RE and Worship


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.

Please see our policies below:

Prayer and Liturgy Policy.2015

Religious Education Policy.2015

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.

Display Land where Jesus Lived

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.




Building a relationship with God is a very important part of life at St. Joseph’s School. As well as prayers said at the beginning of the day, before lunchtime and at the end of the day, every child is involved in daily worship, whether this be as a whole school, a key stage or in individual classes.

Throughout the school year, St. Joseph’s celebrate many different feast days and events of the Church’s calendar, many of which parents are invited to attend. These are some of the ways in which we mark the liturgical year:


End of the School Year

‘We are all God’s children
and will try to live, love, work and serve
as Jesus taught us.’

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Revelation 22:13

Prayers for the end of the school year

At the end of this school year we give thanks to God:

For all the teaching and learning that have taken place in our school,
both in and out of the classroom.

For the talents and gifts that have been shared and the challenges that have been faced.

For the burdens that have been lifted and the hurts that have
been healed.

For the respect and care that have been given.

We give thanks for the friendships that have just begun and for those that have grown.

For the faith that has been lived in our daily struggles.

For the hope that has lifted our hearts on the dark days and for the love that has kept us going.

We give thanks for the community that we are and we ask you Lord –
Bless our students as they sit their exams: may your Spirit inspire them with confidence and calmness.

Bless our families as we take our holidays, may our time together leave us with memories to cherish.

Pour out your love on us that we may return renewed and refreshed to continue our journey together .

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.


St Joseph’s School Prayer

At the end of this school year, we turn to God our Father with our school prayer. We especially think about all of those who will be leaving us.

Dear Heavenly Father
Friends of all children
Bless our school here in Christchurch
Bless the pupils and the staff who work here.
You chose St. Joseph to be the father of Jesus.
Help us to serve you as he did, and to live, love, work and serve
as Jesus taught us.

God be in my Head

As enter the summer holidays, let us remember God is never far…

God be in my head,
And in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
And in my looking;
God be in my mouth;
And in my speaking;
God be in my heart;
And in my thinking;
God be at my end,
And at my departing.


From the Gospel of John

‘I have come that they may have life, and have life to the full.’
John 10: 10

When we think about the end of the school year, we think about those who are leaving us. We hope that they will remember and follow this piece of scripture, always living their life to the full, enjoying every moment, just as God intended.

Also, we hope that they will always remember their time at St. Joseph’s with fond memories.

Quotes about Endings

God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements. Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.

Bernie Siegel

Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.

Henry Cloud

You don’t reach points in life at which everything is sorted out for us. I believe in endings that should suggest our stories always continue.

Lauren Oliver

You rarely achieve finality. If you did, life would be over, but as you strive new visions open before you, new possibilities for the satisfaction of living.

Eleanor Roosevelt


Autumn term

Whole school mass to celebrate a new school year

Liturgy for children in Ducklings and their parents

Rosary club during the month of October

Rosary sent home with each child in each class during October

Harvest Liturgy

Travelling nativity sent home to any families who wish to have it

Advent service, led by Year 5 and 6, at St. Joseph’s Church

Penitential Service and confessions for children in Year 4 upwards and staff

KS1 Advent Liturgy

KS2 Advent Liturgy

Spring term

Whole school mass to celebrate Epiphany

Palm burning liturgy

Ash Wednesday liturgy

Penitential Service and confessions for children in Year 4 upwards and staff

Joseph’s Day on 19th March

Holy Week liturgies each day of Holy Week, looking individually at the key events

Stations of the cross for each class

Summer term

Whole school mass to celebrate Easter

Whole school mass to celebrate First Communion

Whole school mass to celebrate St. Peter and Paul

Rosary Club during the month of May

Liturgy for new parents of children starting in September

Leavers Mass at St. Joseph’s Church




Introduction to Scripture


· The story of Pentecost follows on from the story of the Ascension- when Jesus returned to his Father in heaven.

· The coming of the Holy Spirit is an important point for Christians as it fulfilled a promise. Hundreds of years earlier, prophets, holy men, had predicted this. Ten days beforehand, at his Ascension, Jesus had told his friends to wait for the Holy Spirit – God’s Spirit.

· Throughout the Bible, flames are often a symbol of the presence of God, of God being with us, such as Moses and the burning bush. In this case they represent the Holy Spirit, who for Christians is “God in Action”.

· Wind was the symbol of power – in this story the Holy Spirit changes the disciples from frightened men into brave preachers – telling everyone they met about Jesus.

· The story takes place at Pentecost – a Jewish festival, fifty days after Passover. Pentecost is a harvest festival, when thanks are said for the wheat crop.


A reading from The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 1-5)


When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.


The Word of the Lord


We celebrate the birthday of the Church on Pentecost Sunday, as on that day, the Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke. When the Holy Spirit came, the Apostles were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which enabled them to fulfil their mission.


Gifts of the Holy Spirit


These gifts help us today to lead a good Christian life:

v Wisdom

v Understanding

v Courage

v Right Judgement

v Knowledge

v Piety

v Reverence

Fruits of the Holy Spirit

If we let the Holy Spirit work through us, as God wants, then our gifts will bear fruit, and through those fruits, others will see the power of the Holy Spirit; they will see the good news of Jesus in action.

These are the fruits of the spirit –

– peace

– patience

– joy

– self-control

– gentleness

– faithfulness

– goodness

– kindness

– love

Do you share these fruits with others?

Have others shared these fruits with us?

Think of the times when you have been sad, lonely, worried, upset – has there been someone to comfort you, to look after you, to reassure you?

Say a quiet prayer to yourself thanking God for the gift of the spirit in others.




The response to “Come Holy Spirit” is “Fill our hearts so we can know God”

As we celebrate our great feast of Pentecost we pray for all Christians world wide; that they are allowed to be friends of Jesus and go to church without being sent to prison.

Come Holy Spirit

We pray for our church leaders; Pope Francis, our Bishop Philip and Father John, that they may share the message of Pentecost with all those they meet. May they be guided by the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge; knowing what God wants and so lead us in the right way.

Come Holy Spirit

May those who live the Church’s mission, spreading the Good News, receive the gift of courage, when facing challenge. Particularly we remember those working for CAFOD and aid agencies throughout the world.

Come Holy Spirit

We remember all those within our school family that are ill or sad. May they receive comfort from the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit

We remember those who we argue with on the playground. May the Holy Spirit send us wisdom and understanding – teaching us how to solve problems peacefully.

Come Holy Spirit

We turn to Our Lady, asking her to take these prayers and our own individual intentions to her son Jesus.

Hail Mary……

Lord God

Thank you for the special times we enjoy and look forward to. Help and encourage us when life is not easy.

May the flame of your love be kept alive in us today and always, through the gift of your Holy Spirit.



Our School Displays


The visual environment is very important and our RE display boards are changed regularly to reflect the religious curriculum taught in the classroom.

Please see the pictures below of some of our display boards around school:




Burning of the Palms


Burning of the Palms


On Monday 4th March, some children from across the school joined Mr Curran, Miss Thomas and Deacon Hugh for a special pre-Lenten liturgy, ‘Palms to Ashes’, where the palms from Church last year were burned to create the ash that would be used for this coming Ash Wednesday Mass. We were very grateful that Deacon Hugh was able to share this liturgy with us. We also appreciated Mr Belcher’s help as he prepared and lit the chimenea.


Lenten Journey Burning of the Palms
The children spent time reflecting on the symbolism involved within the liturgy and the following scripture:

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew

 When you fast, do not put on a sad face. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting – only your Father, who is unseen, will know. Your Father, who sees what you do, will reward you. 

 The Gospel of the Lord.

All:       Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ


Deacon Hugh gave the following blessing:

Blessing of the Fire


Lord, take these palms this day,

no longer green with hope and full of life

but now dry and brittle, and burn them into ashes.

Bless this fire and all our hopes

for the approaching season of change.

When we mark ourselves

with these ashes tomorrow,

forgive our sins and keep us faithful

to the promises of Lent.


This is the beginning of our Lenten journey and enables us to appreciate our own life and that of others.



Jesse Tree


Jesse Tree


Advent is a season in which we prepare for the great celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas and we are preparing for Jesus’ second coming.

One way of us counting down to Christmas is by using the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree depicts the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical figures who were the ancestors of Jesus.  The Tree helps us journey through Advent and follow the scriptures until Jesus is born. It originates from this piece of scripture from the prophet, Isaiah.

‘The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David’s descendants.’

We are really enjoying finding out about Jesus’ ancestors each day and putting them on our own Jesse Tree. Each day, we have talked about how they are similar to Jesus and how they help to understand God’s plan.


Remembrance Week – 2018




Every child in the school painted a pebble red or black. During a special remembrance class worship, each child placed their pebble down to make a big poppy, which is currently sitting by the cross of life. Hopefully, every day when we walk passed, this poppy will remind us of the sacrifice of millions of soldiers who have lost their lives for us, trying to make the world a more peaceful place. Also, we had all made a special remembrance cross, with the name of a loved one on who has died, that we placed in the cross of life. We prayed for all of those people, and will continue to pray for them during the month of November.

In RE, we had to design a peace banner. We thought very carefully about the symbols that we used on our banner. We also had to include a piece of scripture related to peace. Many of chose one a piece of scripture we had heard a lot that week, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” We thought this was very relevant as Jesus had said this to his disciples just before he left them, as he wanted the world to be a peaceful place.


St Joseph’s School Prayer


At the beginning of this New Year, 2019, we turn to God our Father with our school prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Friends of all children.

Bless our school here in Christchurch,

Bless the pupils and the staff who work here.

You chose St. Joseph to be the father of Jesus.

Help us to serve you as he did, and to live, love, work and serve

as Jesus taught us.


Prayers for the start of the New Year

God, thank you for a new year.

May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate.

We know that you are always ready to forgive us.

Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.


God be in my Head

As we begin the New Year let us remember God is never far…

God be in my head,

And in my understanding;

God be in my eyes,

And in my looking;

God be in my mouth;

And in my speaking;

God be in my heart;

And in my thinking;

God be at my end,

And at my departing.


Gospel reading

At the start of the New Year, we celebrate the arrival of the three wise men, who, after following the light of the star, came to the happy end of their journey.

Let us remember, as we begin another year that we are on a journey, following the light of Jesus, trying to become closer and closer to him.

We have gifts to offer our Lord; let us think about what we can offer to God this New Year.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterwards, some men who studied the stars came from the east to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the baby born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.’

When King Herod heard about this, he was very upset and so was everyone in Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and asked them, ‘Where will the Messiah be born?’

‘In the town of Bethlehem in Judea.’ they answered. ‘For this is what the prophet wrote:

Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

you are by no means the least of the leading cities of Judah;

for from you will come a leader

who will guide my people Israel.’

So Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem with these instructions: ‘Go and make a careful search for the child, and when you find him, let me know, so that I too may go and worship him.’

And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the east. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.

Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.

The Gospel of the Lord.

“The New Year is like a blank book, the pen is in your hands. It is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself.”


“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

St. Catherine of Siena


Mary, untier of knots


Year 4 Act of Worship

October is one of the months when we think about Mary. Mary has many titles given to her, one of which being untier of knots. During a class worship in October, all of the staff and children tied a blue ribbon to the fence, asking Mary to help them with any knots in their lives. Parents were also invited to do the same.


Palm burning liturgy


Palm Burning Liturgy-min


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.