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Religious Education



“The goal of Religious Education in the Catholic school is to assist each individual to grow towards a maturity in faith which makes possible an adult commitment in response to the call of God within the context of a faith community.”

A Framework for S5/6 RE, Rationale 1.2

As a result, the Religious Education Department of John Paul Academy aims:

  • To assist pupils in their development of a personal and spiritual awareness of God in their life and in the lives of others
  • To provide pupils with a supportive environment which promotes positive attitudes to faith and learning
  • To educate pupils in the rich heritage of the Catholic faith and to lead them to appreciate the rich wealth and wisdom of other traditions and religions
  • To contribute to the life, aims and development of the school community and society as a whole


Religious Education in Catholic schools should provide our young people with the formation and information required to make the adult commitment mentioned above a living and credible option for their future in a changing country and world.  Placing Religious Education within this wider context of the home-parish-school partnership helps to understand its purpose and its unique contribution.  It also makes clear sources and resources it can call upon, as well as defining its limitations.  The home, school and parish cannot expect the Department to assume sole responsibility for the faith development of young children; the Department, in its turn, should not seek to carry out its programme in isolation without reference to wider school and faith communities. 

On the other hand, few of our young people experience a regular, live contact with a parish or place of worship. Moreover, many of our young people have a regular contact with poverty.  Teachers are asked to start where pupils are in matters of faith.



“In the light of Christ, the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of every creature, the Council wishes to speak to all people in order to illuminate the mystery of the human”

Gaudium et Spes, § 10

The vision of Religious Education underpinning the curriculum is one which seeks to engage pupils holistically by developing their ability to identify and reflect upon key issues and questions at the heart of contemporary life in general and their own vocation in particular. This pupil centred approach seeks to engage all pupils from backgrounds of lived faith or none, in a journey of spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual growth so that they become increasingly able to make an informed, mature response to God in faith. Below are some of the guiding characteristics and beliefs which are shaping the development of the RE programme within John Paul Academy:

a) Pupil Centred

Our approach seeks to facilitate the engagement of the interest, imagination, mind and heart of each pupil in their quest for growth. Where possible we seek to draw pupils in to RE as persons, respecting their story and belief system. Within this context it seeks to impart theological content by taking account of the nature of the particular topic under study, the current lived reality of the pupil and ways in which contemporary culture relates to the topic.

b) Inductive

This approach is “inductive” in style, as referred to in the New Catechetical Directory. It involves the careful selection and sequencing of key questions and tasks, which serve to map out the route of the educational quest. By locating this quest within the concerns and issues that the young person recognizes as being relevant to their own needs, and relates to the culture that surrounds them, this inductive model provides a credible and relevant vehicle for the pupil journey.  The journey aims to take pupils on ever richer circles from awareness of their own situation to others, then to God … and around again.

c) Inclusive

The Department aims to be catholic in the widest sense of the word – i.e. open to all.  Its goal is to help all pupils from backgrounds of lived faith or none journey and grow. This journey, common to all, travels from, through and beyond the heart of our everyday reality towards that fullness of life to which we are called personally by God.

Teachers are always requested to be sensitive to the pastoral realities and needs of pupils.  This involves the promise never to judge others. Pupils are encouraged to understand in an increasingly mature way both the content and rationale of the Church’s teaching and practice in order to make good choices for themselves.  This learning needs to be undertaken in a spirit of inclusion, ensuring no one feels left outside.