As a Diocesan school we are committed to providing for all our young people the experience of learning within a community of faith, supported by staff, governors, parents and Diocese, all of whom are deepening their understanding of God.
To achieve this, we must have dedicated practitioners who are enthusiastic about all that is best in both Christian life and tradition and sound teaching practice.
In the words of a former pupil of this Diocese, Lord Alton: “If schools can mark themselves out as places where timeless values are taught, then they will be schools with a future.”
Religious Education is central to the curriculum of our Catholic school and is at the heart of the philosophy of Catholic education. Religious Education has developed in a way that reflects the particular identity of our Catholic school. It teaches about the faith in the context of our school which proclaims the Gospel, and invites the individual to respond to the message of Christ. As the individual responds to this invitation, growth in faith and knowledge helps the pupil to respond to the call to holiness and understand the fullness of what it is to be human.
How we do this
At Holy Family RE lessons are faith-filled, enjoyable lessons where each child feels they belong to our school community. Children and staff participate in class/whole school worship each day and also attend school Masses. We strive to ensure that the Christian values show themselves not only in the R.E. lessons but at all times.
We follow the ‘Come and See’ Religious Education throughout school from Foundation Stage 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.
'Come and See' is taught through a series of 9 topics exploring:
Community of faith – Church
Celebration in ritual – Sacraments
Way of life – Christian Living
Other faith traditions are also explored through discreet topics.
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 teaching time is dedicated to the teaching of RE.
What this looks like
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 be academically and socially prepared for life in modern Britain and the world. 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 three autumn themes are developed in the light of an understanding of Creation:
- Family – Domestic Church
- Belonging – Baptism/Confirmation/Marriage/Vocation
- Loving – Advent/Christmas
The three spring themes are developed in the light of an understanding of Incarnation:
- Community – Local church
- Relating – Eucharist
- Giving – Lent/Easter
The three summer themes are developed in the light of an understanding of Redemption and the work of the Holy Spirit:
- Serving – Pentecost
- Interrelating – Reconciliation
- World – Universal Church
Other Faiths – The Process
Come and See materials for Other Faiths include background information, resources and teaching materials for two weeks for Foundation to Year 6.
Judaism – Autumn Term
Hinduism - Spring Term
Islam – Summer Term
Other Faiths - Islam
Come and See: Parent's information
Year 6 & Foundation Prayer Service
What a wonderful experience for all involved. The Year 6 children and their Foundation reading partners took part in a prayer service today all about the current RE topic - Sources. The prayer service was about Books and all the wonderful written word there is available about Jesus and his teachings.
The Foundation class sat with their Year 6 readers and came up when required and read very clearly. They also sat beautifully with year 6 and prayed with their hands together.
Thank you Foundation for taking part in the service so wonderfully. Thank you Y6 for being very mature and guiding/assisting your reading partners through the service.
Year 6 Collective Worship
The Year 6 class planed, organised, delivered and evaluated their own collective worship Their theme was 'Unconditional Love' . It was a wonderful experience for the children planning their own collective worship, and it was delivered in a very mature and uplifting way. Details of their planning are in the Class Worship Book.
Climate Change and Laudato Si
Year 5 have been learning about sustainability through their work with the Wilderness Foundation. This has been in collaboration with Essex County Council and the Ernest Cook Trust. The project has been continuous over 6 climate awareness lessons during the term. Now, in December 2022, we are approaching the final week. The children will be using their planning, knowledge and skills to implement resources into our natural environment to support sustainability at Holy Family School. This will include building a wormery, making bird winter food, fixing bird boxes into place, attending to our vegetable beds and sowing seeds. We will also be fixing knowledge boards around the playground to support all children in their understanding of the natural world. Our funding has been supported by kind donations from Oliver's Nurseries. This was in response to some letters written by year 5 children, to source seeds and compost for our vegetable patch. We hope that the produce will find its way to our plates at lunch time too! All organic waste from our fruit snacks, will be recycled into the wormery which year 5 will create. The Wilderness Foundation team and Charlie, from Oliver's Nurseries, will soon be visiting us for our final session and we hope that The Witham and Braintree News can join our celebration.
Mrs Lonergan, Mrs Milward, Mrs Crane and Year Five Class