Religious Education & Catholic Life Intent, Implementation and Impact
At St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Junior School, the intent of Religious Education is to support children to acquire and develop a deep knowledge and understanding of their Catholic faith. This combined with the Gospel values, our school values and mission, enable children to ask and answer difficult questions. It is also linked with our school curriculum and is a thread running through everything we do at St Mary Magdalen’s.
Our Mission Statement superbly demonstrates what we are – a caring school, where we support one another, explore the world through learning, challenge ourselves, discover and develop our talents, inspire each other and love one another. Alongside our Mission Statement, we undertake to follow Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, to support our RE learning and the Catholic Life of our school.
On entry into Year 3, the majority of our children come from the Convent of Jesus and Mary Catholic Infant School & Nursery. There, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, influences the curriculum and school life in general. Children are concerned about their roles as stewards of God’s creation, both in their own behaviour and in raising awareness of the impact of our actions on our Common Home.
As children transition to Key Stage Two and join St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Junior School, children are introduced to the concept of fraternity. They think about themselves as a member of a community – their Class family, their House family, their School family, their Parish family, their country and the National family, their Global family and finally, their role as a member of God’s family. They learn about their duties, rights and responsibility towards themselves and others. They also learn about Catholic Social Teachings and their contributions to the Common Good. This in turn, enables them to put Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, into practice.
Our aim is to develop children’s love and enjoyment of RE. Children should become knowledgeable about their faith and deepen their understanding of how Scripture, Church teachings and traditions, shape their lives today.
As a Catholic school, Religious Education and the values of the Gospel remains at the core of everything we do - making Christ known to all, serving the local church and community and assist parents as the primary educators of their children. Our children are proud of their faith and are respectful and knowledgeable about the faiths (and no faith) of others in our school, in our community, and in Great Britain. The study of other faiths is an integral part of our RE curriculum. We are an inclusive school and ensure every child’s voice is heard.
Our curriculum programme of study is ambitious, challenging, and creative. We always endeavour to plan for outstanding knowledge, understanding, progress and attainment.
The Quality of Education in Religious Education
- We start all lessons with a review of prior knowledge.
- We present new learning in small steps.
- We scaffold learning to children’s needs. Therefore, we provide clear and detailed instructions and explanations.
- We use open-ended questioning to check for understanding and to move learning further.
- We ensure all learning is effectively modelled.
- We provide regular and timely feedback.
- We use high quality resources, and texts.
- We also use the Driver Words and topic specific vocabulary to ensure understanding.
- We ensure all children have the opportunity to take ownership of their learning.
Assessment in Religious Education
- We use timely feedback to ensure children understand what they have done well and what are the ‘next steps’ in their learning.
- Feedback is an integral part of planning and teaching, so as to ensure all children make progress.
- We moderate children’s work in RE to ensure expectations are clear across every year group and standards are consistently high.
- We ensure staff attend a variety of training delivered in-house by experienced staff as well as training provided by the Diocese of Westminster.
- We monitor, evaluate and review RE as part of our robust Monitoring Cycle.
As a Catholic school, we follow the curriculum detailed in the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD). We also use the Margaret Carswell resources to support teaching and learning. Our shared faith underpins everything we do at St Mary Magdalen’s and this can be experienced in a variety of ways both in and around school, as well as our connections with the local community and our local parish.
The Margaret Carswell resources are closely linked with the Catholic Church’s Gospel cycles, with children learning about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In this way, the resource reflects the Liturgical Year and provides children with the opportunity to learn more about scripture, Catholic rituals and traditions and Catholic teaching. Children also learn about Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. Links between resources develop naturally; theologies introduced in one unit are consolidated in another.
We follow the Diocesan curriculum and use the Ten Ten resources to support teaching and learning in Relationship and Sex Education (RSE), thus ensuring we are delivering curriculum expectations in line with Catholic teaching.
The study of other faiths is an integral part of our RE curriculum. This includes Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
At St Mary Magdalen’s we aim to respond to the needs of learners and their interests, by personalising the curriculum and making it bespoke to all children. We also incorporate Catholic Social Teachings, in order to consolidate Pope Francis’ encyclical – Fratelli Tutti. It is important for our pupils to have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities both to themselves and the Common Good. This will also allow them to develop a sense of identity, find their place in the world, and make positive contributions to society. Children are encouraged to be resilient and develop the knowledge needed to keep themselves and others safe, make well-informed decisions using their learning as a moral compass, be respectful and tolerant, and uphold the British Values and the Values of the Gospel.
Through the RE curriculum and the experiences our children are exposed as part of the Catholic Life of our school, children will be able to make connections between their own lives and the lives of those in our local community and in the wider world. Children will also develop an understanding about other cultures and the importance and dignity of human life.
As part of our learning journey, we will always aim to be evaluative and regularly review our practice. At St. Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Junior School, we have a robust Monitoring Cycle that supports our school evaluation process. This includes ensuring that our provision for those who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), or indeed those who are disadvantaged is well suited to their needs and enables then to experience a wide range of learning opportunities.
We believe the real impact of our curriculum comes through in the strength of character and determination of our pupils. Their love for learning, curiosity, willingness to take chances and know more, and their deep sense of responsibility for themselves, others and the world around them. We are certain the world needs such young people who believe in God and in their own worth, who are able to walk out in joy and confidence into the future, both loving themselves and others.
AT 1. Learning About Religion
- Here pupils will be learning about what people believe,
- About the faith they hold and how that helps them to make sense of the world.
- They will learn about the teachings of different religious traditions and the answers those traditions give to questions of meaning and purpose.
- They also will learn about the sources that different traditions use to guide them in their understanding of faith, belief and practice; they will learn how to engage critically with such source material.
- Pupils will also be looking at the ways in which faith is celebrated.
- How that takes different forms in different times and for different traditions.
- They will be able to explore different liturgies (the public worship of the Church) and different rituals (such as the festivals of a different tradition) and the place of actions, words and symbols within them.
- They will learn about the significance of these celebrations for believers and see how the spiritual life can be analysed and expressed.
- Pupils will learn about the ways behaviour is influenced by what people believe, whether that is in religious practice (e.g. actions) or their general way of life, for example the ways in which the Catholic Christian interacts with the world.
- They will learn about the ways in which religious belief shapes their lives and the way they see and interpret society and the world; they will learn to understand the religious and moral basis for certain belief systems.
AT 2. Learning from Religion
Pupils will be reflecting on beliefs and values; by talking, exploring, discussing, thinking, responding, and questioning, pupils will be increasingly able to structure and articulate their thoughts.
- They will be able to listen attentively to others and come to understand and empathise with others’ views, beliefs, and values.
- They will develop the ability to engage critically with their own and others’ religious beliefs and world views.