St. Colmcilles’ B.N.S. is a Catholic school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Our school models and promotes a philosophy inspired by belief in God and traditional Catholic values. We promote religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and ethos of the Catholic Church. Religious instruction, in accordance with the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church is part of the education given to children who belong to that Church. This policy has been drafted in response to the need to have a policy document which underpins our approach to the teaching of religion for all of the pupils who attend our school. It has been formulated in consultation with staff, pupils, Board of Management and the Parents’ Association.
Relationship between Religious Education and school ethos
The Schedule for the Catholic School is distributed / circulated to all candidates who are interviewed for teaching positions in our school. It is readily available in the Principal’s office and is displayed on the Religious Education notice board.
The aim of our school is to provide a caring, learning environment, which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full educational potential. The achievement of this aim informs all of the planning processes and activities that occur in our school.
Teachers and parents are partners in the children’s education, with co-operation and communication between home and school being vital ingredients in the educational process. We share the same aim – the well- being of the children in our care.
Motto: “Ní neart go cur le chéile.”
Aim of Religious Education Policy
The aim of Religious Education is to foster and deepen the children’s faith.
- Diocesan Information
Name of Diocese
|Name of Patron/Archbishop||Diarmuid Martin|
|Name of Director of Education||Anne Mac Donagh|
|Name of Diocesan Advisors||Sr Anne Neylon, Ms Helen Leahy, Ms Breda Holmes|
- Parish Information
Name of Parish
Name of Parish Priest
Fr Michael Carey
|Name of Chairperson of Pastoral Council||
- School Information
Name of School
|St. Colmcille’s B.N.S.|
|Name of Chaplain||Fr Peter Mc Carron|
|Name of Religious Education Representative||Blaithin White|
|Number of Catholic Children||302|
|Number of children of other faiths and no faith||75|
The Alive – O programme is the only programme approved for use in Catholic Primary Schools in Ireland.
Each class teacher has been supplied with an Alive-O Teacher’s Manual and Alive-O CDs to support the teaching of Religious Education. Also available are Alive-O videos/DVDs and teacher’s copies of the Alive-O pupil’s textbooks and workbooks.
It is recommended that each child have access to a copy of the Alive-O pupil textbook because this facilitates the learning of prayers, words of songs, prayer services / rituals and acts as a link between home and school. We do not currently use the Alive-O workbook in our school.
- 4x CEV Version (Contemporary English Version of the Bible)
- 18 X Read with me Bible
Teachers are encouraged to read stories from the Bible to the children.
The Religious Education Representative distributes additional Religious Education resources.
It is important to display a variety of symbols in the school in order to identify it as a Catholic School.
1 Crucifix in each classroom
1 Holy water font at Sacred Space.
1 statue of Our Lady at Sacred Space
Sacred Space in each room.
· Children are encouraged to bring in symbols from home relating to the R.E. lesson that week.
· Class Bible on display there.
· The Alive-O posters may be used as a back drop for the Sacred Space and perhaps a calendar depicting the Liturgical Year.
Doctrine is the Church’s teaching on the most important truths of Faith. Doctrine is found in the questions and answers in the To be Learned section of the Alive-O textbooks. In the Senior Classes the Modern Format of The Ten Commandments is in use.
During their period of education in St. Colmcille’s BNS, children are prepared for the following sacraments:
- Penance is a two year programme and preparation begins in 1st
- Children in 2nd class are prepared for the Sacrament of Penance each year. The book Alive – O 4 is used by the teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for the Sacrament of Penance.
- The First Confession ceremonies are prepared and organised by the teachers in collaboration with the priest(s) and parents / guardians.
- First Confessions take place shortly before the Communion ceremony and are conducted in the Church in the evening time. Parents / guardians are invited to attend with their children.
- Pupils, teachers and members of Parish of St Colmcille’s are involved in the Do this in Memory programme
- First Holy Communion
- Children in 2nd class are prepared for the Sacrament of Communion each year. The book Alive-O 4 is used by the teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for Communion.
- Communion ceremonies are prepared and organised by the teachers in collaboration with the priest(s) and parents / guardians.
- Children from the 5th class sing in the choir for the Communion ceremony.
- Parents / guardians are encouraged to become involved in the formal religious education of their children.
- The preparations and expectations for First Holy Communion and First Penance are discussed with parents at the Enrolment Ceremony which is held each year in late September / early October.
- Confirmation Ceremonies include the Enrolment Ceremony (Commitment) which takes place in October and the Ceremony of Light which occurs about one month prior to Confirmation.
- The children learn off by heart the Gifts / Fruits and Symbols of the Holy Spirit.
- The Children complete a Confirmation booklet in order to record their faith journey.
- Children in 6th class are prepared each year for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Alive O 8 Book is used by the teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for Confirmation.
- Parents / guardians are encouraged to become involved in the formal religious education of their children.
- Confirmation ceremonies are prepared and organised by the teachers in collaboration with the priest(s) and parents / guardians. As many children as possible are involved in the ceremony.
- Children from the 5th classes sing in the choir for the Confirmation ceremony.
- A programme of preparation for Confirmation which involves members of the faith community of St Colmcille’s was initiated in October 2014 by the School Chaplain. This involves the pupils and parents attending 2 evening Masses during the first term and two evening Masses during the second term. The pupils will attend a one-day retreat prior to receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.
Implementation of Religious Education throughout the school year
In St. Colmcille’s B NS, Religion lessons take place between 12:00 and 12:30 each day. This is to give parents of different faiths the option of withdrawing their children from class at this time and returning them after lunch at 13:00. As a school, we do not have the facility to supervise children outside of the classroom during religion lessons.
In St. Colmcilles, Religious Education is integrated in other parts of the curriculum such as Art, Music, Drama, SPHE, SESE and RSE.
Formal prayers are recited in the morning, at break time and before going home.
Children are taught the ritual format of Mass through drill and practice. From Junior Infants children attend prayer services in the school and learn to show reverence during prayer time. Class groups from 3rd to 6th inclusive attend Mass on a rotation basis throughout the year. The pupils from 2nd Class attend Mass on a regular basis prior to First Communion.
- All Catholic feasts are celebrated.
- Christmas – tree and crib, Christmas Stories, Carol services, Nativity Plays in the Infant classrooms.
- Feast of St. Brigid – making of traditional crosses.
- Feast of St. Patrick – depiction of story and shamrock, St. Patrick’s Day Cards.
- Lent – Symbols of repentance, visit of local clergy to school to school to distribute ashes, weekly Masses organised.
- Easter – Easter cards, story of the death of Jesus and resurrection.
- Feast of St Colmcille (9 June)
All interview candidates are given a copy of the Schedule for Catholic Schools and asked if they would have any difficulty in preparing children for Sacraments. Ideally a Sacramental class is not given to a newly qualified teacher, but if it is unavoidable, the newly qualified teacher will be paired with an experienced teacher.
Teachers of Sacramental classes are given the full support of all members of staff, including SNAs, School Chaplain, Religious Education Post Holder and Principal. A pack containing all the information for Sacramental preparation is handed to the teachers of Sacramental classes in September.
Missionary awareness is highlighted through the support of different charities such as Trócaire and Bóthar.
School retreats are not organised for specific classes.
Teacher’s retreats, organised by the Diocesan Advisors are publicised in the staff room.
The annual school Mass organised by the diocese is also publicised in the staff room. The Chairperson of the Board of Management usually attends.
Currently the Alive-O parent information sheets are not distributed but we are looking at the possibility of producing our own.
The Chaplain visits the school regularly and also makes arrangements for school prayer services, class visits and class Masses through the R.E. Representative.
We evaluate Religious Education as a subject taught in school through the effectiveness of it. This includes the reverence and respect which the children show in Mass, their familiarity with the Liturgy, their awareness of what constitutes appropriate behaviour, their knowledge of prayers and their ability to answer the questions on the Doctrine.
Partners in Religious Education
Parents support the school during times of Sacramental preparation and assist at home with Religious Education Homework. They are invited to attend the Enrolment ceremonies, Ceremony of Light, Communion and Confirmation.
The following programmes are implemented in our parish
- Baptismal Programme
- Do This In Memory Programme
- Confirming Our Children Programme
- Faith Friends Programme
These programmes are mainly co-ordinated between the Chaplain and the teachers of the Sacramental classes.
Roles and Responsibilities
A full school planning day was not be allocated to formulating a Religious Education Policy. However, the draft policy was discussed at the In-Service Day and by the Board of Management.
The Religious Education Policy was drafted in 2008, reviewed in 2011 and reviewed again in 2014.
The Principal, the Religious Education Representative and the Chaplain took responsibility for writing/collating the policy.
The Religious Education Policy will be reviewed formally every three years. It will be reviewed informally on a constant basis through discussions with staff members.
Ratification and Communication
A draft of the Religious Education Policy was presented to the Board of Management at its meeting on 15 September 2008. It was reviewed in 2011 and 2014. A copy of the Policy was distributed to all members of staff and was made available on the school website. The next review will take place in 2017. The revised policy was presented to the Board of Management for ratification on 28 January 2015. It was uploaded to the school website, www.colmcilles.net on 29 January 2015. Parents were informed of these developments in the regular newsletters issued by the school.