This syllabus is based on the Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic schools. It has been developed by teachers in direct response to a perceived need for a clear framework for effective, systematic and rigorous teaching and learning, at least equal to that of other curriculum areas. To this end it addresses both content and methodology.
The primary content of all religious education material is the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and their implications for the lives of people today, and particularly for the lives of the pupils. Religious education material must, therefore, always present the three key elements of the Christian faith:
Other faiths are addressed as a consequence of, and in the context of, Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching about the action of God in the world requires an informed and respectful approach to other faiths. By a study of the action of God in these faiths, Catholics can come to a deeper appreciation of the revelation of God in Christ. Catholics can also learn from the practices of other faiths (e.g. patterns of prayer, fasting, pilgrimages etc.)
The syllabus incorporates attainment targets: learning about the Catholic faith (AT1) and learning from the Catholic faith (AT2). These are set out in the form of specific key learning objectives for each module.
The pupils’ books to accompany this syllabus provide rich resources: they are imaginative, engaging and challenging. The teachers’ books have theological notes, additional suggestions, activities, liturgies, worksheets and levels of achievement based on QCA guidelines.
The programmes starting point in presenting the religious content specified by the Religious Education Curriculum Directory [RECD] should be REVELATION. God is always the initiator in the history of our creating and redemption; it is His revealing of himself that makes classroom religious education possible. To begin with Revelation ensures that we respect the revealed nature of Christian faith.
From Revelation the programme moves onto CHURCH; in other words, we consider how Revelation gives life to the Church. The Church is, at one and the same time, the bearer of God’s Revelation and the divinely ordered means by which human beings live out their response to Revelation, enlivened by the Holy Spirit who fills the Church.
From here the programme focuses on two aspects of the Church’s response to God’s Revelation: CELEBRATION – the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, and LIFE IN CHRIST – the moral life and the pursuit of holiness – both enabled and enlivened by the activity and presence of God in the Church.
It is proposed that each of these Areas should, as far as possible, without artificial distortion of the content areas, be covered in each Module of work.
However, attempts to make clear connections between the truths of faith and the pupils’ own experience of life are essential. For many it is only when they see the relevance to their own lives of what they are learning that they become fully engaged in it. At times this will mean starting with the pupils’ experience. For example, in studying ‘conflict and reconciliation’ we might well want to begin with reflection on conflict in the lives and experience of the pupils. Nevertheless, REVELATION in the strict sense of the word would remain the starting point for the delivery and presentation of the specifically religious content material. We would look, in other words, at conflict in our world and in our lives as a sort of background, and then begin our religious education proper with how Christian Revelation addresses itself to conflict in human life.
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The Good Shepherd Primary School
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