CAFOD helps schools deliver the RE Curriculum

CAFOD offers a huge amount of really helpful learning resources and St Thomas Aquinas School Bletchley have been using some of these in the ‘Come and See’ RE curriculum around the ‘Universal Church’ theme this term.  Cathy Stormonth – CAFOD Education volunteer was invited to deliver some workshops and writes:

We chose to deliver workshops to Years 6, 5 and 2 around some global themes

 Year 6  The Work of the Worldwide Christian Family for the ‘Common Good’
Pupils were asked ‘Is there a need for CAFOD?’ and given some shocking global statistics to help answer the question.

  • 767 million people live on less than £1.40p per day.
  • 63 million children will not attend school this year
  • 663 million people do not have access to safe drinking water
  • 2.3 billion people do not have access to a household toilet
  • 1.06 billion people have no access to electricity

It made pupils reflect on their own lives and count their blessings.  Student Madeleine said, ‘I will make sure I do my best at school because I am very lucky to be able to go so I shouldn’t waste the opportunity.’

Another Yr 6 student, Connie, noted, ‘I will do little things like saving water and electricity.  I can also donate money when I can.’

Year 6 pupils also noted that there are 7.6 billion people in the world and 1.27 billion of these are Catholics. This prompted pupils to deduce that with numbers on this scale it might be feasible for the Catholic church to help and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people globally – and of course they are right.

Y6 showing off their work with Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth

This is the ‘Universal Church’.   Teacher Miss Brown was impressed with the quality of discussions and said,

‘The year 6 children really enjoyed the CAFOD session, learning the various statistics about poverty in our world really opened their eyes to the magnitude of the problem. They are thoughtful and caring children and their answers to different questions showed me how deeply they think about issues that not only affect themselves but also others. The session also showed them that they, as individuals, can do things that will cause a positive change in the world and taught them the importance of CAFOD’s role in doing this.’

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Bishop Parker Pupils are Energised by the `Power to be’

During the year pupils at Bishop Parker School (Milton Keynes) have responded to Pope Francis’ invitation in his letter to everyone – Laudato Si’ to live wisely, think deeply and to love generously in protecting the world that God has entrusted to us all.  Pupils have been thinking about how they can live more simply and, in school, have been trying to :

  1. Be less wasteful with paper and recycling more
  2. Reduce water usage – turning taps off when not needed
  3. Reduce electricity usage – switching off lights when not in use.

Cathy explains the impact of climate change at Bishop Parker School

CAFOD schools’ volunteer Cathy Stormonth delivered two Key stage 2 assemblies about CAFOD’s latest campaign ‘Power to be’.  She explained how a Kenyan village came to life and flourished all because they had electricity generated by solar panels.

Year 5 pupils construct their sunray display

Students felt it was unfair that 1 in 6 people in our world don’t have access to electricity! The effect of this is that children are not always able to have a good education as they are dependent on day light to study and can’t realise their dreams and ambitions.

Cathy encouraged the students to be ‘lobbyists’ and to write persuasive messages to Melanie Robinson (the UK’s representative at the World Bank) to spend more of their energy budget on safe, renewable energy which tackles poverty, so everyone can have the chance to fulfil their God-given potential.

>> send a petition to the World Bank

Yr 6 pupils reflect on their messages to the World Bank

In the subsequent workshop, Year 5 and 6 pupils were shown the Laudato Si video clip which has the global statistics about the impact of climate change. Pupils were very concerned to know how the poorest people on earth who live on less than 70p per day are the most vulnerable.  If sea levels rise in the next 20 years with the increase in global temperature then almost 200 million people in low lying island communities are at risk.  One Y5 pupil said ‘We have to do something about this now’

In the Year 3 and 4 workshops pupils were shown a CAFOD film clip on Climate Change and how the increase in its effects have happened through global industrialisation and the burning of fossil fuels.  We discussed how the UK has experienced extreme weather changes in recent years and how flooding, droughts and the rise in global temperature are affecting us all.

Year 3 power to be display

Year 4 construct their Sun ray Display

Pupils constructed their giant sun displays with a superb range of comments about their feelings about the unfairness of people living in poverty not having access to electricity. They wrote many messages to the British representative at the World Bank to reconsider raising the financial aid budget for using renewable and sustainable energy sources – especially solar power. Each of the 4 year group workshops ended with a reflection and a prayer.

Assistant head teacher, Mrs Jane Shone, reported later how pupils were struck by some of the stark messages and statistics delivered. She said ‘it was a very thought provoking activity for the children. They are very keen to try and change things now.’

>> To find out more about the campaign and to sign the petition, go to our website

A big thanks to Bishop Parker for having CAFOD in to share with the students who were really impassioned to act. Thanks also to our education volunteer Cathy who did a fab job in raising awareness of the plight of those living in poverty.

If you are interested in being a schools’ volunteer please get in touch