The Mission Statement of the School:
‘Making the heart, mind and spirit soar’
‘By following in the footsteps of Jesus,
we are making the heart, mind and spirit soar.
Our actions and words of today are the footprints of our future.
As a Catholic school, our mission and purpose is rooted in the teaching of Christ. We are committed to:
- enabling children to learn creatively, achieve their best personally and develop independently in a happy, secure, Catholic environment;
- nurturing and developing relationships with God, enabling all concerned to share their faith and God given talents in the service of others;
- valuing individuals; encouraging them to value others and make a positive contribution to their socially and multi-culturally diverse community;
- enabling children to celebrate their own and others’ achievements in a spirit of love, joy, peace and gentleness;
- developing a firm foundation to provide children with the skills necessary to make the correct choices in life guided by the Holy Spirit;
- building upon a Catholic community of faith actively promoting the partnership between home, school and parish;
- ensuring that children are safe in the knowledge that everyone will be valued for their differences; knowing that they are created in the image and likeness of God.
Aims of Religious Education
The Religious Education of children at St Thomas Aquinas aims:
1) To present engagingly a comprehensive content, which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
2) To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
3)To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
4) To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
5) To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
6) To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
7)To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
8) To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.
The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
How We Meet Our Stated Aim:
- The Scheme of Work
At St Thomas Aquinas, we follow the Diocesan scheme of work “Learning and Growing as the People of God” and the additional multi-faith coverage recommended for each year group by the Diocese. Class teachers have a long term overview of RE, in line with the liturgical year. RE is taught discretely and 10% of curriculum time is dedicated to the teaching of RE. There is a specific whole school assessment focus each year; for the academic year 2017- 2018, the assessment strand is 'The Sacraments'.
- Sacramental Preparation
Catholic children in Year Three (and children in older year groups joining the school from elsewhere) are prepared for First Communion and Reconciliation in school, by their families and by regular attendance at Mass.
The parish priest, Fr. Michael Miners, sets the dates for First Reconciliation and Communion. Preparation takes place in class by both the class teachers and the Parish priest and also during several after school meetings with relevant members of staff.
Meetings are also held with parents to encourage their involvement and support.
Confirmation Preparation is offered in Year Six- this is delivered by the class teacher and RE Leader, Mrs Wilson, in collaboration with the Parish Priest and Deacon.
- Prayer and Collective Worship
A collective act of worship should take place every day, within class, year group, key stage or as a whole school. Each teaching session should begin and end with a prayer. (Morning Offering; Grace Before and After Meals; End of Day prayer.) In addition, the school starts the week with whole school assembly on Monday, before the morning break; this assembly focuses upon the Sunday Gospel message. On Friday, a merit assembly takes place for the whole school, in which we recognise and celebrate our God-given talents. The Foundation Stage join together for daily collective worship.
Masses take place in the school hall. Whole school masses are held at least at the beginning and end of each term and on any major feasts and Holy Days of Obligation that occur within the year. Each class from Year 1 upwards will also have a termly class Mass.
Class assemblies take place termly, with a specific focus upon our Catholic faith and mission.
Family, friends and parishioners are warmly invited to both assemblies and Masses.
Teaching and Learning in R.E. at St. Thomas Aquinas:
R.E is taught in discrete, timetabled lessons by the class teacher.
Lessons follow the Long-Term R.E plan.
Lessons are differentiated according to ability in R.E and delivered to the whole, mixed-ability class.
Lessons are delivered using a variety of written, creative, discussion, multi-sensory and research activities.
Learning takes place within whole group, guided and independent work.
R.E. develops the children’s body of knowledge of scripture, beliefs, traditions, and history.
Children are encouraged to understand tradition, actions and opinions of their own Catholic faith and the faith of others.
Children are invited to question and to reflect on their own and others’ beliefs responses.
Where appropriate, lessons include liturgical reflection.