Religion and Ethos

SCHOOL PLAN
for
RELIGION

Introduction
This plan was compiled after consultation with our parish priest, the teaching staff, Parents Committee, pupils and management of our school. It was considered in detail by the teaching staff on Thursday, 31st May 2012 and on Monday, 12th November 2012. The plan was co-ordinated by post-holder Dolores Byrne.

It is what students do with what they learn when they can do what they want that is the real measure of educational achievement. (Elliot Eisner)

It is what students do with what they learn when they can do what they want that is the real measure of educational achievement. (Elliot Eisner)

SCHOOL ETHOS
(from “Introducing our School”, a booklet given to all parents on the enrolment of their child)
Piercestown National School is a Catholic school in which our shared values of mutual respect, effort, kindness, and personal responsibility are interwoven into the life and work of pupils and teachers. Our religious ethos finds a particular expression in our religious programme, our school and class Masses, liturgies and daily prayer. Visits to the classes by our priest are a welcomed part of parish and community involvement in the life of the school.

We place a strong emphasis on the close spirit of co-operation between home and school and amongst the teaching staff of the school, the varied and broad curriculum which develops the talents of the pupils and on the relationship between teachers and pupils which all contribute to a hard-working but enjoyable atmosphere.

Our classes are mixed and all pupils, boys and girls, are treated equally. We cherish the varied backgrounds, cultures and religions of our pupils and foster a spirit of tolerance and open-mindedness. No uniforms are worn in our school. To cherish the uniqueness of each child as created by God is our special concern.

We seek to maintain a balance between change and constancy and understand the importance of wide and timely consultation with everybody involved in all our major decisions.

BACKGROUND:
The Education Act (1998) confirms the requirement that schools ‘promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development … in consultation with their parents, having regard for the characteristic spirit of the school’.

Agreed Schedule for a Catholic School in the republic of Ireland
A Roman Catholic school (which is established in connection with the Minister) aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including living relationships with God and other people. The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic school provides Religious Education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith. (CPSMA, Deeds of Variation, p.29)

Rule 68 (currently under review):
Of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject matter, God’s honour and service, includes the proper use of all man’s faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.

Aims:
liturgical education
moral education
teaching to pray
education for community life
missionary initiation
preparation for sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation

Content:
Alive-O programme for each class Jun Infs to Sixth Class

Integration:
Aspects of many subjects will be integrated with Religion – SPHE, Art, Music, Drama, Music, English

Methodologies:
Stories
Poetry
Discussion
Music
Prayer
Reflection & Meditation
“At Home”
Memorisation of songs, prayers, poems, responses
Art
Alive O Video
Visits to classes by our parish priest, Fr John O’Reilly
Special Duties Teacher Dolores Byrne will organise a display in the hall for St Martin’s Day Patron saint of our parish (November 11th), Christmas, Easter and May.

Resources:
Alive-O programme
Alive-O Pupils’ books will be used in all classes.
Alive-O pupils’  workbooks will be used in Jun Infs only.
Booklets given to children by the parish for their Communion/Confirmation

Assessment:
Professional judgement of teacher
Pupil work, projects and artwork
Feedback from Diocesan Advisory Team

Community Involvement:

  • Our parish parish priest regularly visits the classes, especially 2nd & 6th.
  • He provides younger classes with attractive child-friendly booklets about Christmas and Easter.
  • 3rd-5th will celebrate an Advent Mass in their classrooms and a Lenten Mass in the church. Church Masses will begin at 9.40 am to allow for safe arrival of pupils.
  • Prayer services for Junior Infants just before Halloween break.
  • Pupils serve Mass from end of Fifth Class.
  • “Do This in Memory of Me” programme is run for Communion classes.
  • Sixth Class pupils will distribute ashes as part of their preparation for Confirmation.
  • Sixth Class pupils prepare the Harvest Thanksgiving Mass in the parish
  • Prayer services for Sen Infs and First Class during the school year

LITURGIES

  1. Harvest Thanksgiving in October
  2. Christmas Carol Service during the day or the evening
  3. Confessions at Christmas and Easter, organised by Special Duties Teacher Mandy Quirke in conjunction with our parish priest.
  4. End of Year Mass in June
  5. Liturgies organised at autumn, Christmas and end-of-year by Special Duties Teacher Mandy Quirke.

Parental Involvement:
Parents of Junior Infants attend Prayer Service before Halloween.
Parents of sacramental classes may attend meetings beforehand.
“Do This in Memory of Me” programme.
Parents present their children for sacraments.

Differentiation:
Our school is Catholic and this ethos permeates the work and life of the school. All parents are made aware of this at enrolment.  We recognise, however, that parents may have conscientious objections to their children receiving religious instruction or being prepared for the sacraments.

Rule 69.2(a) No pupil need receive, or be present at, any religious education of which his or her parents or guardians disapprove. 

Rule 69.2.(b) The periods for formal Religious Instruction shall be fixed so as to facilitate the withdrawal of students to whom 69.2 (a) applies.

The school will make a reasonable effort to accommodate such objections which may include some of the following:

  •  pupils being excused from saying their prayers;
  • pupils may receive a blessing in the church instead of a sacrament;pupils may move to another classroom during religion class;
  • pupils may move to another classroom during sacramental preparation or visits to the church;
  • religion class may the timetabled at 9.30 am or 2.30 pm with the pupil arriving late or leaving early;
  • pupils my be collected and brought home during religion class or church visit and returned to school later.

The school may, from time to time, in its curriculum and/or displays highlight the symbols and beliefs of other faiths.

Implementation:
This plan will be implemented with immediate effect. Implementation of the plan will be co-ordinated and monitored by the school principal and post holder Dolores Byrne in conjunction with the teaching staff.

Review:
A review undertaken in May 2012 found that Alive O Music and Bible Stories are going well. Some stories in the pupils books don’t relate well to the pupils.

The plan will be reviewed again no later than 2016/17. The review will be co-ordinated by the principal and will involve teachers, parents, pupils, diocesan advisor, parish priest and Board of Management.

RATIFICATION:
This plan has been ratified by the Board of Management and a copy has been made available to parents through Piercestown Parents Association and each teacher.

Signed:
Fr John O’Reilly (Chairperson), Dolores Byrne (Special Duties Teacher), Eamonn Barrett (Principal)

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