‘We live, love and learn together in the light of the life of Christ.’
St Augustine’s is a Catholic School, which makes this a very special place to be, but we welcome children from all faiths and beliefs.
“The Church provides Catholic schools to be more than just places where pupils are equipped with learning and skills for the workplace and responsible citizenship. Rather, they are to be the communities where the cultural, spiritual and personal worlds within which we live are harmonised to form the roots from which grow our values, motivation, aspirations and moral imperatives that inform our choices and actions as persons.” Christ at the Centre, The Diocesan Schools Commission
We are very proud to be a Catholic school. Our faith permeates every aspect of our school life and in the way the whole community treats and respects one another.
Children take part in collective worship, either as a whole school, as a key stage or as a class. On a Monday morning the whole school gathers to celebrate the start of a new week and will focus on a theme underpinned by Gospel virtues. Each half term we focus on a specific Gospel virtue.
We have a strong relationship with our parish clergy who celebrate mass regularly with the children, either as the whole school community or in class groups. There is an open invitation for parents, carers, grandparents, governors and parishioners to come and celebrate the mass with us. Mass dates are published in the school and church newsletters.
We are very fortunate to have a lovely Pugin church on site, used to celebrate some of our masses as well as being a resource for R.E, History and Art lessons!
Our children are encouraged to develop their own faith as they progress through the school, through formal RE teaching, opportunities for prayer and reflection, displays and religious artefacts around school plus dedicated physical areas. We have a Prayer Garden and the Garden of Eden. The Prayer Garden is for prayer and quiet reflection. The ‘Garden of Eden’ is used by the children across all years for ‘treat time’ to play in and be reminded of the Glory of God. Our Reception children often use it for stories and hot chocolate!
Each classroom has a ‘Prayer Corner’ dressed in the liturgical colours of the season, helping the children learn about the Church’s year. The children are responsible for looking after and updating the area, changing the colour of the cloth to reflect the correct season. They can include their own prayers, religious artefacts, living plants as well as other objects to help them think about God and others.
We have displays around the school in the main corridors and in classrooms appropriate to the liturgical season and linked to collective worship focus.
At St. Augustine’s school, we plan and teach our RE lessons using the Birmingham Catholic Diocese Syllabus ‘Learning and Growing as the People of God’. This is a selection of documents aimed at each year group in the school, which covers all of the aspects of our Catholic faith curriculum. The work we do in RE also covers other faiths and children are encouraged to celebrate faiths that are different to their own, as well as share their own faiths and beliefs. We dedicate 10% of our teaching time to directly teaching RE each week.
Prayer is a key part of Catholic life at our school and the children say a short prayer four times a day: at the start of the day, before meals, after meals and at the end of the day.
Children also regularly take part in and lead prayer times and reflections within their classes.
Children at the school take part in a special ceremony entitled “The Blessing of Stones.” Each new child to the school, no matter when they join, in Reception or further up the school, is invited to decorate a stone which is then blessed by Father Kevin and placed in the Prayer Garden.
This stone stays there and is a reminder that the child will always be a part of the school and will be remembered in prayer.
As a school we are committed to teaching our children to look after those less fortunate than ourselves. We have an enthusiastic Minnie Vinnies group of pupils and we also regularly raise money for charities through fundraising activities.
First Holy Communion
During Year 3 the children are prepared by their class teacher for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and the Eucharist. At the start of their sacramental preparation, the class leads a Sunday mass at St Francis Church, celebrating with the wider parish community.
Children are invited to find “Prayer Partners” to pray for them by writing a letter asking someone of their choice. This could be a friend, cousin, grandparent, the choice is theirs. The children begin to be more involved in the masses shared through the year as they join with the older children during the time of Holy Communion by receiving a blessing.
All children in the class follow the preparation and those children who are not Catholic are also invited to join in and play an important part on the day.
Towards the end of Year 5 children at St. Augustine’s enrol for the Sacrament of Confirmation. This involves attending mass at St. Francis church and stating Baptismal promises which were shared by their God parents at Baptism.
Confirmation is a very important step on the children’s faith journey and shows that they are committed to becoming adult faith followers.
Preparation for Confirmation takes place in Year 6 when the children led by their parents, class teacher and priest explore what it means to be a confirmed person.
All children in the class follow the preparation and those children who are not Catholic are also invited to join in and play an important part on the day. The Year 6 children are involved at every stage of the mass and take part in a very reverent and mature manner, reading, singing and being supported by their sponsor.
Alton Castle Retreat
The 3-day Year 5 retreat to Alton Castle in Staffordshire has become an integral part of the Year 5 curriculum, as the start of the children’s preparation for Confirmation. It is a wonderful springboard for the children to begin thinking about their commitment of the Catholic faith as well as growing in independence and maturity while having great fun.
It is a very spiritual event but also focusses very much on team building and life outdoors with lots of exploration, cycling, rock wall climbing, toasting marshmallows, den building etc – all things that Year 5 children should be doing. Alongside these activities is the capacity to spend time considering the wonderful world that God has given us and time for meditation and consideration of Bible passages. The children are given quality time to think about God’s greater plan for them and celebrate mass together.
Year 6 Retreat Day
In the last few weeks of the school year, Year 6 go on a retreat day to St Francis church. They spend time reflecting on their life at St Augustine’s, valuing friendships they have made along the way and looking forward to the future. At the end of the day they share a mass together which they have prepared.