Religious Education

At St Mary’s we are very proud of our Religious Education teaching and learning; it is taught rigorously with all the same expectations as other core subjects whilst maintaining a creative element (including art, dance and drama) and encouraging children to question and think at a high level. Religious Education is a core curriculum subject for catholic schools and is 10% of curriculum time.

The Come and See Programme

Religious Education is taught throughout the school using the ‘Come and See’ programme in line with all schools in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. “Come and See” is an invitation and a promise of life for everyone. The invitation is open to all. In response to the question ‘Where do you live?’, Jesus invited the disciples to ‘Come and See.’ They went with Jesus ‘and spent the rest of that day with him.’ We recognise that all children are at different stages in their journey of faith; for some children RE is catechesis and part of their formation in the faith. Those who receive the invitation to ‘Come and see’ may also offer it to others. In the same invitation we remember that for some of our children RE will be evangelisation, the first opportunity to hear the good news.

How pupils learn

Religious Education lessons at St Mary’s are special, and clearly distinctive from other lessons. Each lesson begins with engaging the children through means such as a lit candle, music, video clips etc. Lessons engage and enthuse the children, and within each topic children will have opportunities to respond to their learning creatively such as through art, dance and drama, as well as with an increasingly high level of written work.

There is a focus, which increases as children move through the school, on how their learning impacts their lives and what they will try to do/how they will try to live as a result. It therefore becomes something real and tangible, linked to how we live, not just information we are learning about.

What pupils learn

Each term pupils study three topics, each lasting four weeks and following a common theme across the school, as you can see in the grid below.

As the children move through the school, each theme is further developed, appropriate to the pupils’ age and stage of learning. For example, in the Autumn term theme of Belonging (topic 2), Early Years children will be learning about Baptism as being welcomed to God’s family. Years 1,2 and 3 continue their understanding of Baptism through the topics of Belonging (Yr1), Signs and Symbols (Yr 2) and Promises (Yr 3), whilst in their “Community” topic, Yr 4 move on to learn about Confirmation, Yr 5 learn about the commitment of Marriage in their Life Choices topic and Yr 6 learn about the vocation to priesthood and religious life in their “Vocation and commitment” topic. Scripture is at the heart of each topic.

Children all have a special ‘Come and See’ book in which their RE learning is treasured and shows high expectations for learning. In addition, Key Stage 2 children have their own prayer journals.

The termly themes can be seen in the tabs below.

Come and See - Explore (1 week)
  • Introduces the topic;
  • The children’s life experience is explored;
  • The questions raised are wondered at, shared, investigated and their significance reflected upon;
  • Focus on AT2 Reflection on meaning.
Come and See - Reveal (2 weeks)

This is the heart of the programme:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith are revealed through scripture, tradition, doctrine, prayers, rites and Christian living;
  • Focus on:
    • AT1 Knowledge and Understanding (learning about RE);
    • AT2 Reflection on Meaning (learning from RE);
    • AT3 Analysis and Evaluation (Key Stage Two only).
Come and See - Respond (1 week)
  • Learning is remembered, celebrated and responded to in daily life;
  • Prayer.
  • Prayer and celebration are integral to Come and See;
  • Opportunities for reflection are present within Explore, Reveal and Respond;
  • Traditional prayers are introduced in the different Key Stages;
  • Prayer styles: children are introduced to a range throughout the scheme.
Spiritual Journaling

At the end of each RE topic, all children in Year 1 – 6 also have an opportunity for ‘Spiritual Journaling’ where they can record and illustrate their thoughts about a particular piece of scripture. These spiritual journals follow children up through the school.

Other Faiths

Each year pupils across the whole school spend two weeks learning about other faiths as part of the Come and See curriculum. At St Mary’s, we have chosen the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Judaism is taught in the Autumn Term and Islam in the Summer Term using the Come and See materials.

In addition to this, pupils learn about elements of other faiths as part of topics and in assemblies e.g. Diwali. We recognise the importance of pupils having not just a tolerance for, but a deep respect for, all faiths and other Christian traditions and wish to educate the pupils at St Mary’s as such.

How can you help?

Parents’ termly letter gives overview of topics and suggestions for discussion with children:

  • Creative homework task in Spirituality Week;
  • Come and celebrate Masses and collective worship with us;
  • Support our fundraising;
  • Attend parent prayer groups;
  • Go along to Mass on Sunday; younger children can take part in Children’s liturgy -details on the parish website;
  • Share other ideas you have!

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