Collective Worship Policy
As a Church school we want to worship and we want our children to have the opportunity to learn to worship and to grow in their understanding of God and of themselves. Worship in our school is not simply a statutory duty. We believe that we and our children are made in the image of God and that worship is a vital factor in this image becoming more real and meaningful.
We believe that at its heart, Collective Worship should provide opportunity for pupils and staff to come together to reflect and pray, sing, share and communicate their feelings with one another and to God.
The Legal Requirements
We seek to comply with the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (Section 70 and Schedule 20) which requires that:
- All registered pupils (apart from those whose parents exercise the right to withdrawal) must on each school day take part in an act of Collective Worship.
- The daily act of Collective Worship should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Deeds of the school and the ethos statement in the Instrument of Government, and should be consistent with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England.
- All acts of Collective Worship in Church schools must be Christian in character.
- For Collective Worship, pupils can be grouped in various ways: as a whole school, according to age, or in groups (or a combination of groups) which the school uses at other times. Pupils cannot be put into special groups just for Collective Worship.
- Acts of worship must be appropriate for the pupils in that they should take account of the pupils’ age, aptitude and family backgrounds.
- The daily act of Collective Worship will normally take place on the school premises but all schools are able to hold their Act of Collective Worship elsewhere (e.g. the local Parish Church) on special occasions.
- Responsibility for the arrangement of Collective Worship in a VC school rests with the Governors in consultation with the Headteacher. Foundation Governors have a particular responsibility because they are appointed for “the purpose of securing, as far as practicable, that the character of the school as a voluntary school is preserved and developed, and, in particular, that the worship is conducted in accordance with provisions of any trust deed relating thereto. The Headteacher has a responsibility to ensure that all arrangements for Collective Worship are secured.
Anglican Faith and Practice
In addition to the above, we seek to provide acts of Collective Worship that reflect the faith and practice of the Church of England therefore:
We use the bible as a sourcebook for inspiration and learning and make pupils familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, psalms and other verses of scripture. We also introduce them to a variety of well-known prayers – many of which express the central beliefs of Christians throughout the ages.
We use aspects of Anglican liturgy to create a framework for worship. We use Christian symbols as a focus for reflection and provide opportunities to discover the value of meditation and silence. We observe the cycle of the Anglican year including celebrations of the major Christian festivals.
In our new school, we aim to provide a worship space which is attractive and well prepared with appropriate thought having been given to colour, space, seating, ambience and music.
We foster links with St. Ethelbert’s Church, involving the Reverend Peter Knight in leading collecting worship and providing coherence between worship in church and school and visit at least four times per year as part of the children year.
Connections with other local churches
The Anglican Communion sees itself as part of a global church and promotes ecumenism. At Thurton Church of England Primary School, we work to promote links with other local churches and Christian organisations and welcome their clergy and leaders as contributors to acts of collective worship. We recognise that while some of our pupils and families belong to Anglican churches, many worship regularly at churches of other Christian denominations and other from different faith backgrounds or none. We endeavour to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and accepted in worship without any pressure the participate inappropriately or to believe.
Rights and Responsibilities
As established by the 1944 Act and explained in the School Prospectus, parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship. However, having chosen to send their children to Thurton Primary School, it is hoped that no one will exercise this right. Should such a situation arise, appropriate arrangements would be made in keeping with the requirements of the Act.
The Foundation Governors at Thurton Primary have a particular responsibility to ensure that the character and foundation of the school are reflected in Collective Worship but the actual arrangements for Collective Worship are made by the Headteacher who in this school is the Collective Worship coordinator.
Aims and Purpose
The aims and purpose of Collective Worship as defined by the Education Reform Act 1988 are as follows:
- To provide an opportunity for the children to worship God
- To enable children to consider spiritual and moral issues (see also Spiritual Development Policy)
- To enable children to explore their own beliefs
- To encourage participation and response
- To develop in children a sense of community spirit
- To promote a common ethos with shared values and to reinforce positive attitudes
Planning for Collective Worship is led by the Headteacher and is undertaken in consultation with the school’s adult community. Plans follow the cycle of the Anglican year, including Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and underpinned by Values for Life which is based upon Christian Values. The Headteacher ensures that leaders and visiting speakers receive copies of the plans. Individuals and groups are responsible for using the plans as a basis for developing their own short term plans for individual acts of worship.
An act of Collective Worship is held daily. This may involve the whole school or smaller class or key stage groups. Where collective worship forms part of an assembly, we ensure that there is a clear distinction between the two elements of gathering.
The Headteacher and other members of staff together with groups of children take turns to conduct Collective Worship. The local vicar, Reverend Peter Knight takes an assembly every other Thursday morning alternating with his wife who also represents the church on the other Thursdays.
We conduct Collective Worship in a dignified and respectful way expecting children to behave appropriately. We create a suitable atmosphere by using music, pictures or other artefacts to act as a focal point.
We use Friday morning Good Work Assemblies as an opportunity to share children’s work and to celebrate their successes. These culminate in an act of Collective Worship and play an important role in promoting the ethos of the school. During these assemblies, we also share the Golden Comments that children and adults have written about their friends and the adults in the school.
Now we are settled in our new school, we invite parents to our Friday morning assemblies to see their children receive their awards. Governors are also welcome to attend acts of worship at any time.
The budget for Collective Worship is distinct from the budget for Religious Education. There is a wide selection of assembly books and artefacts which we regularly update and improve. We have an extensive collection of CDs which are used to provide suitable music as children enter and leave the hall as well as to accompany singing.
Contribution to SMSC development
We recognise that although SMSC development should be fostered across the whole curriculum, acts of Collective Worship provide a multitude of opportunities in this area. For example, children will be encouraged to reflect on and celebrate the deeper meanings of life, consider their own behaviour and recognise the need for forgiveness, appreciate the contributions of others and respond to their needs, value their own culture and the cultures of others.
Monitoring and Evaluation
We aim to develop the monitoring and evaluation of Collective Worship by continuing to keep records of Collective Worship and surveying adults and children as to their views on its effectiveness. We intend to make the criteria for successful worship available to all those who plan and lead it before asking them to submit short term plans. The coordinator and others will routinely observe and monitor acts of Collective Worship in line with these criteria. The coordinator will also involve the Foundation governors more fully in the monitoring and evaluation process.
We are committed to equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender, cultural background, ability or any physical or sensory disability. We therefore aim to make Collective Worship accessible to all and accommodate ourselves to individual needs when appropriate. As when teachers prepare lessons, worship leaders take account of different learning styles and aim to present materials using multi-sensory approaches.
Implementation of Policy
The Headteacher as Collective Worship Coordinator is responsible for this policy which will be reviewed every two years. Its implementation is the responsibility of all those planning and leading Collective Worship.
Signed __________________________________________ (Chair of Governors)
To be reviewed annually.