School Policies

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RE Policy 2018

St. Raphaela’s Secondary School
Religious Education Policy 2018

School Ethos/Mission Statement 

St. Raphaela’s Secondary School is a voluntary secondary school under the
trusteeship of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and run by a board of
management. As a Catholic school the person of Jesus Christ is at the heart of our

At St. Raphaela’s Schools we aim to create a learning community in which the
children in our care are given every opportunity to flourish academically, spiritually
and morally, in accordance with the spirit of St. Raphaela Mary.

The Vision of the School 

Inspired by the vision of St. Raphaela Mary

St. Raphaela Mary was passionate about educating for the service of the Gospel.
Wholeness, peace and reconciliation were extremely important to her.

For her style of education, the community occupies a fundamental role.

She wanted her schools to have a welcoming environment which finds its inspiration
in Christ and His Gospel.

For her, education means discovering the good that there is in every person, helping
them to grow, to discover their own possibilities and limitations, where every student
is given equal opportunity to reach their potential, where students feel recognised and
valued for who they are and where they are helped to grow in faith and in solidarity
with others.

Aims of R.E. in the school 

  • To contribute to the religious development of our students.
  • To develop co-operation between pupils, justice and fair play towards all,
    respect for truth and a love for learning.
  • To provide opportunities to deepen sacramental awareness
  • To encourage our students to ask and seek answers to important questions

The Rationale for the policy 

As a Catholic school we are committed to the importance of formal religious and
moral education. This policy allows us the opportunity to reflect on, explore and
articulate what it means to be a Catholic school. It is our hope and privilege to harness
the religious development of our students and to provide opportunities for them to
know their God. We strive to be faithful to the founding intention of St. Raphaela
Mary and the implications of what it means to be a Catholic school.

The objectives of the policy 

-To sustain the status of RE in the school.

-To promote the religious and overall development of the students.

-To appreciate the richness of religious traditions and to provide a framework within

which these traditions may be encountered.

-To offer a clear and transparent document where the aims, procedures and roles for
RE in our school are outlined.


Hilary Hardiman – Mater Dei

Joseph Brennan – Mater Dei

Esther Duignan – St. Angela’s

Trish Kenny – Trinity College

Yvonne Ryan – Mater Dei

Subject Provision 

Number of classes in each year (Hour long Classes)

  • Two in each Junior Certificate group (i.e. First, Second and Third Year)
  • One in Transition Year
  • Two in Fifth Year
  • Two in Sixth Year

Textbooks and Material

  • l ” Year students follow “A Question of Faith” by Whelan & McDermott, 3rd
  • 2nd Year students follow “A Question of Faith” Whelan & McDermott, 3rd
  • 3rd Year students follow” A Question of Faith” by Whelan & McDermott, 3rd
  • Students have a class set of Bibles available to them
  • Senior students have access to a range of resources and IT


  • Team teaching at senior level
  • Guest speakers
  • Trips to places of religious significance
  • Project work
  • Presentations
  • Inter class debates and discussions
  • Role plays
  • Diary keeping
  • Visual recordings
  • Reflective papers
  • Case studies
  • Creation of news headlines
  • 3,2,1 methodology
  • Preparing of liturgies

Staff support and Development

-Diocesan Advisor

-The Trustees

– In-services

-Subject budget (A budget may be granted to the Department to upgrade and improve

resources) .

-Induction of new staff members (new teachers are encouraged and supported by
those currently teaching Religious Education and generally by the school community.
New staff members will be given a copy of this policy and will be guided through the
religious ethos of the school).

Faith Formation and the Liturgical Year 

  • – Liturgical seasons celebrated (Christmas, Easter)
  • – Opening of school year mass, Catholic Schools Week etc.
  • – Examples of how school is decorated can create awareness about the time of
    Liturgical significance.
  • – Staff attendance and participation in liturgies.
  • – Critical Incident policy will include a religious/spiritual response when
  • – The subject matter covered in R.E. classes provides students with an
    opportunity for spiritual enrichment and catechesis, if they are open to it.

Outreach Programmes

  • – Local fundraisers
  • – Vincent de Paul Society etc.
  • – Shoe box appeal
  • – Christmas collections for the Women’s Refuge in Bray
  • – Run for Life
  • – Special Olympics Ireland
  • – Cycle against Suicide

– Transition Year Community CareFacilities and Resources 

  • Access to the Convent’s Chapel
  • Access to local Parish Church
  • Fully equipped computer Room
  • Each classroom is equipped with interactive board
  • Range of books and videos available


  • Religious Education is studied for examination at Junior Certificate Level.
  • All students sit formal in-house exams during Christmas and Summer exams in
    1st and 2nd Year.
  • Third Year students will participate in Mock and State Examinations.
  • 4th years will complete a project. This assignment will be graded and will
    contribute to the 4th Year credit system.
  • 5th/6th years do not sit formal exams due to the pressure of State Examinations.

R.E class instead offers students an opportunity for relaxation, where life skills
are enhanced by the subject material. In view of this, the students are assessed
on project and class work and on their classroom participation.

Subject Meetings 

Subject planning meetings are timetabled on a regular basis throughout the year.
Meetings will also take place to co-ordinate School Masses, to organise planning of Liturgical events and the Catholic Schools Week celebrations.


The school is currently using The Benildus Pastoral Centre for Retreats. Each year, 3 Year groups will attend a pilgrimage day in Glendalough, facilitated by the Pastoral Centre. All students are encouraged to attend this day, regardless of faith. It should be seen as an opportunity for reflection and mindfulness.

Chaplain – Trish Kenny (Guidance Counsellor)

Share in the preparation of whole school services and seasonal displays

Pastoral availability throughout the school day

Pastoral support for 1st Years which includes one-to-one meetings. These meetings serve to highlight:

Students who may require referral for Learning Support

Students who may require counselling

Students who may require help with “settling in” to Secondary School

Liaising with Year Heads and SPHE Team

Parental and Parish Involvement 

Parents are informed of the RE programme at the First Year introduction evening and
there is also an opportunity for parents to discuss the programme at our Open Evening
and Parent Teacher Meetings.

The Parish Priest (Fr. Paddy) often visits the school and helps the RE team organise the celebration of the liturgies in the school.


R.E. plays a pivotal role in the holistic development of the student. At the Parents’
Evening, the Principal outlines to Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of incoming students the
importance of attending R.E. class. Every effort is made to ensure that parents are
made aware that R.E. is a core subject to be studied in St. Raphaela’s and that the
subject is examined as part of the Junior Certificate. There may be occasions where
the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) wish to withdraw a student from the class. This request
must be directed to the Principal and an effort will be made to address the particular
area of difficulty. If the matter cannot be resolved through dialogue and recognising
the constitutional rights of the student, the withdrawal must be allowed.

In such circumstances, it will not be possible for the school to provide for supervision
of the student outside of the classroom. Students will be required to remain in the
classroom. As this is the allocated time for attendance at Religious Education,
students of other faiths or of no faith are required to use this time to explore material
relating to a Humanist/Philosophical perspective. This time may not be used for the
study of any other subject matter or for the completion of homework.

Monitoring and Review of Policy 

The Religious Education Department will monitor and implement the policy.
Communication between the Religious Education Department and management will
take place in order to assess the policy at the end of its first year.

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