R.E. at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
At St Joseph’s, Religious Education is taught as a core subject. We follow the scheme God Matters, which is used across the diocese. The core subjects: English, mathematics, science and information technology are taught at the heart of our creative curriculum. The following non-core subjects are taught: art, design technology, geography, history, music, PE, French and PSHE. We aim to provide an enriching cross-curricular learning experience for our pupils, through skill based lessons linked to topics. Our programmes of study are outlined in the national curriculum. Class teachers also provide parents with termly overviews of learning, which can be accessed on the website in the curriculum letters. Our approach to how the curriculum is delivered is centered on our Learning and Teaching Policy, which is available on this website.
At St Joseph’s the spiritual, moral, social and cultural curriculum is highly valued and remains central to our mission.
“The Church has been intimately involved in education ever since the Lord commanded his disciples to go forth and teach. For Catholic schools, teaching cannot just simply be the imparting of information or training, no matter how worthy or important, because the human person cannot be reduced to facts and figures; rather, as Pope Benedict put it, education is formation: it is ‘about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full – in short it is about imparting wisdom’.”
Bishop Malcolm McMahon the future of Catholic education.
As a Catholic School, we consider the teaching and practice of the Catholic faith to be very important. As well as being taught during lessons, it is practised regularly and frequently in all other aspects of school life. Everyone in the school aims to live out the St. Joseph’s mission statement, ‘We are all God’s children and will try to live, love, work and serve as Jesus taught us’, in their daily lives. We encourage all in school to be the best that they can be, by always working hard and treating others as they would like to be treated.
Throughout their time in school, children are given opportunities to develop their own prayer life through a variety of experiences. Every day begins and ends with class prayers. As well as this, there is either a daily assembly or class worship, all of which are based upon scripture. Throughout the year, we also celebrate masses and liturgies, which parents and friends are always welcome to attend. To keep up the home-school links, during Advent we send home a travelling nativity, which is always very well received. At Easter, the children are encouraged to make their own Easter garden. Every classroom has its own prayer table, covered with a coloured cloth, representing the time of the liturgical year, which is the main focal point during class worship. Also, each class has their own R. E. display, sharing the story and asking key questions relating to the unit being studied.
We follow the Portsmouth Diocese ‘God Matters’ programme of work to teach R.E. throughout the school. This programme helps the children to learn about scripture, the messages the scripture conveys and most importantly how it is relevant to them in their lives today. It both challenges the children’s thinking and encourages reflection. Over the year we cover ten different units, following the Catholic Church’s liturgical year, starting with Creation in the autumn term and ending with Sacraments in the summer. The children are encouraged to ask their own questions and develop their thinking skills. In KS2, children enjoy the challenge of answering big questions, such as, ‘Can everyone be forgiven?’ They are encouraged to link these to real life events and use scripture to back up their answers.
During the year, each class learn about another faith – Judaism, Sikhism or Islam – as it important that the children have an understanding and tolerance of what others believe. Children in KS2 are encouraged to compare and see the similarities between the other faith and Christianity.
In June, one child from each of the KS2 classes is chosen by their teacher for outstanding work in R. E. to accompany Miss Buxton to the Good Shepherd Mass celebrated by the Bishop at Portsmouth Cathedral. Also, two classes each year spend time at St. Joseph’s Church for a Day of Reflection, celebrating Mass and having prayerful, reflective time.
Our aim for all of the children is to develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith and a loving relationship with God.
Palm burning liturgy
Before the Spring half term we were very lucky to do something that we’ve never done before – we had a special liturgy to burn the palms from Palm Sunday last year to make the ash for the ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday. We all wrapped up in our coats and went outside for the liturgy. Father John lit the fire and we watched all of the palms burn, whilst we prayed, sang hymns, and shouted, Alleluia!
On the first day back at school, we received ashes, using the ash that we had made. This reminds us that we have entered the season of Lent and during this time we hope to get closer to God.