Catholic Life of the School
Catholic Life and Mission
Our Mission is: Led by Christ, together we grow and learn in God's family.
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.
All staff, led by the Head Teacher, deputy Head-Teacher 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. Governors and staff work together to support each other in providing the very best Religious Education possible for the pupils.
We are lucky to be be linked to two parishes in Kensington: Our Lady of Victories and Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock. Children from both parishes attend the school and clergy from both are active in supporting the school's prayer life and liturgy. The school site is fairly distant from the parish churches but clergy are generous in giving their time to visit us at school.
We believe that we share our role as educators of the faith with the parents and we strive to keep them fully informed about what their child is learning at school and to inform them about what they can do at home to further their child's understanding of the faith. Parents are welcomed to assemblies, Masses and other liturgies throughout the year.
The Christian values at the heart of our Catholic faith incorporate the key 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. 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 experience God's love and to understand the commitment to serve others that we are called to make.
Catholic Social Teaching is at the heart of what we provide and the opportunities that we give the children to help others in need. Throughout the year we support a number of charities and special appeals or fund-raising activities which are chosen and coordinated by the children, led by our Young Missionaries group. Some of the charities we have supported are: CAFOD, UNICEF, McMillan Cancer Care, The Catholic Children’s Society and local charities who support the homeless.
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 and the Governor responsible for RE, provide outstanding support and commitment to the central place of RE in the school.
We use the programme 'The Way, the Truth and the Life' which delivers the requirements of the Catholic Bishops' Conference and which supports teachers in delivering well planned and challenging lessons. It ensures that children are enabled to become well grounded in the key beliefs of the Catholic faith by following a programme which reinforces previous learning while ensuring that there is progression in content and expectations. We liaise closely with parents so that they are aware of what the children are learning in RE and can support them at home.
As part of the required curriculum we teach children about other faiths. From years 1-4 children have two units of work during the year, one on Judaism and the other on Islam. We use the Come and See materials for these and the school is well resourced with artefacts to bring them to life. in upper key stage 2 children do a more in depth study of other faiths, including Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
Prayer and Liturgy
Through prayer, both traditional and informal, and liturgies children receive direct teaching of the faith. Prayer and worship are central to the daily life of our school. We provide opportunities for children's spiritual growth and development through participation in a variety of forms of worship and through experiencing all 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 place in their relationship with God.
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. We have a small chapel which is a place where small groups can pray, as well as being a repository for books used in worship and stories from scripture.
Religious icons can be found throughout the school, often made by the children themselves. Displays of work in RE are of 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.
The key events of the liturgical year are celebrated in many forms such as whole school Masses, Christmas Carol Services, Nativity performances, Lenten liturgies, including Reconciliation, St. Matthew's Passion Performance by the choir, feast day celebrations, the Rosary and Stations of the Cross.
Pupils are actively involved in planning and leading worship, both in class groups and whole school settings. 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. Children are encouraged to write prayers, a skill which we explicitly teach, just as we teach other genres in literacy. Each class has a prayer toolkit which supports children understanding of different forms of prayer and enables the pupils to progress in writing prayers of quality.
We participate in liturgies, events and Masses as part of the wider Catholic community, such as diocesan events at Westminster Cathedral.