The Catholic Life in our school is lived out everyday.
Catholic Life of the School
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
The Catholic life of the school is rich in opportunities for children to encounter God and to deepen their relationship with Him as a loving, compassionate Father. Through prayer, both traditional and informal, through liturgies and Religious Education lessons, where children receive direct teaching of the faith, through the relationships and support for each other that children, staff and parents enjoy within the school community, we enable children to come to know and love God.
Religious icons and artwork can be found throughout the school, often made by the children themselves. Displays of work in RE are of a very high quality and can be seen in classrooms and all around the school, including the school’s main reception area. Each class has a prayer focus area, with a liturgical cloth in the appropriate colour.
Statues or crucifixes are present in every room in the school, highlighting the underlying belief that everything that we do at our school is founded on our Catholic faith.
The Christian values at the heart of our Catholic faith incorporate our British values and we aim in everything we do to further each child’s sense of commitment and responsibility to themselves, to others and in the wider world.
At St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School we follow in the footsteps of Jesus promoting the Gospel values to our school community:
Respect – Respect for others, respect for the school building, respect for the values and beliefs of others, respect for ourselves, respect for our Catholic community, respect for other religions, countries and cultures.
Forgiveness – Following Jesus’ teachings by seeking to reconcile our differences, by saying sorry and by forgiving others and giving opportunities to make things better.
Truth – Knowing that telling the truth and being honest is always the right way.
Kindness – Trying our best to show kindness to others in all that we say and do, having kind hands and kind words for everyone – even those we find it hard to get on with sometimes.
Equality – Every human being is equal and valuable and loved by God. Everyone in our school is equal, unique and special and we treat everyone fairly. Everyone is equally special regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity or cultural background.
Prayer and worship
Prayer and worship are central components to the daily life of our school. We aim to provide all our staff and children with opportunities for spiritual growth and development through participation in a variety of forms of worship and through imaginative forms of prayer: formal, informal, spontaneous, private, shared, petitionary and meditative. In this way we aim to help the children to come to value and respect the power of prayer and its central place in their relationship with God.
We have a prayer room which is a place where small groups can reflect and pray, as well as being a repository for books used in worship and stories from scripture. This environment is one of reflection and contemplation which allows children and staff to take the time to refocus and connect with our Lord.
The key events of the liturgical calendar are celebrated across the year and are done in a wide variety of ways in order to inspire and develop a deep love of God enabling our children to participate in and care for God’s world. Classes attend weekly parish masses helping them to experience the Word of God in a setting which strengthens our school’s bonds with our parish community. As a school community we:
- celebrate whole school masses,
- plan and deliver Christmas Carol Services with the children,
- perform Nativity and Easter plays,
- prepare our children for the sacraments of Communion, Confirmation and Reconciliation,
- celebrate the Rosary through prayer groups,
- participate in traditional Catholic events of the Liturgical Year such as receiving of the Ashes on Ash Wednesday, and the Crowning of Mary on 1st May, acknowledging her central role as the Mother of God
- lead faith based assemblies
- encourage individual responses to God through child friendly prayer diaries
- praise God through a cross-curricular approach using Art, ICT and English
Pupils are actively involved in planning and leading worship, both in class groups and whole school settings. We have a dedicated Worship Team which plans and leads Collective Worship in Key Stage settings, delivers the Wednesday Word and takes responsibility for the Prayer Room ensuring a calm, meditative atmosphere is there for all to experience. Shared acts of worship take place in an atmosphere of reflection and stillness, where we encourage each other to listen to God speaking to us and to respond. We celebrate using traditional and contemporary worship music and encourage the use of live music when possible.
Children are encouraged to write prayers and this is a skill which we explicitly teach, just as we teach other genres in literacy. School has a central prayer resource area where children can use our ‘prayer toolkit’ of literature and Collective Worship materials to support their understanding of different forms of prayer and enable them to progress in writing prayers of quality.
The school as a Catholic Community
All staff, led by the Head Teacher, Deputy Headteacher and Governors are aware that the school’s foundations are built on the Catholic faith and beliefs and that it is our shared responsibility to transmit the Catholic faith to the children in our care. All staff receive regular In Service Training as part of their continuous professional development. Staff pray and work together to support each other in providing the very best Religious Education possible for the pupils.
Strong links have been forged with parents and the parish priest who serves our school community. We aim to work as a Catholic family to strengthen the faith of our pupils in the modern world, affording them the opportunities to grow in Christ. As servants of God we promote, organise and encourage children to participate in acts of kindness which have far-reaching consequences for those in our world who are in need. This is done through ‘Good Shepherd’ and the ‘Christmas Box’ appeals. Children are encouraged to discuss their own ideas for helping those in need with any member of staff in order to give them ownership of their own spiritual and moral development.
Learning in RE is at the core of the curriculum and we ensure that the Bishop’s directive is followed in allocating 10% of curriculum time to RE lessons. The Governing Body, led by the Chair provide outstanding support and commitment to the central place of RE in the school.
We believe that we share the role of educators of the faith with the parents and we strive to keep them fully informed of what their child is learning at school and to support them in what they can do at home to further their child’s understanding of their faith. Parents are welcomed to assemblies, Masses and other liturgies throughout the year.
The school follows the curriculum scheme of Come and See to ensure planning, coverage and provision are balanced and accurate across the whole school.
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