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RE Policy

 

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION POLICY

 

Mission Statement

 

At St Aelred’s RC Primary School our mission is

 

  • To provide a safe, secure learning environment, where each of our children is loved, cared for and respected.

 

  • To develop within each child, a deepening love of God and a respect for each other and the world we live in. 
  • To help children celebrate daily, through their lives at home, in school and in the parish community, the Christian Gospel values of love and freedom. 
  • To provide a broad, balanced, enriching and challenging curriculum, so that each child is enabled to attain his/her own full potential.

 

Religious Education in the Total Curriculum

 

Religious Education contributes to the broader curriculum by recognising the uniqueness of each individual child, thus enabling the child to realise his or her full potential.  Religious Education is regarded as the heart of the curriculum, enriching and informing all areas of learning with the light of the Gospel.

 

Aims

 

To create a caring environment in which all who work and learn here are loved, feel secure, confident and valued.

 

To promote knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith and life.

 

To develop the skills required to increase knowledge and understanding and to engage in religious thinking to help pupils to integrate all life’s experience and all learning into an ever deepening faith in Jesus Christ.

 

To help each child discover the answers to the basic questions about human existence.

 

To help our children towards an understanding and appreciation of other religious traditions in ways appropriate to their own development and relevant to the topic under consideration.

 

To recognise, affirm and celebrate the gifts and talents of all children.

 

Objectives

 

To deliver a broad, balanced and enriched Religious Education (RE) curriculum, in accordance with the RE Curriculum Directory of England and Wales, taking into account the religious and educational needs of all our children.

 

To create opportunities for thought, prayer, for stillness and silence.

 

To provide children with the language of religious experience

 

To develop awareness and appreciation of Catholic belief.

 

Teaching and Learning

 

In order to meet the aforementioned aims and objectives:

 

The school mainly follows the ‘Come and See’ syllabus as directed by the diocese.

The syllabus incorporates attainment targets: learning about the Catholic faith (AT1) and learning from the Catholic faith(AT2). These are set out in the form of specific key learning objectives for each module. Teachers also use other suitable resources to supplement the teaching of RE, such as Nurturing Human Wholeness, (Statements to Live By) and Picture My World (CAFOD resources) and ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’ syllabus as well as other appropriate resources provided by the diocese.

Each term, one staff meeting is devoted to Religious Education as part of our constant reviewing of Religious Education and developing best practice.  Special preparations are made during staff meetings for events such as Advent, Lent, Easter, Harvest Celebrations and Christmas.

A wide variety of liturgy resources are used to create opportunities for prayer and stillness; children are regularly encouraged to prepare and lead class liturgies using these resources. Class liturgies are recorded on the school Liturgy Planner and stored on the network or in a class folder.

 

As in any other area of the curriculum a wide range of teaching techniques and active learning opportunities are provided, including online activities and support from the Come and See, CAFOD and TERE websites. The Foundation Stage syllabus is provided on CD Rom through a range of resources including a series of PowerPoint presentations. Each half term, weekly activities are carefully planned following the scheme and acknowledging feast days and celebrations from the Liturgical Year. Assessment activities with linked expected outcomes are recorded on the planning sheets. Teachers use the topic-related I can statements to support Assessment for Learning and provide differentiation and next steps.

 

Assessment and Recording

Good assessment should have variety, flexibility and be based on the professional judgement of teachers. Like all curriculum subjects, teachers at St Aelred’s RC Primary School will be constantly developing a range of assessment tasks (structured questions, extended writing, oral assessment, creative and imaginative tasks) suited to the ability of their own pupils.

Children from Y1 upwards are given an exercise book in which to record their responses to the lessons. However, much of the work will also be displayed around school and on and around the classroom prayer tables. Some assessment tasks may not require a written response from the pupils as drama or role-play activities may also be used. In addition to their continuous assessment throughout each term, teachers carry out formal assessments at the end of each term to ascertain a “best-fit” level for each child which is recorded on the class trackers.

 

Worship:  Prayer

Education in ways of praying is an intrinsic aspect of the religious formation of children. Through Worship and Prayer children become open to the spiritual and to the presence of God. Children in school are engaged in daily prayer, the focal points being morning, evening and mealtimes.  They are encouraged to continue prayer at other times when they are at home. An act of Worship takes place each day in school in the form of a whole school assembly, a key stage assembly or individual class acts of worship.

We recognise that prayer is about a personal relationship with God. Pupils at St Aelred’s RC Primary School are introduced to a variety of ways of praying, such as meditation, praying the scriptures, litanies and repetitive prayers.Individual as well as group ways of praying are experienced in formal and informal settings.

Each day begins and ends with a meaningful and appropriate time of prayer.

Each classroom has a focal point for prayer decorated with children’s work e.g. prayers, poems, drawings etc.

Each class takes time during the week for more personalised prayer.

There is a clear structure as to which traditional prayers are actually taught and in which year group.  (Contained in the introduction to Come and See)

Where there are children of other faiths in the class they will be invited to share prayers from their traditions.

Celebrations and liturgies have an important part to play in our school community (see Appendix 1 Collective Worship).

Parents and parishioners are regularly invited into school to attend Class and school masses, assemblies, liturgies and open afternoons.

 

Other Faiths

“When we approach other faiths we do so in the spirit of ‘walking on holy ground’.  As Catholics we are committed to respecting other faiths as arenas in which God is at work.  This requires of us not only an absence of prejudice, so often based on stereotypes and ignorance, but also an evident reverence for the beliefs and practices of that faith.  In fact, through our study of other faiths it is hoped we will gather understanding and enlightenment for our spiritual journey."Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

 

There are two weeks during the academic year that are dedicated to Other Faiths. These occur during the autumn and summer terms. During these weeks, each year group will spend extra time in RE lessons learning about another faith community. Displays will reflect this work around school. There will be an opportunity to invite speakers into school to talk to the children about their faith and, if possible, for the children to visit other places of worship, thus building within our pupils, a deep respect, understanding and tolerance of other faiths. There are also links to other faiths that occur naturally throughout the year in the syllabus.

 

The Wider Community

During the year, the children are given the opportunity to actively respond with generosity to those less fortunate than themselves in the wider community, usually by participation in a meaningful appeal; e.g. by supporting Mission Together during Advent and CAFOD during Lent. There are times during the year when visitors representing various charities, agencies and the local community are invited into school.  The school choir and musicians regularly visit local care homes to provide entertainment and raise money for local charities. The school actively supports the Open Arms Orphanage in Malawi, having formed a committee to communicate directly with the children as well as raising funds.

 

Resources

Each classroom has its own Bibles and prayer books for the classroom prayer table, a special candle to be renewed at the first Easter Mass in school, a selection of drapes to reflect the liturgical colours and a range of posters and prayer books to support their class liturgies.  Each classroom has a crucifix and a statue of Mary for their altar. There is a wide variety of resources available on the school network to support teaching and learning.

 

A variety of children’s books, including a set of Lion prayer books are available for Infant and Junior classes respectively.

There are several resource boxes for the different World Religions stored around school.

 

Each classroom has at least two Travelling Cribs and an Advent wreath to use during Advent.

Each year an amount of money is allocated to all curriculum subjects.  As a subject becomes the main focus on the school development plan there is an extra input of money. Religious Education receives its appropriate share of such monies.

 

Equal Opportunities

Children at St Aelred’s RC Primary School are entitled to equal opportunities in Religious Education regardless of their background, gender or intellectual ability.

 

A positive image of RE to boys and girls is encouraged by stressing the value of work done by both men and women in the scriptures.

 

The children are helped towards an understanding and appreciation of other religious traditions in ways appropriate to the development of the children and relevant to the topic under consideration.

 

Special Educational Needs

All pupils have a statutory entitlement to a full and balanced curriculum, including Religious Education.  Children with a statement of SEN may receive modified work. 

All work should be suited to the child’s needs, abilities and experience.

 

For the small number of pupils who may need it, material may be selected from earlier or later year groups to enable individual pupils to progress and demonstrate achievement. Such material will be presented in contexts suitable to the pupil’s age.

 

Activities may be adapted and extended to include work to stretch the more able children and modifications may be made to equipment and the teaching method used.

 

Pupils with learning difficulties will be provided with the opportunity to repeat activities in a range of new situations as they often find it difficult to transfer what they have learned.

 

Health and Safety

Children learn to be safe by handling and using objects in a well-organised environment where the use of space is carefully managed. (See Appendix 2 

 

Appendix 2:

Guidance on the Use of Candles
 

Lighting of Candles

Matches/tapers to be kept out of sight when not in use, preferably locked away.

All Candles

·         

Votive candles, scented candles
These are designed to liquefy when burning to release their fragrance. They must therefore always be burned in a glass or metal holder. The container will become hot, so make sure it stands on a non-inflammable surface.

 

·        Make sure that the candleholder is not cracked before lighting a candle.
 

·        Keep the candle free of matches, as they can create a flare effect.
 

·        Clean the candleholder (by washing with hot water) to remove any wax or wicks before putting in a new candle.

 

 

Appendix 3:                                         

 

RE Resources

 

Each class has

  • A teacher’s book for the Come and See scheme of work and access to the resources on the internet
  • a set of pupil books (according to year group) for the scheme: The Way, the Truth and the Life
  • a relevant Teacher’s Book to accompany the pupil books
  • at least one class Bible – most classes have a Good News Bible and a Jerusalem Bible
  • Collections of published prayers
  • Posters displaying some of the daily prayers
  • Coloured cloths reflecting the colours of the seasons in the liturgical year
  • A prayer table
  • A crucifix
  • A statue of Our Lady
  • A selection of candles
  • An Advent Wreath
  • 2 Travelling Crib sets
  • Access to interactive resources and ICT resources stored on the server (including hymn words)

 

In addition there are the following:

 

  • assembly resources and videos stored in the teachers’ library.
  • Collections of meditative music, extra assembly ideas and resources
  • Hymn words on acetate stored in the meeting room
  • A class set of Good News Bibles in the school library
  • Equipment for class and school masses is stored in the resource room downstairs

 

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