St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

Religious Education

 

We are very proud of our Catholic School and the fact that it was founded by the SMG Order (Poor Servants of the Mother of God http://www.poorservants.org/), who believed that an education was important for all, regardless of their circumstances.

Today, we welcome all children into our School, knowing that each one is unique and special.  Everything we do here at St Mary’s is underpinned by the Gospel Values we teach. This academic year 2019/20, our visions and values are centered around: love, faith, respect, aspiration, courage and resilience.

While children are at St. Mary’s, we want them to be good citizens and be prepared for lifelong learning, knowing how to treat others with respect and tolerance.

Religious Education is a core academic subject at St Mary's. We use The God Matters Scheme which is  supported by Clifton Diocese.  Progress and attainment is skill based and is tracked in: retelling, describing, understanding, explaining, making links, analysing, constructing arguments, recognising diversity, making reasoned judgements and interpreting.

There are two main strands to the teaching of RE:

  • Attainment Target 1: Learning about religion

This is concerned with knowledge and understanding of religion. It based round skills of enquiry, investigation, factual recall or the ability to find information. 

       

  • Attainment Target 2: Learning from religion (engage and respond)

This is where the knowledge pupils have acquired begins to impact on their own lives. Pupils are asking questions about this information and how it affects how they see the world. They explain how their behaviour might change that of others. Skills being used are that of empathy, critical reflection, construction of arguments and communication.

 

From Year 3, another strand is introduced:

  • Attainment Target 3: Analysis and evaluation

This is where pupils have the opportunity to state their own opinion – with reasons. They analyse differing viewpoints, evaluate the strength of different positions and should try to view arguments from a reasoned viewpoint paying attention to evidence. It is at this stage that we help pupils to reflect on the reliability of the source of their information.

 

 

Example:

A class may be learning about the parable of The Good Samaritan.

Younger children will be asked questions like: ‘Which of the passers-by helped the injured man? Is it always easy to help others?

Further questioning may be around how we can help people in our lives.

 

Older children may explore themes of prejudice and minorities, relating it to discrimination and world issues. They may think of the actions of some key figures such as Martin Luther King and discuss how religion shapes a person’s life.

After interpreting an extract from Martin Luther King’s speech,”I have a dream”, they may answer deeper questions such as: “Do you agree with these words written by Martin Luther King?”

 

All year groups will learn about other religions. This year, we will be studying Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.

Our whole curriculum is based on our Mission Statement:

Every child will be encouraged to develop as a whole person. We will strive to be a positive force in the life of the church by creating a community whose relationship with Jesus Christ is at the centre of all that we do, and where the principles and values of the Gospels are evident. St Mary’s children will experience Christian values, accept them, make them their own and take them out to the wider community.

We are all children of God, one family working together to develop a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunities through knowledge and understanding of the Gospels, with Jesus Christ as our teacher.’

 

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)

As with every school in the country, we teach RSE in line with the National Curriculum. We follow the diocese approved scheme of work. Click here for more details or for more information regarding this, please speak to the class teacher.

 

Prayer Life

The prayer life of St Mary's School is based on the Church’s Liturgical Year.

Prayer is shared 3 times a day; we come together for class or whole school worship on a daily basis; and the Holy Mass within our school/church community is celebrated at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Chippenham.

The children are taught and say each day the traditional prayers and also write and read their own prayers when working on different topical themes (further information can be found on the 'Our School Prayers' Page)

Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost are all annual focal points that are celebrated both at school and at the church. The month of May and October are special months here at St Mary’s as we celebrate Our Lady. It is a special time of reflection when we consider all that we can learn from her and her life. An opportunity to attend rosary group is provided for the children during these months.

Class masses take place regularly, and there will be school retreats over the next academic year.

Our Chaplaincy Team will be announced in Term 1, and we look forward to developing their role in school this year. 

Within the local community, we enjoy our strong links as part of The Camino Partnership. There are shared masses to which we look forward and regular meetings in which we share community plans and good practice within our Catholic Schools.

 

Collective Worship

Assembly and class time is used for collective worship, and to support and encourage Christian values. Assembly time is also used to share and celebrate success, special occasions, e.g. outside of school achievements, presentation of certificates and awards.

Parents are invited into school on regular occasions to share Class Masses, Liturgies and Whole School Masses. They are also invited to specially prepared productions and to services for special occasions e.g. Christmas and Easter.

Notice of such events is given in advance, either by a general letter of invitation, or through individual class invitations.

We encourage children to take an active part in planning and organising worship, which they do with increasing independence. Weekly gospel assemblies are regularly led by children of all ages. They might participate by saying prayers in other languages; they may lead the singing and movements; it might be an instrument they play for us; or they may act out Gospel stories.

Children are also invited to write reflections on different aspects of the liturgical year and children are actively encouraged to lead class prayers, acts of worship and class liturgies.

There is a close co-operation between the school and our Catholic Church 'The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary'. The connection is so strong that this church is always referred to as 'St Mary's Church'.

Further information and mass times can be found at http://www.stmaryschippenham.co.uk/ 

We are incredibly blessed to have Canon Desmond Millett as our Parish Priest. He visits our school on a regular basis for assemblies, class masses, whole school masses and continues to walk with us on our journey with God.

 

The Sacraments

The children of St Mary's School start preparing for their First Holy Communion in Year 3. This of course is preceded by the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Members of St Mary's Staff act as catechists and lead the groups in weekly sessions; there is great involvement from the parents. Our First Holy Communion celebrations are a highlight of the school year and a time of great jubilation when our choir and instrumentalists attend the mass, to ensure a joyous time is had by all on this special day.

In addition, it is lovely to see past pupils choosing to make the Sacrament of Confirmation in Year 8 onwards. Once again, links between the school and church are strong as some St Mary's Staff members also act as Confirmation Catechists.

 

We are all children of God, one family working together to develop a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunities through knowledge and understanding of the Gospels, with Jesus Christ as our teacher.’