As a voluntary aided Roman Catholic School Religious Education is a fundamental part of our ethos, aims and relationships.
Our strong devotion to our faith runs through the core of all aspects of school life. We believe that links between home, school and parish are crucial in become greater global citizens.
Liturgy and Collective Worship
Our Catholic Faith is central to the day-to-day life of our school and all aspects of the curriculum. All pupils are encouraged to recognise the importance of their faith and they respond to all forms of liturgy and collective worship with respect and reverence.
At St Thomas More, we have rich liturgical life. Together we celebrate our role as part of our school community, parish and wider community, where we understand how much of precious and a joyful opportunity it is to be on our life-long faith journey with others. Weekly ‘Gospel’ assemblies are held for all staff and children focusing on the Gospel from Sunday’s Liturgy in order to help the children understand the key messages and meaning behind it. Additionally, Key Stage assemblies are held on alternate weeks led by different members of staff. These can be focus on scripture, a ‘Saint of the Day’ or as a time for prayer and reflection.
Our Parish Priest regularly celebrates Mass in school. Each class has their own celebration of the Mass and the children are involved in the planning and participation of the celebration. In addition, we celebrate our school feast day, holy days of obligation and other significant occasions. The Celebration of the Eucharist and prayer are central in our school.
Our Young People's Mass held regularly in St Thomas More Church is well supported by pupils, their parents, school staff and governors.
All acts of worship have a liturgical structure and are thoroughly planned and delivered.
At St Thomas More Catholic Primary School we follow the Archdiocese of Birmingham’s Curriculum Strategy for Religious Education in Catholic Schools called “Learning and Growing as people of God”. The strategy clearly lays out the steps to be taken in RE at each stage of the Primary Years. We then adapt this in order to make our lessons enjoyable and challenging for our children. As part of the strategy the children learn about what it is to live as Christians today, how the Church is organised from global to parish level and also the opportunities which exist for them to participate in the life of the Church.
Throughout the year, our children also learn about the Liturgical Seasons and have opportunities to link learning to prayer and reflection.
Children are taught by committed teachers who plant and nurture the seeds of faith. Numerous opportunities are created by staff for cross-curricular activities that link with and often stem from RE lessons. We hold regular RE Inspire Workshops, where parents can work with their child making for example Christmas Cribs and Easter Gardens. Additionally, we hold a ‘Global Dimensions’ week in the Summer Term around the time of our Patron’s Feast. During this time, children visit places of significance to other faiths including; Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam. This opportunity allows them to understand their rituals and customs thus building closer links with our communities.
The Catholic Virtues and Gospel Values permeate the whole curriculum. As school, we follow the ‘Jesuit Pupil Profile’. As part of this, the school focuses on a particular pair of ‘Virtues’ and we reflect upon what they truly mean and as a result we can encourage all to demonstrate them across the school day but also outside of it too. This is supported by our Catholic Life Team which consists of Father John, Mr Jordan, pupils and members of staff.
We assess the children regularly using the national and diocesan assessment tool. Children have the opportunity at the start of each unit to understand the vocabulary they will be using and where their understanding is expect to be at the conclusion of that unit.
Our current virtues are: Eloquent and Truthful
The children are supported in their preparation and celebration of the Sacraments by the school, parents and the parish. Children learn about the importance of the Sacraments through drama, storytelling, writing, singing and dancing.
In Year 3, Catholic children are supported in the preparations to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. As a school, we currently use the ‘I Belong’ Communion book which allows children time to focus on their preparations through activities, scripture reading and reflection.
In Year 6, Catholic children are supported in their preparations to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. There are opportunities for them to explore many saints before decided on their chosen. Throughout the Spring and Summer Term, children create a Confirmation project outside school on their chosen saint. This project allows them to delve deeper into the history, faith and trials and tribulations of that saint.
Our parents are encouraged to use their God given talent for the benefit of others and are very keen to help those that are in need, by their prayers and actions.
The Birmingham Catholic Primary Partnership have been involved in helping a whole Rwandan village to become self-sustaining, and for a number of years, we have been sponsoring four of the village children through their education.
In addition, since the Tsunami disaster, we have sponsored two Sri Lankan children to rebuild their lives, by providing funding for their education. We regularly receive cards and reports from the children, which is a wonderful way of connecting with the children.
Our outreach work also focuses on local charities. Regularly we support the Birmingham Fireside Centre, for local homeless, by providing Harvest and Advent gifts from our 'Giving Tree'. Also, during Lent, we focus on efforts on almsgiving for charities such as Father Hudson's Good Shepherd Appeal; CAFOD; Macmillan Aquaaid: RNLI and Barnardos.