Religious Education and Spiritual Development
‘For all pupils religious education is a proper subject in its own right in the school’s curriculum. It is a rigorous academic discipline.... For those already engaged in the journey of faith, religious education will be catechesis, and for some children and young people religious education will be evangelization, the first opportunity to hear the good news of the Gospel.”
Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools (Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales 1996)
As a Catholic Community, our belief in God provides the foundations for everything that we do at Westminster Cathedral School. Religious Education is a fostering of each child’s relationship with God and their neighbour. This begins at Baptism and is continued at home as well as at Church and School.
The school has adopted and implemented The Way, the Truth and the Life scheme of work. Through our Religious Education programme, we aim to explore the dignity and purpose of the religious dimension of life, within the Catholic tradition. Links are made with the children’s own experience and the universal experience. Children are also encouraged to explore links with other faiths and traditions. As part of our work on other faiths, there is a programme of visits to places of worship for children in Key Stage 1 and 2. Scripture plays an important part in the Religious Education programme and connections are made between the readings and the children’s lives.
Provision for spiritual and moral development is, therefore, at the heart of the whole school experience. It encompasses and enriches all aspects of the school day. It is also planned for through each subject area and through all of the systems that support the ethos of the school e.g. reward and sanctions, behaviour, assemblies, policies, physical environment, health and well being.
Our Catholic Schools, Their Identity and their Purpose 2012
Creating an atmosphere for spiritual growth is at the centre of all our teaching. The children are encouraged to pray, reflect, contemplate and make links with daily life and religion on a daily basis.
Prayer plays an important part in the life of the school. The classroom environments promote prayer and reflection by including a prayer focus with current liturgical icons, artefacts, symbols and prayers. These are used for daily worship. In all classroom environments, ‘stillness’ is encouraged at certain points of the day for communicating with God. Whole school prayers are taught throughout the year groups.
The whole school spend around 10-15 minutes a day in prayer or worship. This is done through collective worship, assemblies, guided meditations or services led by other classes or teachers. During the year the whole school gathers together as a school family to have Mass.
The children are encouraged to pray individually and collectively. On Holy Days of Obligation, Mass is celebrated either in school or at the Holy Apostles Church. There is a programme of liturgical celebrations in school which follows the Church’s year. The communication between home, school and our Parish is valued and encouraged. Parents are actively encouraged to attend all celebrations that take place in the school: Mass, Liturgies or assemblies. First reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist takes place in Year 3 (8 year olds). The sacramental programme is parish based. During Advent and Lent, a service of Reconciliation is organised for Years 4, 5, and 6. There is an opportunity for Confession.