Spiritual Development and RE

Spiritual Development

Here at St Francis, creating an atmosphere for spiritual growth is at the centre of all teaching. The children are encouraged to pray, reflect, contemplate and make links with their 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 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. 

Pupils from Reception to Year Six have the opportunity to live out the traditions of our faith. All children are given the opportunity to lead worship through acts of worship within class and assemblies. They also take the lead across the school for our liturgical celebrations. The Saints feast days are marked and the prayer life of the pupils is enhanced in many ways. An example of this is our annual Patron Feast-day for St Francis, a Mass involving the home, school, parish tri-partnership is celebrated as one community. Children also lead in celebrating Class and House Masses whether in school or in our local parish Church, the Assumption of Our Lady. We also celebrate the Feast of All Saints and All Souls Day through praying for and remembering those who have died in our school, families, communities and wars. Our Remembrance Service is a prayerful and poignant occasion.

The whole school spend around 10-15 minutes a day in prayer or worship including the Angelus at mid-day. 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 to celebrate Mass on a number of occasions as previously mentioned. 

The communication between home, school and parish is appreciated and encouraged. The school liaises with the local parishes about the Sacramental programmes. The sacramental programme is parish based, however, the parish Holy Communion catechist is a member of staff which ensures continuity and consistency for the children while preparing for this important sacrament. First reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist takes place in Year 3 (8 year olds). Pupils are also offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation from Year 3 upwards in Advent and Lent.

The children are encouraged to pray individually and collectively. There are class and key stage acts of worship. There is a programme of liturgical celebrations in school which follows the Church’s year. At St Francis we have a strong relationship with our parish priest who will regularly visits school to lead assemblies and hold question and answer sessions with children across the key stages. This in turn extends the theological Catholic teaching to children whom may not be able to attend Mass regularly.  

Religious Education

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 delivers Religious Education following the Brentwood Diocese’s Come and See Programme.  These planned units of work are age appropriate and empower pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding to be religiously literate. 

Scripture plays an important part in the RE programme and connections are made between the readings and the children’s lives. Engagement with scripture is essential to understanding the faith story of the community of the Church. God is revealed to us through scripture and tradition. Therefore, scripture is the very heart of the tradition, which has been handed down to us and continues in the church as a living and developing reality.

These units are also linked succinctly to the Religious Education Curriculum Directory. 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 with speakers invited into school and arranged visits to different places of worship.