Parish & Deanery
Religious Education and Catholic Life
The Mission Statement is at the heart of all we do. It reflects our faith and our purpose and our desire for our school to be a sign of God’s presence in the local community.
We journey and grow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ:
- We are all made in God’s image;
- We serve one another with love and respect;
- We learn and achieve;
- We join together in prayer, worship and celebration.
Mrs. Morreale has set these words to music and all the children can sing this statement joyfully and enthusiastically. Each class has made a book about the Mission Statement for their class and their own power point.
At St. Mary’s , from Early Years to when the children leave in Year 6, we develop the children’s ability to reflect and pray so that they grow in their understanding of the use of silence and the different ways we can pray individually and together. Prayer is central to our everyday routine and a prayer focus is at the heart of every classroom. These have a bible, a crucifix and other items to engage and support the children in prayer. Children add to these and are involved in their development.
We learn the traditional prayers of the Church and enable the children to pray in many different ways appropriate for the liturgical season, situation and age of the children. The children and staff regularly use the outdoor environment to pray and be close to God. The Bible Garden is another special setting where the children enjoy reflecting about God’s love for them. We also use our prayer labyrinth. Children in Key stage 2 keep a prayer journal. During the liturgical seasons of advent and lent and during the months of Mary, voluntary prayer groups are organised by the RE Council (a group of children who are passionate about the Catholic Life of our school) with guidance from adults where necessary. These are well attended with groups of 40-60 a regular occurrence.
The week starts with a collective worship for the whole school which is based on the Gospel of the previous Sunday. In this way, we follow the Church’s Year and enable those children who do not attend mass to journey together through the Catholic year as a community. Each Collective Worship gives the children the opportunity to reflect respond and ask questions. The children also plan their own class Collective worships and share these with their families. The children enjoy our beginning and end of term Masses held at the Parish Church, Our Lady Of Sorrows. They plan them with their teachers.
We also go to church for other Holy Days and special feasts such as Candlemas. Parents and parishioners’ attend together in good numbers. Each week a Key Stage 2 class attends mass on Friday with the Parish. A parent and governor facilitates a prayer group for parents through advent and lent.
Our Parish Priest, Father Chris, is a regular visitor to the school. He has an excellent relationship with staff and children and supports all that we do.
In the final week of the Spring Term, we hold an annual Spirituality Week. Everyone in the community looks forward to this. Each year we spend the week journeying through a theme that will enable the children parents and staff to grow closer to God. Each day starts with a collective worship organised by partner classes between younger and older children, which opens up the theme of the day for each class to develop and respond to.
The staff enjoy their own annual retreat opportunities and termly opportunities to develop their faith journey organised by the Leadership team.
Since September 2013 the school has used the Religious Education programme “Come and See” which is the approved programme for primary schools in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The programme enables the children to develop their knowledge of Catholic Christian Faith as they progress through Primary School. The staff have received training from the Diocese and the RE leader, Mrs Beaven to teach the programme with confidence.
Religious Education is a core subject and all children spend 10% of the week in activities and lessons that further their understanding of the themes being explored e.g. Reconciliation, Witness and the Liturgical Seasons e.g. Advent and Lent. Key vocabulary is taught and displayed in the classrooms. Key scripture is displayed and children’s work illustrates and what they have been learning. Key questions are displayed. The children develop their understanding through creative lessons that include art, drama, role play, ICT, music etc. The children take pride in their work and enjoy their lessons. We also teach the children about the other faith traditions of Judaism and Islam so that they grow in understanding of those in their local and wider community with other faith traditions.
Our core values confidence, collaboration, creativity, independence and service are founded within the Gospel values of love for God, love for oneself, made in the image of God, and love of others. The children and families respond to charitable giving with great generosity. In Lent this year (2015), we raised over £1500 in five weeks!
The children’s personal social and emotional understanding is developed through our Religious Education and the Catholic Life of the school. Our school is very proud of the range of support we can offer families and children who are going through difficult times. We have a range of therapeutic support for children and families, including a school counsellor who is part of the team, one to one and group sessions with children that include therapeutic story writing and meditation for parents.