Lowick and Holy Island C. of E. First Schools
Collective Worship Policy
‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing……..Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name’
Psalm 100: 1 - 5
As a church school, part of the Christian community, we want to worship. We want our children to have the opportunity to learn to worship and grow in their understanding of God and themselves. We believe that, at its heart, Collective Worship should provide opportunity for pupils and staff to come together, to sing and pray, to share and communicate their feeling with one another and to God.
Collective Worship at Lowick and Holy Island C. of E. First Schools takes place in accordance with the provisions of the School Standards and Framework Act, 1998. The content of all acts of Collective Worship is in accordance with the Trust Deeds. Acts of Worship must:
- Clearly reflect the traditions of Christian belief
- Be appropriate to family backgrounds, age and aptitude of the pupils
- Be offered to every pupil every day – subject to the rights of parents or guardians to withdraw their children
Right of withdrawal
We expect all children to attend Collective Worship, as it is at the heart of our life as a church school. However, any parent can request permission for their child to be excused from attending Collective Worship, parents do not have to explain or give reasons for this. It is hoped that every effort is made to ensure parents clearly understand the nature of Collective Worship at both schools before they make any decision. The school will make alternative arrangements for the supervision of the child during the period concerned. This complies with the 1944 Education Act and was restated in the 1988 Education Reform Act. The head teacher keeps a record of any children who withdraw from Collective Worship.
The DFE states that the activities of worship and assembly are two distinct and separate activities. It is therefore necessary to separate school business from Worship.
Collective Worship is worship shared by the whole school or in a smaller grouping. It is not a corporate act of worship, which assumes the sharing of a common belief, but a group of people sharing a single theme with opportunities for individual responses. We invite the clergy, members of the parish and local community, as well as church representatives from other denominations to take part in acts of collective worship to demonstrate the commitment of the Anglican Church to ecumenism.
Aims and purpose
The aims and purpose of collective worship are:
- to provide an opportunity for the children to worship God, through Jesus Christ
- to enable children to explore their own beliefs and experiences
- to celebrate and develop a greater understanding of Christian festivals
- to provide opportunities for spiritual, social and moral development that is characterised by feelings such as awe, wonder, appreciation, elation, respect, thankfulness and reverence
- to provide opportunities for children to become familiar with elements of Christian worship
- to encourage participation and response
- To nurture and encourage respect and care for God’s created world by promoting a positive attitude to environmental issues locally, nationally and globally
- to develop in children a sense of community spirit
- to promote a common ethos with shared values and to reinforce positive Christian values and attitudes such as love, trust and truth
- to encourage the sharing of joys and sorrows, gains and losses, achievements and failures
- to give children the opportunities to think about the ultimate mysteries of life and death and time to reflect on these
Collective Worship at Lowick and Holy Island Church of England First Schools takes various forms, most of which are part of the Anglican heritage:
- using traditional stories and readings from both sacred and secular texts
- celebrating festivals and special events concerning the school, the community and nation
- thanksgiving relating to the school, local and national events
- providing time for personal responses, reflection, prayers and stillness
- using a wide range of music, art, literature, poetry, artefacts, photographs and visual resources (using ICT websites e.g. REEP, Barnabas)
The educative value of collective worship is achieved by:
- creating links with the curriculum through themes related to classroom work
- using work produced by the children
- pupil involvement through leading worship, prayers, readings, recounting their own experiences, questioning, selfless acts (nominating others for awards) and participating musically and dramatically
We understand worship to be a special act or occasion whose purpose is to show reverence to God. Collective worship should be an experience, which encourages staff and children to feel included and therefore involving all members of the school community, coming together and participating in Worship. We expect everyone to take an active part, although pupils should not be compelled to respond in a particular way: they should be free to respond in a way that is appropriate to them. Our Worship is based upon the teachings of Christ, values and the traditions of the Anglican Church. However, it is conducted in a manner that is sensitive to the individual faith and beliefs of all members of the school. Sensitive school worship can serve the needs of all those taking part and should provide an opportunity for children to explore the spiritual dimensions of life, as well as focus on their own spiritual feelings and responses.
School worship can provide opportunities:
- to gain perspective and understanding
- to reflect
- to be still
- to be quiet
- to experience peacefulness
- to be together with others in a distinct and different way
- to respond and contribute actively and creatively
- to share thoughts and reactions knowing that they will be accepted and valued
The Atmosphere for Collective Worship
Collective Worships should have a sense of occasion and a special atmosphere. We conduct worship in a dignified and respectful way. It is a time for calm reflection, a special time when everyone is expected to behave in an appropriate way. Everyone should be quiet and thoughtful and listen carefully and be invited to participate in prayer and song. An appropriate atmosphere is created by using music; a candle with the church (liturgical) colours is a focal point. The time set aside for worship should be respected by all those working in and visiting the school. There should be no outside interruptions as this devalues it and reduces it to the mundane.
Organisation of Collective Worship
We hold a daily act of Collective Worship in our school. Times for Holy Island are tide dependent and are led by either the Holy Island teacher or the incumbent of St. Marys Church. At Lowick Collective Worship takes place at the end of the school day, apart from Wednesdays – when it is held at the end of the morning session. It is led by either the pupils, staff, students, visitors.
We invite parents/ carers to participate in Collective Worship during our Open Days (one per term), as this promotes the community spirit of the school and is a practical demonstration of the way the home and the school work together to support the achievements of our children. We welcome governors’ attendance at our acts of worship at any time.
There are weekly themes for worship. The programme includes events in the church’s calendar and important events for the school, village and wider community. Many of the themes are linked to the curriculum with a focus on values. Planning is based upon Anglican Faith and Practice. We seek to provide acts of Collective Worship that reflect the faith and practice of the Church of England :
- Biblical: The children learn Bible stories
- Liturgical: We use aspects of Anglican liturgy to create a framework for worship gathering, engaging, responding and sending
- Eucharistic: We encourage the children to give thanks in our daily prayer and reflection time
- Seasonal: We observe the cycle of the Anglican year including celebrations of the major Christian festivals
- Symbolic: We provide opportunities for children to use Christian symbols (cross, candle) as a focus for reflection
- Ecumenical: Our visitors who lead Collective Worship represent different Christian denominations
- Diverse: Our Collective Worship reflects the fact that Christianity is a global religion, through the use of songs and music from other cultures
Monitoring and review
Staff should complete the forms in the Collective Worship file after leading an act of worship including the book or story used, the song sang, any music used for reflection and an evaluation. The Rev. Paul Collins (Chair of Governors for Holy Island) and the subject Co-ordinator has responsibility for monitoring the policy and practice of Collective Worship and the teaching of RE across both schools. The Rev. Paul Collins liaises with the head teacher before reporting to the governors on Religious Education and Collective Worship.
Policy developed by: C. Vanson (Headteacher) April 2015