What Is Our Vision?
At St Helen's the Catholic faith and ethos is at the heart of everything we do. We believe that it is important for all members of our school community to know about the love of God and this message permeates every aspect of our school life. We provide a broad and balanced curriculum based in a Catholic atmosphere, through which we develop the personal, moral and spiritual growth of the children.
Accordingly, we present our religious education programme, Come & See, as an integral part of the children and staff's daily life providing opportunities for daily prayer and reflection and chances to develop each persons understanding of their own faith. In this way we aim to allow the children to see their beliefs in the context of everyday situations and help them to better understand the teachings of Jesus.
Our weekly RE lessons are delivered using the Come & See programme which has been specifically designed to help all children to feel involved in and find out about the loving and forgiving nature of God and to help them better understand Catholic beliefs and principals. This programme of study reflects the faith through the teachings and traditions of the church and complements the teachings taking place at home and in the parish.
Each unit of Come & See is split into 3 different teaching sections:
- Explore - In this section the teacher helps the children to begin looking at and reflecting on experiences in their own life which link with the unit. In this way children develop a clearer understanding of the significance and value of their own experiences.
- Reveal - This is at the heart of the process and involves the children discovering the Christian understanding of the mystery of the Trinity and exploring the mystery of human life revealed in the person, life and gospel of Jesus. This is done through learning about Scripture, the teachings of the Church, the Sacraments, prayers, rites, psalms, hymns and other expressions of Christian faith.
- Respond - In this section the children remember and reflect on the learning that has taken place in the unit and offers the opportunity to make personal responses in their daily lives. Following this children will plan and take part in a celebration and will talk about how they can apply the learning in their everyday lives.
Throughout all of these sessions we aim to help the children realise and make links between the events of the gospels and their own lives, all of this is done in a way that is appropriate to the age and ability of the children. This may take the form of:
- Class discussions about how the events relate to them or lessons that they might learn from them.
- Written activities in which the children imagine being present for certain events or been certain characters and think about how they might feel or have been effected by what they experienced.
- Drama activities in which children act out stories they have read.
- Hot seating activities in which children become a person from Scripture and try to imagine how they might feel or why they behave in certain ways. Adults may also take on these roles and allow the children to ask them questions to deepen their understanding of these characters and their actions.
- The writing of prayers, psalms or hymns to help celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus.
- Analysis of different sections of scripture, hymns or psalms and what their deeper meaning might be.
- Art activities in which children try to represent events or messages given to us in Scripture.
In addition to our weekly Come & See lessons we also offer the children other opportunities to celebrate, extend and understand their faith. These take the form of class based collective worship which may be based around events in the liturgical calendar, significant events in the class or learning taking place in the Come & See lessons. We also have whole school collective worship based around the events of the liturgical calendar and a weekly statement connected to daily gospel readings.
As with all other subjects children are assessed on an ongoing basis in Come & See sessions and these formative assessment judgements by teachers help to inform planning for future sessions to ensure that content is understood. These judgments are formed through discussions, assessment and feedback of tasks and observations of children's engagement of tasks. In addition to this, teachers also complete summative assessments at the end of each term informed by their observations and assessment of the children's work. These summative assessments are provided by the diocese and are judgements of objectives in three categories:
- Knowledge & Understanding
- Engagement & Response
- Analysis & Evaluation
Through both these formative and summative assessments we are able to judge the impact of our curriculum on the children's academic understanding of their faith.
As a school we recognise that the impact of our RE curriculum can not only be judged based on the academic attainment of our children in this subject and that, just as our Catholic ethos permeates all aspects of our school, the impact of this subject can be seen in all facets of school life. In our most recent Section 48 inspection (2017) it was recognised that:
The school is a prayerful and joyful community and its Catholic character is reflected in the high quality environment evidenced in the corridors and classrooms.
Pupils are considerate and caring and this can be seen through the efforts they put into supporting and leading charity activities. Recently the Shoe Box Appeal, MacMillan Cancer Care, Mission Together and The Good Shepherd and other appeals have benefitted from the generosity of the community.
It is through judgements such as these and our own observations of how our children interact with their peers, the wider community and those in need both in and out of school that we are able to see the full impact of our RE curriculum.