Religious Education (RE)

Intent

We are a Catholic school and we are committed to the Catholic Faith, recognising and valuing every individual as special and unique in the image and likeness of God. It is our duty to see our mission and vision embedded across the RE curriculum, and the whole wider curriculum beyond. This sits alongside the Gospel Values which are inextricably linked through everything we teach. We follow the ‘Come and See’ scheme of work with timetabled collective worship and daily lessons.

RE at St Joseph’s respects and promotes each child’s capacity for wonder, awe, reverence and spirituality. Our RE curriculum leads our children to aspire not to have more, but to be more; children are taught about God’s love, they learn about their Christian responsibilities, children are provided with experiences of church, Catholic and Christian traditions, as well as being taught to be respectful and understanding of people and traditions from other faith backgrounds. Through RE, our children learn about their unique place within the home, school and parish community.

Implementation

At St Joseph’s, we follow the ‘Come and See’ RE Programme in line with guidance from the Westminster Diocese. This programme is followed throughout school from Nursery through to Year 6.

This programme provides:

  • opportunities for celebration, prayer and reflection in implicit and explicit ways
  • children with the language of religious experience – a ‘literacy’ in religious activities, places, stories, symbols and rituals, people and objects
  • a ‘systematic presentation of Christian event, message and way of life’ in ways appropriate to the age and stage of development of the child
  • that for its implementation and production it requires the adults involved to understand the underlying theological as well as educational principles
  • appropriate materials about other faiths
  • academic respectability as in other curricular areas – utilising appropriate stages from the National Curriculum

The programme explores the religious dimensions of questions about life, dignity and purpose within the Catholic tradition. Links are made with the children’s own experience and with universal experience. It will raise questions and provide material for reflection by the children on their own experiences. It will enable them to explore the beliefs, values and way of life of the Catholic tradition and where appropriate other faith traditions.

Overview of Content

‘Come and See’ is taught through a series of nine topics exploring:

  • Community of faith – Church
  • Celebration in ritual – Sacraments
  • Way of life – Christian Living
  • Other faith traditions are also explored through discreet topics (see topic maps)

The process for delivering the topics in ‘Come and See’ has three stages – Explore, Reveal and Respond which enable the pupils with the development of knowledge, understanding, skills and the fostering of attitudes.

10% of all teaching time is dedicated to the teaching of RE.

The Process 

Search – Explore (1 week)

This is the introduction to the topic where the children’s life experience is explored, the questions it raises are wondered at, shared, investigated and their significance reflected on.

The teacher helps the children to begin to look at and focus on the experience within their own lives – concerning themselves, their relationships and their world. In this way the children are led to a deeper understanding, clearer vision and the discovery of significance and value of the experiential events of everyday life.

This will involve:

  • Exploring experiences through story, music, drama, dance, art, etc
  • Investigation
  • Story telling
  • Consideration of the big questions
  • Discussion
  • Becoming aware of the questions raised
  • Reflecting on significance of these experiences

Revelation – Reveal (usually 2 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.

The process of delivery will involve:

  • meeting new knowledge of religious education
  • developing an understanding of this new knowledge
  • reflecting on the wonder of the mystery
  • gathering information and collecting facts connected with this knowledge
  • researching, collating and classifying
  • becoming aware of the questions raised
  • working with problems and grappling with puzzling experiences
  • exploring experiences through story, music, drama, dance, art
  • exploring what leads to understanding and meaning
  • asking questions and discussing
  • exploring in creative and practical ways through drama, writing, poetry, song, dance, music,

ICT and service of others;

  • making links between Christian understanding and the shared life experience
  • valuing life experience
  • acknowledging and respecting difference(s)
  • being open to new perspectives

Response – Respond (1 week)

This is where the learning is assimilated, celebrated and responded to in daily life. The children respond by remembering and celebrating all that they have learnt. This new understanding will enable them to make a personal response in their daily lives. It starts with the children reflecting on what they wonder about and is followed by the opportunity for the children to remember what they have understood and learnt.

This may be done through:

  • Creating a quiet, prayerful atmosphere for reflection
  • Looking at and thinking about the work done
  • Drawing attention to different aspects of this work
  • Sharing thoughts and feelings

Respond is the second part of this section where the children have the opportunity to plan and take part in a celebration through a child-led reflective worship. This takes the form of:

  • Gather: How the children will begin the celebration
  • Word: Read or re-enact some scripture from the topic
  • Response: How the children respond to what they have read
  • Going Forth: How the children will take away the message

Our R.E. curriculum is tailored to the needs of all pupils allowing access for all pupils – including those with SEND. In some cases, resources from Westminster Diocese and/or Hexham and Newcastle Diocese are adapted to supplement Come and See across all classes in the school. Resources from Margaret Carswell Scheme of Work are also implemented to develop greater depth of religious literacy with Year 6 pupils.

The Come and See curriculum is also supplemented throughout the year on specific focus themes which are directed from Westminster Diocese (Year of Mercy, Adoremus, Year of Word). A creative approach through the ‘Arts’ supports the children and enables them to gain a deeper understanding of the topic through the appreciation of religious art and literacy.

Other Faiths and Religions

Judaism is studied in the Autumn term and the other religions (Hinduism, Islam or Sikhism) are taught in the summer term on a 3-year cycle. Through this ongoing journey, children develop new forms of cultural capital that makes a difference in individual mind-sets, which consequently shapes their future.

Impact

We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment in RE is in line with or exceeding their potential when we consider the varied starting points of children. We measure this carefully using a range of materials, but always considering age-related expectations. Our aim is to ensure that children will develop their Cultural Capital and be academically and socially prepared for life in Britain and the modern world through our visits to Westminster Cathedral, Jewish Museum, Royal Hospital, Chelsea. We believe our children have a clear understanding of our core values and our mission as pupils in our school and as they move on in each stage of their life. This will prepare them for life in the wider community, demonstrating tolerance and equality. We measure this not just by the work our children produce, but in the behaviours we see each and every day in all learners. The impact of this intention is seen in the daily interaction of all members of our community, including staff and children.

The impact of our RE curriculum on our pupils means that the majority of children:

  • Achieve age related expectations in RE at the end of the academic year
  • Retain and retrieve the knowledge and understanding of both the Catholic faith and other faiths
  • Build on and maintain the key aspects of the RE curriculum
  • Demonstrate a progressive understanding of key themes of the RE curriculum
  • Be inspired by what they have learnt and continue to develop their knowledge of both the Catholic faith and other faiths
  • Enrich their knowledge and understanding of a particular theme or topic and appreciate religious art through visits to Westminster Cathedral, The Jewish Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Royal Hospital and Westminster Abbey
  • Learn lessons which help them to influence the decisions that they make in their future lives

Children are supported in their long-term memory learning. Each child completes a target sheet at the beginning of each topic by setting themselves a target. Marking is rigorous and the children are set ‘next step questions’, inviting an in-depth response to expand upon their learning. They are also given next-step comments by the class teacher. An assessment task is completed at the end of each topic and the children then reflect on what ‘went well’ in that topic. They then ‘self-assess’ their learning of the topic and acknowledge ‘what went well’ in their learning.  Assessment is marked in line with the Westminster Diocese Agreed Understandings and levels are tracked termly. Moderation is carried out both internally and externally at Deanery and Diocesan Moderation meetings.