Catholic Life and R.E

St. Bernadette's Catholic Primary School

Welcome to St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School.

Our school is a community of love and hope. It provides young people with a Catholic education, where life is a faith journey. The ultimate aim of a Catholic school is to develop the full potential of all young people, leading to their life-long activities being guided by the Spirit and presence of Christ, in the service of God and of others.

Catholic education is distinctive in placing all learning and teaching in a Catholic moral context and in both challenging and supporting young people to develop in mind, body and spirit. The role of a Catholic school is to help everyone in the school community to discover the true value and dignity of each and every human being who, loved by God, has a mission on earth and a destiny which is eternal.

St Bernadette’s is concerned with the education of the whole person. It presents a unique, clear vision of God, people and life, centered on Gospel values and reflective of the teaching of the Catholic Church. 

 

Collective Worship

At St Bernadette’s we always strive to provide quality experiences of prayer and liturgy that support our pupils’ spiritual development. These communal acts of prayer and the liturgical celebrations of the Church form part of everyday life in our school. Every child is given the opportunity to pray by giving praise and thanks to God using traditional prayers of the Catholic Church and many other sources of prayer that enable this to take place. We encourage the children to nurture a relationship with God through words, symbols, song, actions, gestures and silence. Prayer is such an integral part of school life that it can never be confined to ‘timetabled’ slots but may take place in a variety of contexts other than those specifically structured.

Central to our prayer life in St Bernadette’s is the weekly Key Stage Collective Worship and prayer assembly. Children participate in a variety of ways: praying, reading, singing, drama, preparing the display and choosing music and scripture to emphasise a specific focus of the Collective Worship, which changes each week.

In addition to Collective Worship, each class attends the Parish Mass each Tuesday on a rota. This is in order to help the children further develop their understanding of the richness of the Word and the Eucharist and engage in active service with the wider parish community.

Other opportunities for prayer take place within the classroom at the start of each day, before and after lunch and again at the end of each day. Prayer in the classrooms and in assemblies always includes use of symbols and a focal point for prayer which is appropriate to the liturgical season, for example, Lent, Advent or Easter. During all these times of prayer, both staff and pupils are involved in leading and participating.

The school is very blessed in having a very supportive priest within the parish who visits school regularly, helping our children to experience what it means to belong to, or take part in the worshiping community of the Church. The children are fortunate to be able to experience the richness of the liturgical life of the Church in many ways throughout the year such as the Stations of the Cross during Lent, Our May Procession, Carol Service at Christmas and the Celebration of Holy Days of obligation throughout the year.

RE - Come and see

In this section we have gathered information about our approach to Religious Education as a Roman Catholic faith school. Our Mission Statement, “Growing Together in Faith, Love and Learning” demonstrates how we value the inspiration and light of Christ at the centre of our lives, in all that we do together for ourselves and the good of others.

What is Religious Education?

Religious Education is about engaging with the deepest questions of life and finding reasons for the hope which is within them (Peter 3:15).

It is about the Christian vision of the human person

It is the core subject which is central to the life of Our Catholic School

Religious Education is the study of:

  • The mystery of God, as discovered in the Bible and particularly through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • The teachings of the Church
  • The lives of the Saints
  • The relationship between faith and lifeClassroom Religious Education in school is primarily educational
  • Excellence in Religious Education is achieved by

Expectations of the teaching and learning of Religious Education

Classroom Religious Education in school is primarily educational

Excellence in Religious Education

  • Clarity of succinct religious learning objectives
  • Key content
  • By appropriate methodologies
  • Rigour
  • Richness of resources
  • Achievement and accurate assessments

Come and See is a Catholic Primary Religious Education programme for Foundation and Key stages 1 and 2. The programme of study, written by a group of experienced diocesan advisors was introduced across St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School in September 2012 and has been warmly received by staff and pupils. The child friendly material provided within Come and See allows children to explore the teachings of the Catholic Church through the use of age appropriate resources and activities. Each year group from Foundation 1 to year 6 have their own list of focus topics to consider throughout the academic year. The topic will coincide with the church calendar however, the depth in which the topic is explored is dependent upon the respective age of the child. For example, during Lent, whilst all children will learn about the plight of Christ, our Early Years children will consider the importance of growing and new life; Key Stage 1 children explore the effect of change and opportunities, with Key Stage 2 children considering the importance of self-discipline, sacrifice, death and new life. At the heart of the programme is the mystery of God’s self-revelation of love through Jesus Christ. Come and See gives pupils the opportunity to explore the mystery of faith through Scripture and Tradition. 

Our Approach to Teaching RE:

We follow the Come & See programme, which sets out each topic through the headings of Explore, Reveal and Respond. These take four weeks to complete and are broken down as follows:

Explore (ONE week to complete) This is when we introduce the topic, where the children’s life experience is explored, the question(s) it raises are wondered at, shared, investigated and their significance reflected upon.

Reveal (TWO weeks)  This is the heart of the programme where knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith is revealed through the Word, in Scripture, Tradition, doctrine, prayers, rites and Christian living.

Respond (ONE week) This is where the learning is assimilated, celebrated and responded to in daily life. Part of our celebrations and sharing with our school community is fulfilled in End of Topic celebrations for Phase Groups (e.g. EYFS, KS1, Lower KS2 & Upper KS2).

JOURNEY IN LOVE

At St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School we recognise that as parents you are the first educators of your children, and in doing so have primary responsibility in teaching your children how to build healthy, loving relationships. Our catholic school also plays a vital part in supporting you in doing this. 

The Governors of St Bernadette’s have adopted the ‘Journey in Love’ programme to support Relationships and Sex Education throughout the school (Reception to Year 6) as one part of our RSHE curriculum offer alongside Ten:Ten resources.

The programme is authentic to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Journey of Life

For each of us, life is like a journey

Birth is the beginning of this journey,

And death is not the end; but the destination.

It is a journey that takes us

From youth to age,

From innocence to awareness,

From ignorance to knowledge,

From foolishness to wisdom,

From weakness to strength and often back again,

From offence to forgiveness

From pain to compassion,

From fear to faith,

From defeat to victory and from victory to defeat,

Until, looking backward or ahead,

We see that victory does not lie

At some high point along the way,

But in having made the journey,

Stage by stage.

Adapted from an Old Hebrew Prayer

Love is an art to be learned. 

It is a giving experience, a selfless act.

Every experience of love gives us yet another glimpse of the meaning of love in God himself. 

Human love is the instrument we can use to explore the mystery of love which God is’ 

Cardinal Basil Hume

A Journey In Love is a resources created by Sister Jude Groden of BRES. It is the recommended programme of study for Catholic schools for Sex and Relationship Education, and has been written as a progressive scheme of work that supports the Religious Education, PSHE and Science curricula taught within the school.

As children progress through the school, they discover more and more about themselves and the wider world. The thirst for learning new things is fostered by the school, as we create a safe and stimulating environment for learning and supporting all children in their development.

A Journey in Love supports children in growing and developing healthy and holistically towards an understanding of their gender and its implications for successful relationships, for this is happen children must be at ease with themselves and grow in self-knowledge.

Throughout ‘A Journey In Love’ an aspect of the mystery of love is focussed upon in each group, children and young people are encouraged to marvel at the wonder and beauty of God’s creative love. This is reflected in each stage of a person’s growth in the Primary Years through a series of suggested, progressive and developmental tasks, activities and reflections which focus on physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development.

As with all aspects of learning, children are naturally curious and many will have questions related to their lessons. Opportunities to discuss questions form part of the lessons and again these are treated with care and understanding.

Below, is a brief outline of the content of the programme: 

Reception: God loves each of us in our uniqueness

Y1: We meet God’s love in our family

Y2: We meet God’s love in the community

Y3: How we live in love

Y4: God loves us in our differences

Y5: God loves me in my changing and development

Y6: The wonder of God’s love in creating new life 

Faith in Action

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” (Mother Teresa).

 

St Bernadette’s is committed to helping others and putting others’ needs before our own. Children learn about those who live in poverty.  Our school community aims to extend its role in fulfilling the mission of the Church. We give our children experiences within the school and wider community to put their faith into action to help make a difference to others. Children are encouraged to live their lives as the best person they can be. We remind children that doing or giving a small thing can make a big difference to someone else.

Pope Francis challenges the whole of society to remember the poor and to persevere in creating the common good by actively engaging in our local communities to alleviate poverty and address social injustices.

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;

I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;

I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

 

St Bernadette’s supports both local charities such as The Brick Food Bank, The Royal British Legion.

We also raise funds for less fortunate people around the world.  We support the work of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and we fundraise in many different ways to raise vital monies to support their ongoing work.

 

During Advent and Lent, we teach our children about traditional Christian practices such as the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Our GIFT Team meet and decide on an appeal that they would like our school community to support.

 

We enjoy sharing our talents – singing as a choir in the locality at Christmas time, e.g. nursing homes or supermarkets.

Other Faiths

Why do Catholic schools teach about other religions?

 Teaching about other religions is important for several reasons:

  1. Learning about the religion and cultures of those who do not share the Catholic faith is one of the ways in which Catholic schools embody the call to love one’s neighbour. As the Church says, “The love for all men and women is necessarily also a love for their culture. Catholic schools are, by their very vocation, intercultural.” (Congregation for Catholic Education p61).
  2. It is required by the Bishops, who state that the Catholic nature of our schools entails “a willingness… to try to understand better the religion of one’s neighbours, and to experience something of their religious life and culture.” (Catholic Bishops’ Conference p3).
  3. Many of the children in Catholic schools are practicing members of other faiths and our schools need to be places of hospitality for these children. It is an act of respect and courtesy that our curriculum helps them to reflect on the nature of their own religious identity. As the Church says, “All children and young people [including those of other faiths in our Catholic schools] must have the same possibilities for arriving at the knowledge of their own religion as well as of elements that characterise other religions.” (Congregation for Catholic Education)
  4. It prepares the pupils in our Catholic schools for life in modern Britain, giving them an understanding of the beliefs of others. This in turn will improve social cohesion and contribute to the common good by increasing mutual respect between those of different religions.

 

As part of the RE curriculum, we study different world religions. This helps pupils to develop an understanding of themselves and others, promoting their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.