Primary Religious Education
The diocesan education department is most grateful to all teachers who, week in and week out, contribute to the religious education of pupils in our Catholic primary schools. The generosity of teachers, who bring a love of their faith, an integrity and professionalism to their teaching and a deep concern for the well-being of every pupil influence the communication of Catholic Christianity, especially as something lived out and offered as a source for good to society at large. This is reflected in the fact that religious education is taught as a core subject in a Catholic school, which must be well resourced and taught with the same academic demands as other core subjects.
Alongside the essential teaching of Catholic Christianity, Catholic schools are required to teach about other religions within the religious education curriculum. This is a feature of Catholic religious education in all stages of a child’s development, from the beginning of primary school until the end of secondary school. Teaching about other religions is important for several reasons:
- Learning about the religion and cultures of those who do not share the Catholic faith is one of the ways in which Catholic schools embody the call to love one’s neighbour. As the Church says, “The love for all men and women is necessarily also a love for their culture. Catholic schools are, by their very vocation, intercultural.” (Congregation for Catholic Education p61).
- It is required by the Bishops, who state that the Catholic nature of our schools entails “a willingness… to try to understand better the religion of one’s neighbours, and to experience something of their religious life and culture.” (Catholic Bishops’ Conference p3).
- Many of the children in Catholic schools are practising members of other faiths and our schools need to be places of hospitality for these children. It is an act of respect and courtesy that our curriculum helps them to reflect on the nature of their own religious identity. As the Church says, “All children and young people [including those of other faiths in our Catholic schools] must have the same possibilities for arriving at the knowledge of their own religion as well as of elements that characterise other religions.” (Congregation for Catholic Education, para. 18)
- It prepares the pupils in our Catholic schools for life in modern Britain, giving them an understanding of the beliefs of others. This in turn can contribute to the common good by increasing mutual respect between those of different religions.