Collective Worship


It should he noted that

• As a voluntary aided school the policy for Collective Worship at St Paul’s is required by law to be determined by the foundation governors in accordance with the school’s trust deed.  This document is missing and the school does not have a copy.  There appears to be no standard wording which the National Society would have used in 1859 and thus the governors’ policy for Collective Worship is based on an assumption that the trust deed would have stated that Collective Worship in the school will be in accordance with the doctrines, rites and practices of the Church of England

• In September 1997 the governors voted unanimously to confirm their policy that worship in any one of the local churches may be taken to conform to the legal requirements for a daily act of collective worship in school for the purposes of the current education acts.  This situation will continue to pertain so long as this policy document remains in force.

• As for all maintained schools in England and Wales parents have the legal right of withdrawal of their children from Collective Worship and Religious Education. However, in making written application for a place at the school parents are asked to sign to say that they understand the nature of the school and the place of Religious Education and Collective Worship in its daily life.  They also commit themselves and their children to supporting the school in all its activities, including church services.  For this reason the governors expect that very few, if any, parents will exercise this option under the law.

1. Introduction

• This document is a statement of the policy of the foundation governors for Collective Worship in the school

• The policy is reviewed each year by the head teacher and the school’s Collective Worship co-ordinator and any proposals for major change or up-dating are taken to a special meeting of the foundation governors for their approval.

The school policy on worship is in general accord with the diocesan policy on worship in voluntary-aided schools and is consistent with the vision and aims of the school which set all its curricular and other work in an Anglican Christian framework. It is intended that there should be an integral partnership between the content and conduct of school worship and the ethos of the whole school.

Collective Worship at St Paul’s School recognises the multi-faith society in which we live. It respects the faith stance of each individual child, parent and teacher and reinforces the commitment of the Anglican Church to ecumenism.

In the implementation of this policy the governors wish to stress the importance they place on pupils, teachers, parents and governors sharing together in worship in order to support the promotion of Christian values.

A central feature in the purpose of Collective Worship in the school is the opportunities it gives to pupils to reflect, individually and collectively, on spiritual issues and to extend their capacity to appreciate, understand and wonder at some of the fundamental aspects of Christian life and some of the extraordinary features of God’s wonderful world.

Records of all acts of worship are held in school and are available for inspection by parents on request.

2. Aims

Through Collective Worship the school aims to provide a caring and supportive environment for children to

• experience the essential features of Anglican prayer and worship
• respond freely to religious and/or spiritual stimulus
• become increasingly aware of themselves as individuals and groups within the school and in the wider community
• reflect upon the value, purpose and meaning of things
• reflect on matters concerning right and wrong
• share times of joy  and times of sadness with others
• reflect upon ideas concerning beauty and that which is pleasing to the eye and ear
• be aware of the importance of sustainable development and its impact on the natural world.

3. Objectives

Children will be encouraged to

• understand the parts they can play in acts of Collective Worship
• show interest in, and concern for, other members of the school community
• show concern for the daily happenings in school life, the local community and the wider world
• celebrate special occasions together
• share appreciation of worthwhile projects undertaken by groups within the school
• explore and review the variety of values, attitudes and standards apparent in different religions and in society
• reflect upon the various dimensions of human life – the wonderful, beautiful, joyful, heroic, humorous or sorrowful
• reflect on the way in which human kind has expressed the deepest spiritual feelings through the creative and expressive arts, scientific discovery, religious practice, service to God and to other people.

4. Themes

Themes are selected as a focus for full school assemblies each Friday and are linked together through the term.  These may be followed up, if appropriate, during the following week in infant, junior, class or classroom assemblies, or teachers may chose other starting points linked to their work in RE or other parts of the curriculum.   The themes may include major events and festivals in the church year, stories from the Bible and from other religious faiths, topics from the curriculum, known national and international events and aspects from the school calendar.  Teachers may choose from a range of methods to approach worship. These include

• using the Bible as a source book for inspiration and learning
• using current issues/dates/school initiatives
• observing the cycle of the Anglican year
• secular stories and readings
• pupils’ contributions
• music, dance and drama
• natural materials and artifacts
• visual aids aid works of art
• visitors

Music is used at the beginning and end of all school and key stage assemblies as an aid to reflection.

5. Worship in church and in school

School worship includes whole-school services at St Paul’s Church, usually twice each term. Parents, neighbours, family and friends are always invited to join the children in their worship on these occasions and the church is usually full.

Children in Years 5 and 6 attend a Eucharist service, either at one of the school’s four associated churches (St Paul’s, Holy Trinity, St Peter’s and St John’s) or in the school hall with their teachers, usually twice each term. At different points during the school year, a key stage/year group will also attend a service at one of the local churches.

In addition, the two Christingle services (infant and junior), the two annual end-of-year services (infant and junior), the leavers (Year 6) and the new entrants (Reception) services held each year at St Paul’s Church add further dimensions to the school’s pattern of worship.  Again, parents, neighbours, relations and friends are invited to all of these services.

Worship in school is scheduled in such a way that in any normal week a child in any class in the school might experience

• whole school assembly
• key stage assembly led by an infant or a junior teacher as appropriate
• class assembly led by a class of either infant or junior children
• classroom assembly
• period of classroom prayer and reflection preceded or followed by a key stage
music/singing/hymn practice session in the hall.

Special services held in school during the year include those for harvest festivals, Christmas lessons and carols (Christingles), Easter and other festivals and occasions that arise from the Christian calendar or from special school events.

6. Programme for school assemblies

The programme for assemblies for each week is as follows

Infant classes
Monday  2.00pm Infant assembly (assembly to be led by an
infant teacher). Can alternate with Tues
Tuesday 9.00am Infant class assembly (assembly to be led
by either an infant or a junior class). Can  alternate with Monday
Wednesday 9.00am Classroom assembly (assembly to be led by    the class teacher)
Thursday 9.00am Infant hymn practice
Friday 9.00am Full school assembly (led by a member of the    clergy group).

Junior classes
Monday 3.00pm Junior assembly (assembly to be led by a
junior teacher). Can alternate with Tues
Tuesday 9.00am Junior class assembly (assembly to be led
by either an infant or a junior class). Can  alternate with Mon
Wednesday 9.00am Classroom assembly (assembly to be led
by the class teacher)
Thursday 2.50pm Junior hymn practice
Friday 9.00am Full school assembly (led by a member of the clergy group).

7. Notes for guidance

• Hymn practices are 30 minutes long.  They are led by the music specialist with an infant or a junior class teacher or teaching assistant overseeing the children.  There is a rota for this work.  The aims of hymn practice sessions are to increase the repertoire of children’s singing, to follow up songs and hymns which have arisen elsewhere and to practise and prepare for forthcoming assemblies, church services or festivals.  Class teachers and clergy are responsible for advising the music specialist of songs and hymns they would like to use and for which preparation may be needed.

There is no need for a classroom assembly on Thursdays when hymn practice takes place but classroom teachers should ensure that the class begins the day’s work with a thought, a period of quiet reflection and a prayer.

• Infant and junior Key Stage assemblies last approximately 20 minutes.  They are led by class teachers working on a rota basis.  The content is decided by the teacher concerned, but records are kept to avoid repetition and overlap and to aid continuity and progression. The Collective Worship record is maintained by the CW co-ordinator.

• Class-led assemblies take place on a rota basis on a Tuesday morning and parents of children in the class concerned will be invited to join the children and teachers for the assembly.  Class assemblies will normally last between 20-30 minutes.  They are not performances or productions, children often share with others work that they have recently been doing in their class. Classes who have led an assembly will share it with either KS1/2 (depending on their Key Stage) in a practice session the day before they present it to their own Key Stage and parents.

• Classroom assemblies take place once each week. They are led by the class teacher and may take whatever form the teacher decides.  Such assemblies would not normally last more than 15 minutes for infants or 20 minutes for juniors.  Occasionally two classes in a year group may come together for a classroom assembly, but the main aim of this session is for children to worship together in a class-sized group.

• Full school assemblies take place once a week on a Friday morning. These assemblies are led by a member of the clergy team, governor or visitor and are overseen by the head or deputy.  Themes for Friday assemblies are planned in consultation with the clergy group and circulated a term in advance.  It may be appropriate for themes introduced on a Friday to be followed-up or extended by teachers during the following week at infant or junior assembly, in the class-led assembly or in classroom worship.  This weekly assembly also gives the opportunity for members of staff to speak to the whole school, for certificates and awards to be given out, sports reports to be read out and for instrumental or choral work to be presented to an audience.  Full school assemblies may last approximately 30 minutes.

• In general the policy of the school is that each child will take part in an act of Collective Worship each day and that each child will experience up to five different forms of worship each week.

8. Withdrawal from Collective Worship

While St Paul’s is a Church of England school, we are committed to respecting individual beliefs. It is the view of the governors, however, that having chosen a Church of England school for their children parents at St Paul’s have accepted its faith and teaching, although they retain the statutory right of withdrawal of their children from Collective Worship.  Teachers who work at the school have accepted on appointment their duty individually and collectively to promote and to lead in Religious Education and Collective Worship at the school, although their own faiths and levels of conviction will undoubtedly vary.

Collective Worship at St Paul’s will at all times be consistent with the policies, practices and requirements of the following documents to which reference should be made for further information and detail

• Circular 1/94: Religious Education and Collective Worship (DFEE)
• the Agreed Syllabus for the London Borough of Enfield (Enfield SACRE)
• the Guidelines for Religious Education and Collective Worship in Church Schools (LDBS)
• the Religious Education policy and scheme of work for RE at St Paul’s (St Paul’s Governing Body).

9. IT

Opportunities are made for the use of IT in collective worship. Teachers can use a range of resources, in particular audio visual aids, to develop and enhance the theme of the assembly.

10. Inclusion

Provision is made for those pupils with SEN/disabilities to participate in the Collective Worship of the school by:

• providing adapted or modified seating arrangements
• providing support from adults when needed.

11. Ethnic Minority

Collective Worship covers a wide range of themes. Care is taken to incorporate a variety of stories from different cultures, to develop positive role models and examples for all the pupils to experience and appreciate.

12. The end of the school day

In all classes on all days the children will stand for a period of reflection and a prayer before dismissal.

September 2018