As a Catholic school, religious education plays a central and vital part here at St. Francis. At the heart of Catholic education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is expressed and explored in religious education. Therefore religious education is never simply one subject among many, but the foundation of our entire educational process.
The beliefs and values studied in catholic religious education inspire and draw together every aspect of the life of a catholic school. We are committed to classroom RE, then, because all pupils have the right to receive an overall education which will enable them, in the light of the faith of the Church, to engage with the deepest questions of life and find reasons for the hope which is within them (1 Peter 3.15).
Religious education is, then, the core subject in a Catholic school.
Parents as Educators
The first educators in the faith are parents. It is they, above all others, who establish in their children the first sensitivity and responsiveness to the presence of God, to the practice of prayer and to the patterns of life in the community of faith, the parish. The foundations of life-long faith and discipleship in their children are laid down in the home.
At St. Francis, we come together in our key stages and as a whole school for collective worship. Collective consists of a group of people coming together at an appropriate time, in an appropriate place intentionally to focus upon things of worth and value for the group.
Collective worship gives us:
- A sense of special time
- A sense of special place
- The intention of focusing on matters of worth ‘beyond the everyday’
- A sense of occasion.
Times of collective worship are educational, planned learning experiences. They contributes to the education of the pupils and facilitate spiritual growth and respect of each other’s religious beliefs and practices. This may be done by evoking the sense of beauty, awe, wonder or feelings of pride, pity, sharing or by exploring the spirituality of life and experience.
In his life on earth Jesus showed a respect for those within and outside his own faith community. Children today live in a fast changing global world, where communication and travel opens children to diversity and challenge. It is important that we prepare them for this.
The Church calls us to be committed to respecting people from other religions and to recognise that God is at work in them. The Church teaches that, whilst living out our Christian faith, we are called to dialogue and be ready to learn from those of other faiths, many of whom may, be our neighbours.
Pupils are encourages not simply to learn facts about other religions but to also reflect upon them and gain insights from them. Children will learn:
- how members of different faiths live as a community
- how other faiths worship
At St. Francis, we teach other faiths separately in order to avoid confusion. Comparison can lead to inaccurate teaching and does not do justice to the integrity of each religion. Comparisons may be noted by the pupils, but that will not be the starting point of teaching.
Teaching of Judaism needs special attention because of the intrinsic relationships between Christianity and Judaism - our very roots lie in Judaism. However, while it is important to teach about Jesus' Jewish background this should be taught separately from modern Judaism as a world faith. At St. Francis, we spend three R.E lessons a term teaching other religions.