The teaching of RE pervades all of school life at St Thomas. Firstly, there are discrete RE lessons, during which we follow the “Come and See” religious education programme as promoted by the Diocese (Arundel and Brighton). In these lessons, children explore the life and teachings of Jesus, the Sacraments, they learn about the Church (the community of faith) and Christian living.
As well as these lessons, Gospel Values are at the heart of our School and its ethos. They drive our Mission Statement and children learn more about their faith and themselves through worship times, prayer and reflection. We encourage all of our children to develop skills to be thoughtful and responsible and to live our Golden Rule: to treat others as you would like to be treated.
Our objectives in the teaching of RE are:
- To provide a structured and balanced programme of Religious Education that helps to develop the knowledge and understanding of the mystery of the Trinity, of the Church and the central beliefs, which form the Catholic Faith.
- To encourage the children to appreciate, through their own experience of life, a love and sense of wonder and awe of the Gospels, Revelation and Tradition.
- To promote enriching opportunities for prayer and worship, and to help the children to understand and appreciate the value of the Sacraments on their journey through life.
- To promote the growth of sound personal relationships, including an awareness of the nature and importance of human sexuality, as part of God’s plan for them and an appreciation of the values of the family.
- To foster appropriate attitudes by showing regard and respect for the views of others, a tolerance and some knowledge, as led by ‘Come and See’, of the beliefs and traditions of other faiths.
- To appreciate that living as a Christian involves a commitment to peace, justice, care and concern.
Our school recognises that we live in a diverse society – multi-cultural and multi-faith – and we seek to reflect and celebrate that diversity. We try to develop the child’s understanding of the self and to encourage attitudes of openness and sensitivity towards people whose religious beliefs and customs may be different to their own. We look to invite visiting speakers, look for suitable resources concerning the variety of celebrations and festivals, and seek opportunities in topics, music etc. to widen our children’s awareness of other Faiths and cultures.Two other religions are taught from EYFS to year 6 following the programme of study in “Come and See”. These are Judaism, which is usually taught in the autumn, and Islam, which is taught in the summer.
The school gathers for whole school, Key Stage or class Collective worship each day, as follows:
|Monday||Whole School Worship led by Mr Lewin|
|Tuesday||Foundation Stage and KS1 & 2 Collective Worship led by Senior Leaders and class teachers|
|Wednesday||Hymn Singing, praise and worship led by the Music teacher|
|Thursday||Class Assembly, Prayer Services or class based worship led by the children and Class staff teams|
|Friday||Key Stage Celebration Worships led by Mr Lewin|
Each Act of Worship focuses upon prayer and reflection, taking either a ‘Come and See’ theme or a current school focus, Diocesan or Parish development, local, national or world issue.
In addition, Monday’s whole School Worship reflects on the Gospel of the preceding weekend. The Celebration worships at the end of the week reflect on the week and the application of the themes from the Monday worship. They are also opportunities for the children’s learning and behaviour to be celebrated and rewarded with certificates of achievement.
As part of the School Council, children from year six make up the “Liturgy Team”. These children help to plan and lead Worship and have a voice in the development of the prayer and spiritual life of the school.