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:
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.