mary’s School with a wide range of happy and rich memories in RE formed through interesting and exciting experiences driven through an engaging and comprehensive curriculum which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith, enabling them to develop a living and personal faith in Jesus Christ and allowing them to know and love God.
• RE is the foundation of the entire education process and permeates all areas of the curriculum and school life.
• Children will meet the Diocesan Standards for Primary Religious Education, which will be taught by highly qualified staff who will engage children’s intellect, heart and imagination, inspiring enthusiasm and interest in RE.
• Children will develop an awareness of God’s presence in their lives and the lives of others, developing the spiritual life of each child through prayer and reflection.
• Children will develop a well-formed conscience allowing them to make sound moral judgements in the light of personal commitment to God.
• Parents, family members, friends of whatever faith and parishioners will attend Masses and religious celebrations within the school and pupils will participate in parish activities outside of school time, promoting good links with the Parish of St Mary’s.
• Children, and their parents, will develop the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the Sacraments.
• RE will play a central role in the school’s work on spiritual, moral, vocational, social and cultural education.
• Children will be prepared for life in a multi faith society by fostering respect for and understanding of rich cultural diversity.
• A programme of family life education, which conforms to the teaching of the Catholic Church and follows Diocesan guidelines, will be provided.
• RE is a core subject of the curriculum and all children will for 10% of our teaching curriculum time.
• Opportunities will exist for children of all ages to experience learning beyond the classroom. This will allow them to enrich their knowledge by, for example, visiting different places of worship, local parish church, St Chad’s Cathedral, Alton Castle etc. including other faiths
• Children will develop a deep understanding of the RE unit they are studying. They will increasingly use their prior knowledge to develop into religiously literate young people.
• In RE, children will develop the skills to make links and connections, engage and respond, analyse and evaluate using sources of evidence.
• Skills in other subjects will be applied in RE and children will be encouraged to investigate the faith with enthusiasm and rigour.
• Children will develop a real understanding and appreciation of the world learning from a range of sources and experiences.
Implementation – How do we translate our vision into practice?
• The curriculum hours in RE are non-negotiable and will be followed by all staff in the school. Fixed timetables will be set before the academic year and monitored by the Senior Leadership Team of the school.
• The Subject Leader for RE will meet the Senior Leadership Team on a monthly basis to evaluate provision in order to ensure that teaching and learning in RE is outstanding. Where necessary, staff will receive coaching and training in RE.
• Carefully designed schemes of learning in RE ensure consistency and progress of all learners. We follow the agreed syllabus from the Birmingham Archdiocese ‘Learning and Growing as the Children of God’.
• Each year group will study a number of units over the year. The units are developmental, building on previous knowledge and experience and taking into account of the children’s age and understanding.
• The topics covered by each year group are as detailed on the curriculum overview.
• The RE curriculum will include guest speakers who are specialists in their area and guest speakers from Catholic charities will also visit schools such as CAFOD, Father Hudson’s to encourage participation in fundraising events .
• RE is taught individually but plays a central role in all areas of school life.
• Success criteria in every RE lesson are set in order to guide children to achieve their potential. This ensures work is demanding and matches the aims of the curriculum.
• High quality teaching responds to the needs of children. Spiral learning is a key focus of all formative and summative assessment with teachers actively marking work in lessons in order to identify misconceptions early.
• Children will be highly engaged in RE lessons through the use of a variety of sources such as religious stories, scripture, religious artwork, songs, music, dance and religious signs and symbols.
• The life and work of key figures in the History of the people of God will be studied for example, lives of the saints.
• Approaches will include whole class teaching, group activities and individual work. Children will have opportunities to work individually as well as cooperatively and collaboratively, developing their own knowledge and expertise as well as sharing experiences with others.
• High quality input from experts and educational resources complement the delivery of specialist learning admirably. The idea of vocation will be developed in all year groups.
• Pupils will participate in Mass, feast days, Holy days collective worship which will involve religious actions and worship including the celebration of the sacraments.
• The use of visits and visitors in school will enhance the RE curriculum.
Impact – What is the impact of our curriculum on the students?
• Children are happy learners within RE. They experience a wide-ranging number of learning challenges in RE and know appropriate responses to them.
• Through RE, children deepen their appreciation of their faith and fulfil their God-given talents
• Visits within RE have enriched the lives of the children and they are able to discuss how the experience impacted their knowledge and understanding.
• Children of all abilities and backgrounds achieve well in RE, reflected in outstanding progress that reveals a clear learning journey. Children talk enthusiastically about their learning in RE and are eager to further their learning in the next stages of their education.
• There is a proven track record of success in assessments that reflects the impact of deep learning.
• Clear outcomes focus and guide all RE development plans and drive improvement.
• Fundamental British Values are evident in RE and children understand how RE can celebrate difference.
• Children will understand the Catholic virtues which will be focussed on each half term and how these relate to their personal life and to British Values
• The children will grow to know and love God, develop their moral and spiritual nature and deepen their faith.
• Children will live their faith in an active and positive way, always aware of the presence and love of Christ guiding them.
• Children will develop their relationship with God and become religiously literate.
• Through religious practice, the church’s traditions of prayer and worship will be upheld.
• Faith plays a central role in the lives of the children and the decisions they make.
• Children are confident, resilient and actively engaged in the wider society.
• The school environment will reflect and celebrate our Catholic faith.
• Children will be able to define, describe and discuss areas of RE. They will confidently use skills such as retelling, describing, comparing, giving reasons, explaining the meaning of biblical stories and considering the impact of beliefs.
• Children will be able to reflect and consider important questions about RE.
• Through wider reading in RE, children will know about a wide variety of Saints, how we can learn from their example, and historical religious events and figures. They will be able to make links between Jesus’ life and teaching and link it to their own lives, making links between different forms of Christian action, such as in rituals and charitable acts.
Father Benedict comes to our school regularly to say School Mass. All pupils and staff attend. Parents and Parishioners are most welcome to attend. Key Stage 2 pupils serve at the altar and perform bidding prayers and readings throughout the mass. Please check the School Diary for dates and times.
First Holy Communions are usually celebrated at parish Masses early in the Summer Term and Confirmation is normally celebrated later in the Summer Term. Preparations for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion are undertaken in Year 3 and for Confirmation in Year 6, forming part of the School’s RE programme. Days of reflection, visits to Harvington Hall, Oscott College and St. Chad’s Cathedral, are arranged as part of these sacramental preparations. The School works closely with the Diocese in the preparation of pupils undertaking the holy sacraments.
Father Benedict Thompson, OSB our School and Parish Priest has a strong connection with everyone at St. Mary’s School. Parent’s evenings for sacramental preparation are both welcoming and well supported. Every faith tradition is respected at St. Mary’s.