Learning and growing together in God’s love
In all aspects of our school life, we aim to provide opportunities that enable children to grow in their relationship with God through Jesus. Religious Education goes beyond the RE curriculum itself to inform and enrich all areas of learning. Every aspect of school life influences the moral and spiritual development of the children.
Prayer and worship are a fundamental part of the life of our school. We celebrate masses and liturgies together and the children are offered daily opportunities for prayer and quiet reflection. The school environment, both indoors and outdoors, is designed so that the children and staff are aware that Christ is at the centre of all we do.
Children play an active role in the planning and delivery of school masses, liturgies and assemblies. A Junior Chaplaincy Team, comprising of two children from each class, meet regularly to share ideas for spreading God’s Word and celebrating His love for us. They are able set up the Altar and Offertory table for Mass, choosing appropriate readings, prayers and hymns. Working with the Senior Chaplaincy Team which consists of six adults, they help organise additional worship and celebration events throughout the year, such as Rosary Days and Taize reconciliation sessions. The Junior Chaplains also sit with the younger children during Collective Worship, in order to model correct responses and quiet reflection.
We have expanded our Mini-Vinnie Club, which is the Junior arm of the St Vincent de Paul Society. They meet twice a month and are actively involved in fund-raising for charitable organisations and monitoring Prayer Tables and RE displays throughout the school.
Rosary Club, which is held weekly, is an additional opportunity for children to participate in the Catholic life of the school.
Throughout the year, classes walk up to the Cathedral to celebrate Mass with the Parish, and Fr Paul regularly comes into school to celebrate Mass or a liturgy with each Year Group. At Christmas, the whole school takes part in a Carol Service at the Cathedral. And each summer, the Bishop comes to St Francis to celebrate the First Holy Communion that our children have made in their own parishes.
Through the teaching and learning of RE we develop the children’s ability to reflect upon and explore the beliefs, values and ways of life of the Catholic faith and other faith traditions. The school follows the Diocesan Primary Religious Education Curriculum which is based on the national ‘Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools’. The scheme broadly follows the liturgical year and includes topics on the Sacraments, the Universal Church, the Bible etc. Within the scheme, the children learn about the beliefs and the teachings of the Church and about the celebration and ritual of worship. They investigate how faith is reflected in the social practices and moral decisions of life. They learn to talk about their own experiences and feelings, and to respect those of others. They are encouraged to engage with questions of meaning and purpose, questions that are sometimes difficult to answer.
The children also follow a programme of Gospel Values, one each month, in order to find out how we are asked to live in a community of God’s children. These values are introduced in school assemblies and then further explored in class curriculum time and collective worship.