Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of collective worship are:
- to provide an opportunity for children to worship God;
- to enable children to consider spiritual and moral issues;
- to enable children to explore their own beliefs;
- to encourage participation and response;
- to develop in children a sense of community spirit;
- to allow children to explore and understand the importance of British Values and Christian Values;
- to enrich religious experience;
- to grow in liturgical understanding;
- to develop a sense of awe, wonder and inspiration in the person of Christ;
- to promote a common ethos, with shared values, and to reinforce positive attitudes;
- to teach children how to worship, to provide opportunities for reflection as outlined in our mission statement.
We understand worship to be a special act or occasion whose purpose is to show reverence to God. Collective worship involves all members of the school coming together and participating in an act of worship. We expect everyone to take an active part.
Our Collective Worship centres on the teachings of Christ and the traditions of the Christian Church. However, we conduct our acts of worship in a manner that is sensitive to the faiths and beliefs of all members of the school.
While most acts of worship in our school are Christian, we also hold acts of worship that reflect the traditions of other religions that are represented in the school and the wider community.
At the beginning of the day each class has a circle time which provides the class with an opportunity to come together and start the day as one group. This also provides the opportunity for the teacher to ‘touch base’ with each pupil in their class. This may also include a prayer, or reflection time to start the day.
Organisation of collective worship
We hold a daily act of collective worship.
We conduct acts of worship in a dignified and respectful way. We tell children that this is a time for calm reflection. We regard it as a special time, and expect children to behave in an appropriate way. We ask them to be quiet and thoughtful, to listen carefully to the teachings, and to participate fully in prayer and singing. We create an appropriate atmosphere by using music, and sometimes candles or other objects, to
focus the attention of the children.
The acts of worship are normally conducted by the Senior Leadership Team, although other staff members may lead at times. Rev. Karen comes to school regularly and may lead or participate in collective worship. The whole school visit St Mary’s Church on a regular basis and holds services at special times of the year including Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday, Harvest and Remembrance Day.
We take the themes of our acts of worship from the traditions of the Christian faith, and we observe the festivals and mark the events of the Christian calendar. Each week a different Christian/British Value is explored in depth and throughout the week, the acts of collective worship are underpinned by this value. A Christian Values display at the front of the main hall and in the school entrance highlights these core values.
Our weekly collective worship plans follow the ‘Listen, respond, go forth’ model. In order to help children to make the link between the Christian/British Values we uphold, and their basis in scripture, we start each week with a Bible story which exemplifies the week’s core value. Bible stories are often presented to the rest of the school in Whoosh assemblies which are led by individual classes and allow pupils to enact these stories. This is then followed by two more acts of worship which further explore the week’s value, allowing pupils to appreciate how these values are applicable to their own lives and how they can be ‘put into practice’.
The weekly format for Collective Worship is as follows:
- Monday – Deputy Headteacher / Whoosh Bible Story introduces this week’s Christian/British value through sharing and exploring a Bible story.
- Tuesday – Headteacher further explores the value and provides each class with a set of reflection questions to be used in a class-reflection circle
- Wednesday – Mrs Woodcock/Miss Nutton encourage children to think about how the week’s value can be exemplified in practice.
- Thursday – Hymn Practice
- Friday – Celebration – two pupils from each class receive mertis for demonstrating the week’s value; one child is upheld as a superhero for worthy behaviour.
Our acts of worship reflect the achievements and learning of the children. We encourage the children to participate by showing their work to the other children, and by raising issues that they have discussed in their classes. Acts of worship provide an opportunity to reward children for their achievements both in and out of school. Each week, on Friday a celebration assembly is held where merits are awarded to pupils who have been noticed for demonstrating the week’s Christian/British value by their teachers. Collective Worship also plays an important part in promoting the ethos of the school, which is that all children are valued, and all achievements are recognised. Gomersal St Mary’s CE Primary School is a successful school, and we shall continue to celebrate the successes of all our children through worship.
During worship our hall becomes a sacred space. A dressed table provides a focal point for reflection at the front of the hall: A draped coloured cloth reflects the liturgical colour; a set of candles (one for each class in school) represents the Holy Spirit; a Bible represents God the Father; and a cross represents Jesus, the son. A child from each class lights a candle at the beginning of Collective Worship and then leads the whole school in our opening prayer. The prayer marks the beginning of worship and is designed to help pupils to understand the Holy Trinity.
We open the Bible to think about God the Father,
We look at the cross to think about God the Son,
We light the candle and think about God the Holy Spirit.
After worship, they then extinguish the candle as their class leaves the hall, marking the end of worship time.
Parents are invited to attend celebration worship. We encourage their attendance, as this promotes community spirit, and shows the school and the homes working together in support of the children’s achievements. The school shares specific Collective Worship events with parents and families via the school newsletter which is produced fortnightly. This also appears on the school website. On special occasions, where we hold services at Church, we invite the parents of children from particular year groups, allowing parents from every year group the opportunity to attend a service at least once per year.
Governors’ attendance at our class acts of worship is always welcome.
Right of withdrawal
We expect all children to attend acts of worship. However, any parent can request permission for their child to be excused from religious worship, and the school will make alternative arrangements for the supervision of the child during that part of the assembly. Parents and carers do not have to explain or give reasons for their request. This right of withdrawal complies with the 1944 Education Act, and was restated in the 1988 Education Reform Act.
The headteacher keeps a record of all children who have been withdrawn from collective worship.
Monitoring and review
Monitoring this policy is the responsibility of the Governing Body and the practice of collective worship is evaluated by the children and staff of the school. Meetings of the SIAMS working party will also impact on Collective Worship as the school practice as a Church School is reviewed.
This policy will be reviewed every two years.
Policy updated: November 2015