Those Present: Tricia Opalko, Father Pepe, Nick Griffiths and Julia Evans
Discussion Topic: RE
Once the governors had introduced themselves, Mrs Opalko explained to the children why they were there and that the governors wanted to discuss RE with them. The children were excited to talk to us.
Infant Children (Reception, Year 1 and 2)
What have you learnt about Jesus?
The children’s responses included, “We have learnt that he is very kind” and “Jesus cured people”. Mrs Opalko talked about her assembly earlier in the week and they discussed her message. One child said “the people went to see the priest and only one came back to say thank you”. Mrs Opalko asked the children if they could remember to say thank you to their parents this weekend.
Other comments were, “we learn about the Saints e.g. Saint John Bosco, he helped poor children”. Father Pepe talked to the children about St Bosco and said he was one of his favourite Saints.
NG asked the children “when you are learning, how are you learning?”
Responses were, “we listen to Mrs Brookman read us a story from the Bible,” “once we watched a video”. Other ways were also mentioned such as acting, singing and discussion. It is clear lots of methods are used to teach and the children enjoy the variety.
Fr Pepe asked the children “would you be happy if the school stopped teaching RE?”
One child looked sad and said “we wouldn’t learn about Jesus”. Another said “learning about Jesus helps us be kind and be friends with others”. “We wouldn’t learn to share and care” and “learning RE helps us to be kind” were some further comments.
The children went on to talk further about their RE lessons and what they did, such as acting out the last supper and talking about Noah.
Do you go to church and see Fr Pepe?
Some children go regularly and some only for school masses. All the children knew who Fr Pepe was. One of the children said, “Yes, I go to our church and I feel blessed by God”.
The children were asked about Collective Worship.
All year groups have Collective Worship twice a week. The children told the governors that they read stories from the Bible and have a prayer table for the focus. The children of one class told us about a prayer box they have in their classroom. They can write prayers and these are read out.
The infant children finished off by telling us that they pray 3 times a day in school. Once in the morning, once before lunch and once before they go home.
Junior Children (Years 3,4,5 and 6)
What do you learn in RE?
The year 5 children were excited to talk to us about the Beatitude lesson they had had recently. “We have been making up raps about the Beatitudes”. All the children have been learning about The Creation and told us what they had done in their lessons. They all said they enjoy RE lessons. Some general comments about their RE lessons included; “we sometimes act out stories from the Bible”, “we learn about God and Jesus”, “I don’t enjoy the discussion but I do enjoy the tasks” and “I enjoy the discussion and debates”. The Year 6’s said that all the stories had a message; “to teach us what is right and what is wrong”, “they also teach us what God wants us to do”.
Why do you need RE?
Comments from the children included, “we do because we are a Catholic school and we need to get closer to God”, “we wouldn’t be as loving if we didn’t understand his teachings”, “it is important to understand the church better”, “RE helps us understand other faiths and tolerance”.
Tell us about Collective Worship
The children told us they enjoy Collective Worship as “it is a nice quiet time in the week where we can have time away from the busy lessons and jobs”. The teachers create a quiet, calm and peaceful atmosphere by having candles, music and sometimes putting the blinds down to stop distractions. The children said they say prayers, and read from the bible. In small groups, the year 5’s sometimes get to prepare their own Collective Worship to deliver to the rest of the class.
Do you have prayer time outside of school?
“Sometimes my family prays when someone is ill in the family”, “I have prayer books at home and sometimes I choose one and read it with my family”, were some of the comments.
The children told the governors about a new prayer sack. Each class has a sack with a prayer book in it and each pupil will get it for a week. They can read others’ prayers and write their own. This is an initiative that Mrs Opalko introduced to the school in September. The children said they liked this and one child said they had it at the moment. They said, “I know how others are feeling”. The children said they get to share their prayers with the rest of the class.
To finish with the children made general comments about their experiences with the church. “I go to church. My brother is making his First Holy Communion. He has realized going to church is important”. Another child said “I go to church and I altar serve. I learn what Fr Pepe does and feel I get closer to God doing this job”.
The governors greatly enjoyed their chats with both the infant and junior children. They noted how confident and articulate the children were. On many occasions the children not only offered an opinion but also gave a reason why. They were very impressed and proud of the children.