Religious Education Overview
Religious Education is central to the educative mission of the Church.
‘At the heart of Catholic education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is expressed and explored in Religious Education.’
Religious Education is ‘the core of the core curriculum.’
‘Therefore Religious Education is never simply one subject among many, but the foundation of the 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….. 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. Religious Education is, then, the core subject in a Catholic school.’1
Religious Education is the systematic study of the teaching of the Church and the mystery of Christ and is a rigorous academic subject in its own right. Religious Education is regarded as an academic discipline with the same systematic demands and the same rigour as other disciplines. As such it is to be taught, developed and resourced with the same commitment as any other subject.
“Excellence in religious education, then, will be characterised by a clarity of succinct religious learning objectives and of key content, by appropriate methodologies, rigour, richness of resources, achievement of identified outcomes and accurate methods of assessment. Classroom RE will be a challenging educational engagement between the pupil, the teacher and the authentic subject material.”
Whilst evangelisation and catechesis are happening in our school for some pupils, the specific contribution Religious Education makes to the Catholic Life of the school is primarily educational and will be planned, taught, assessed and monitored with the same rigour as other curriculum subjects.
The outcome of Classroom 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”.
The Aims of Religious Education as stated in the RE Curriculum Directory are:
- To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
- 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;
- To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
- To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
- To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
- To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.5
Religious Education – Curriculum Time Allocation
10% of curriculum time is allocated to Religious Education. This does not include Collective Worship.
Programme of Study
To fulfil the above aims and to address the four areas of study outlined in the Religious Education Curriculum Directory, 2012 – Revelation, Church, Celebration and Life in Christ – the ‘Come and See’ programme is used as recommended by the Diocese.
Religious Education is taught through the process of Explore, Reveal, Respond. This follows the pattern of: the human search for meaning, God’s initiative in Revelation and the response in faith. This pattern is outlined both in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Curriculum Directory.
As the Directory states:
‘Teaching in Religious Education ….should help people be attentive to the meaning of their experiences, illumined by the light of the Gospel, so that they may respond to God more fully. Experience can also make the Christian message more intelligible.’ 6
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 either in the Spring or Summer. At least one week’s teaching and learning time per year is given to each.
Whole School Events
The Catholic Life of our school is intertwined with our Religious Education. We have a close link with our Parish Church, St Augustine’s Catholic Church, and often use this link to support our Religious Education teaching. Our children are given the opportunity to visit places of worship or meet with people from other faiths. We held a Holocaust Memorial event through which our children took part in a range of workshops to learn more about the Jewish faith. Or children take part in a range of fundraising activities each year which supports our teaching of Religious Education.
Here are some useful websites and apps you or your child might enjoy using to support them in their Religious Education:
Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle
RE Programme of Study
Diocesan Education Department
Family Faith activities
Explore the Bible
Activities for children