Policy Statement For Religious Education
“Children are exposed to attitudes and values which are at variance with the Gospel. Catholic schools should be “Counter cultural.” The catholic school should be an “oasis”, a place of experiencing the Gospel in action. Religion is caught, not taught. The Gospel can only be proposed and never imposed”.
Bishop Brian Noble September 1997
AIMS OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
- To engage in the process of catechesis, so that through R.E. we uphold Catholic traditions and teach the Catholic Faith in a lively, practical and stimulating way.
- To support each generation of Catholic children in the development of a full appreciation of Catholic faith.
- To encourage interaction between home, parish and school so that each is supportive of the other in the provision of religious experiences.
- To provide an R.E. curriculum, integrated with the whole curriculum, which helps to ensure that opportunities for developing the skills and knowledge of other subjects will be explored and applied.
- To ensure that R.E. is accessible to all children at our school, recognising that each child brings with them a different faith background.
- To be accepting of all children at our school and non-judgemental.
- To encourage understanding and respect for other cultures, races and faiths and to celebrate such diversity.
At St. Peter’s School we believe that R.E. is important because:
- Through it the gifts and talents of all children are celebrated and confirmed.
- We can encourage partnership with parents and parish.
- We can communicate the religious values of the school community through our sincere relationships with each other.
- We can help our children prepare for the future.
- Our distinctive nature is maintained by generating a climate which is permeated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love.
- Our principal educational task as teachers is fulfilled by helping children to know, understand and appreciate the spiritual and religious dimension of life.
- As a Catholic school we can proclaim the Gospel and encourage the formation of Catholic values, whilst acknowledging and respecting the right of the individual to freedom of choice.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. The Head Teacher
The principal role of the Head teacher is that of the leader of a Catholic community. This involves ensuring that:
- An atmosphere of warmth, trust and openness prevails in all aspects of school life.
- All members of the school community have opportunities for spiritual development
- All members of the school community feel valued and respected
- The RE co-ordinator fulfils their role in managing the delivery of RE curriculum.
- Parish links are developed and maintained.
- Links with neighbouring Catholic schools are developed and maintained.
- Links with Shrewsbury Diocese are developed and maintained.
2. The R.E. Co-ordinator
The RE Coordinator has responsibility for the management of RE throughout the school. In doing so, s/he will be a support for the Head as leader of a Catholic Community.
This will include:
- Leading the staff by example through good classroom practise.
- Co-ordinating the development of the RE Curriculum.
- Attending INSET offered by the Diocese and where relevant by the LEA.
- Build up a bank of resources for colleagues use.
- Encourage links with parents and parish in relation to RE.
- Be able to develop and extend the school’s thinking in relation to worship, prayer, scripture and assembly.
- Involve colleagues in using their curricular strengths to develop RE.
- Organise school displays to celebrate aspects of RE.
- Involve colleagues, parents and children in the evaluation of RE.
3. Teaching Staff.
All teachers have the responsibility of developing the distinctive nature of a Catholic school, as well as teaching R.E. It is recognised that, as will children, staff are also at different points on their faith journey and have many and varied backgrounds. These differences should also be recognised and respected. It is important that all teachers feel valued and affirmed.
The Foundation governors are specifically appointed to maintain the Catholic character of our school. All governors work together for the good of the school. They can bring a wider perspective when considering the direction and need of the school. The active involvement of governors in supporting school development at St. Peter’s is welcome.
5. The Parish
Parish links are essential in the life of a Catholic school. The Parish Priest and Deacons are welcome visitors to our school and the school contributes to Parish events when invited.
Parents are encouraged to be deeply involved with the Religious education of their child through the following means:
- Involvement in the sacramental programme.
- Attendance at assemblies and other school liturgies.
- Attendance at school masses.
- Being informed about the content of the RE curriculum.
- Receiving of the “Wednesday Word” publications.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM
The RE curriculum is based on the scheme “The Way, the Truth and the Life”. Staff are encouraged to bring the curriculum to life through describing their own experiences and using additional resources.
- Knowledge of the Catholic faith and traditions, and of other faiths.
- Concepts relevant to RE including creation, family, community, symbolism, gospel, religious commitment.
- Skills of communication, observation, imagination, reflection and cooperation.
- Attitudes of cooperation, commitment, honesty, tolerance, awe and wonder, empathy.
RE should be timetabled and should take up about 10% of the teaching time available. This should exclude time spent in collective worship activities. There is no requirement to have equal time slots each day but children should receive some specific RE teaching on most days.
3. Cross-curricular links
Opportunities to make links with other subject should be sought and developed as this reinforces the distinctive nature of the catholic school, and the recognition that RE is not simply another subject but is related to all aspects of our lives.
PSHE is closely integrated with much of the curriculum and is especially relevant to RE. Opportunities to link these two areas should be explored and specified on teacher’s planning.
RE will always be a developing area of the curriculum, as we strive to meet the changing needs of the children. Resources, therefore, are an important part of the curriculum and the school will make every effort to ensure that money is allocated when the Budget is planned. Resources can have a major impact in the development of attitudes and should avoid stereotypical images and should embrace inclusion.
6. Teaching and Learning Methods.
In line with our teaching and learning policy teachers use a wide range of teaching methods. The following are particularly relevant to RE:
- Question and answer
- Use of religious objects and reference material
- Opportunities for composing own prayers
- Opportunities for reflection
- Involvement in the preparation and presentation of liturgies
7. Planning, Assessment and record keeping.
Assessment of RE is ongoing throughout the academic year. Summative Assessment takes place each term in keeping with the Shrewsbury Diocese guidelines over a four year cycle.
As with all areas of the curriculum, teachers should ensure that work is appropriate for the age and ability of each child in their class and that adequate support is provided for those children who require it.
9. Equal opportunities
The provisions of our equal opportunities policies apply especially to this area of the curriculum and will be strictly observed.
Children and staff are encouraged to use ICT wherever possible to promote learning and to make links to other curriculum areas.
The RE coordinator, Headteacher and Deputy undertake the regular training provided by the Diocese which is then disseminated to staff at regular meetings. Staff will also take part in regular meetings with the local Catholic schools. Opportunities to access award bearing courses are made available.
12. Monitoring and Evaluation
This is the responsibility of the RE coordinator who is responsible, through the school curriculum manager, to the Head teacher.