Bede Polding College is proud of its Catholic ethos, with students benefiting greatly from a strong wellbeing emphasis. Our staff and teachers ensure that our students receive sound Catholic catechesis and ongoing support of the highest quality. We believe in the concept of 'Education and the Gospel' as the foundation of a 21st Century Catholic learning community.
Christian values and Catholic perspectives permeate the total curriculum. At Bede Polding College, Religious Education is concerned with the development of the whole person within a Catholic faith community and culture. It provides opportunities for students to grow in faith and understanding, to deepen their knowledge of Jesus Christ, to experience a sense of awe and wonder in God and to act in a just and morally responsible manner in everyday life.
Our Formation Action Plan Goal for 2021 is:
We, as members of Bede Polding College, will engage with (head) and reflect on (heart) the Gospel values influenced and imbued through Gratitude, Empathy, Mindfulness (GEM), to serve (hands) and positively transform all members of our community, guided by the life of Jesus and the example of John Bede Polding.
Our Formation Action Plan Goal is embedded throughout all areas of the College learning community including RE classes, GEM, Assemblies, Liturgies, Masses and Year Group meetings. The Goal provides an opportunity for all staff and students to embody the core beliefs of our Catholic faith through knowing our faith (Head) loving God (Hearts) and loving others (Hands) in the spirit of G.E.M, the spirit of Christ and the spirit of John Bede Polding.
The Religious Education Program
Every aspect of the curriculum is presented from a distinctly Catholic worldview; instilling Godly values and attitudes that will benefit our students for a lifetime.
The College follows the Parramatta Diocesan Religious Education syllabus. Each unit of Religious Education includes assessment processes which provide appropriate information for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching and learning and for reporting to parents/guardians. It is a Diocesan requirement that 100 hours of classroom teaching of Religious Education be undertaken in each year for Years 7 Year 10. In Years 11 and 12, 60 hours instruction is the minimum requirement. Senior students are able to continue the Diocesan program or opt for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) course, ‘Studies of Religion’.
The understanding of Religious Education identifies six interdependent elements of Religious Education in the Catholic Secondary school:
- the classroom Religious Education program
- integration of Catholic values across the curriculum
- the liturgical and prayer life of the school
- opportunities for retreats and reflection days
- community service programs and voluntary groups
- interaction of home, parish and school.
Teachers of classroom Religious Education have a privileged role, and all teachers contribute to the religious dimension of the whole life of the College. The essential partnership between home, parish and school is maintained through the College’s welcome, encouragement and invitation to parents, priests and other members of the community, to become involved.
Religious Life at Bede Polding
At Bede Polding College growth in faith is fostered by:
Each Monday morning the Staff meets before school for prayer.
All assembly and Year group meetings begin with a community prayer often prepared/led by the students.
Each RE class and GEM class begins with prayer to recognise God's loving and guiding presence around us and to help us develop our relationship with God and love others.
At approximately 12:25 pm each day a chime is played over the PA system. At this chime all activity ceases and the Angelus prayer is prayed staff and students as an opportunity to reflect on our faith in God.
Eucharistic Celebrations and Liturgies
Each school year begins with an Opening College Mass at which all students and staff are present. College Masses and liturgies are set around key dates of the liturgical calendar. Students also have a number of opportunities during the year for class and year Mass. Masses and Liturgies are also held to celebrate feast days and special occasions or to commemorate solemn remembrances. Eucharistic Celebrations are celebrated as part of Year 12 Graduations.
The Sacraments of Reconciliation is offered once a term. This is an opportunity for students to reflect on their actions, seek forgiveness and experience our loving and forgiving, creator God.
CYP (Catholic Youth Parramatta)
Bede Polding College has created a positive relationship with the Diocesan youth team, Catholic Youth Parramatta. CYP provides opportunities for our students to attend Diocesan events such as the Annual Good Friday Walk, LIFTED Live events and HSC masses. CYP shares resources for us to utilise in our RE lessons and offer College the option of organising various guest speakers to share their fath experience with our students.
SRE Religious Education
Our Year 10 students have the opportunity to share our Catholic faith with the students in local public schools once a week. This is also called ‘Scripture Teaching’ and our Year 10 students organise activities and lessons, engage in conversation about our faith and pass it on to future generations (Mt 28:20). The feedback received from our students and the local public schools is always positive and it is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop positive relationships in our local Hawkesbury community.
Staff Reflection Day
All staff participate in an annual reflection day providing time to reflect on their relationship with self, others and God. It is an opportunity for staff to gather together and engage in activities, discussion, reflection, celebrate Mass and deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith.
SWAG (Students Walking Alongside God) is a senior student-led youth group that meets twice a term during sport. It includes games, activities, discussion, and reflection all focused on the weekly Gospel or key liturgical year events. It is an opportunity for all students to engage in their faith in a welcoming, creative, engaging and loving atmosphere.
Annual Reflection Days
Years 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 in an annual reflection day. The aim of these are to:
- provide time-out for students from the normal pressures of school life so that each student may be allowed and assisted to reflect on her/his own life
- develop each student's understanding of her/himself and to enhance their self-esteem
- enable each student to examine her/his relationship with others, especially the important people in her/his life
- assist each student to reflect on and deepen her/his understanding of God.
- integrate faith in God with the realities of everyday life, such as relationships, study and leisure
- reflect on their role in addressing social justice issues.
- celebrate the Eucharistic Celebration as a cohort
Year 12 Retreat
Our Year 12 students receive the opportunity to experience a Year 12 retreat. The retreat provides them with time and space to reflect on their relationship, self, others and God. It enables the Year 12 students to connect with their peers and staff on a deeper and more meaningful level as they spend two nights away at a retreat venue. The retreat includes activities, discussions, games, conversations, shared meals, the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation and concludes with the celebration of the Mass. Year 12 students who have attended past retreats report the retreat as 'one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of school life', others speak of 'the unity brought to their cohort' and 'how the retreat helped them to better appreciate family and key life issues'.