The principal aim of RE is to ensure that teaching and learning truly reflects the vision and breadth of the teaching of the Church. The teaching of the Church is to be proclaimed faithfully and is the key to human happiness and social prospering. Pupils are guaranteed the possibility of developing harmoniously their own physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual gifts, and are also helped to develop their sense of responsibility, learn the correct use of freedom, and participate actively in social life. The primary purpose of Catholic Religious Education is to come to know and understand God’s revelation which is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Our school is ‘a clear educational project of which Christ is the foundation.’ In the person of Christ, the deepest meaning of what it is to be human — that we are created by God and through the Holy Spirit united with Christ in his Incarnation — is discovered. This revelation is known through the scriptures and the tradition of the Church. RE helps the pupils to know and experience the meaning of this revelation in his or her own life and the life of the community which is the Church. Hence, the promotion of the human person is the goal of our Catholic school. Religious Education is central to the curriculum of the Catholic school and is at the heart of the philosophy of Catholic education.
At St Thomas’, we follow the ‘Come and See’ Religious Education Programme in line with guidance from the Brentwood Diocese. This programme is followed throughout school from Reception through to Year 6.
This programme provides opportunities for celebration, prayer and reflection in implicit and explicit ways, introducing the children to a 'literacy' in religious activities, places, stories, symbols and rituals, people and objects, a 'systematic presentation of Christian event, message and way of life' in ways appropriate to the age and stage of development of the child.
The programme explores the religious dimensions of questions about life, dignity and purpose within the Catholic tradition. Links are made with the children's own experience and with universal experience. It will raise questions and provide material for reflection by the children on their own experiences. It will enable them to explore the beliefs, values and way of life of the Catholic tradition and, where appropriate, other faith traditions.
'Come and See' is taught through a series of 9 topics exploring:
Community of faith – Church
Celebration in ritual – Sacraments
Way of life – Christian Living
The process for delivering the topics in 'Come and See' has three stages - Explore, Reveal and Respond which enable the pupils with the development of knowledge, understanding, skills and the fostering of attitudes.
10% of teaching time is dedicated to the teaching of RE.
We also introduce our children to other world religions through our Come and See Curriculum. We cover Judaism and Hinduism each year, building their knowledge and making links with Christianity.
At St Thomas, we prepare children to thrive in the diverse community of Grays and the increasingly interdependent world. Pupils are confident and resilient in their own religious beliefs and identity, simultaneously showing mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and challenge prejudice. Pupils have a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them. Pupils are reflective, offering their own thoughtful and informed insights into religious world-views. Children from St Thomas are prepared to live positive and fulfilling lives, leaving our school able to fully participate in life in modern Britain. The impact and quality of our RE curriculum is evidenced as Outstanding in our last Section 48 inspection.