Dunham-on-Trent Church of England School
Policy for Collective Worship (Spring Term 2018)
Dunham on Trent is a Church of England School. We recognise that Collective Worship is at the heart of our school life in allowing children and staff time to reflect, drawing on those opportunities as described by the DfE (circular 1/94); worship God, consider spiritual and moral issues, explore their own beliefs, encourage participation and response, promote community/shared values, and reinforce positive attitudes.
Since 1944 Collective Worship has been a legal requirement in maintained schools. The law requires that all registered school age pupils take part in an act of worship each day. These acts of worship must be “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian Character” for the majority of the time. They must also be “appropriate, having regard to the ages, aptitudes and family backgrounds of the pupils”. In inviting the school community to worship, we have to be mindful of the varied backgrounds that the school community come from and it is therefore never the practice of our schools to preach to or seek to convert. The faith background of all is to be respected at all times.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children however as our main purpose in Collective Worship is for it to be meaningful and relevant for all our pupils, it is hoped that few parents will find the need for withdrawal. At present there are no parents who exercise this right. If in future children were withdrawn, adequate supervision arrangements will be put in place. Teachers also have the right to withdraw from Collective Acts of Worship.
Collective worship is not the same as an assembly, though can take place in the same gathering. A school may hold any number of assemblies each week, but must have a daily act of collective worship. Collective worship could additionally be held in class or tutor groups for a shorter period of time.
We aim for ‘Profound Personal Development’ for all our community. This aim is grounded in Christian faith and in the Church of England vision;
‘I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.’ John 10:10
This verse is the root of everything at Dunham-on-Trent CofE Primary School. It underpins our vision, informs school development and shapes our curriculum.
To achieve our aim and ‘have life in its fullest’
We learn together. We achieve together.
We work to the benefit of all, and expect the most from each other.
Our values contribute to both the vision and ethos of our school. Whilst these values are Christian in their origin, they are values that those of any faith or no faith can ascribe to. These values flow through all aspects of our school life, they help inform decisions and policies, shape our curriculum and equip our learners with values for life.
Our values are:
Through our Acts of Collective Worship we aim to: -
Our Practice and Purpose
At its best collective worship in our schools will offer opportunities for the whole school
• celebrate together and share common values
• develop a reflective approach to living and thinking deeply
• foster a corporate identity and build community
• affirm the individual and the community
• deepen every individual’s capacity for emotional responses
• awaken empathetic responses
• look beyond the material and the physical
• share experiences and possibilities of the transcendent
• challenge and question their own thinking and the views of others.
It may include:
• Pupil’s contributions
• Sacred and secular stories/readings
• Artefacts/natural materials
• Visual aids/focal points
• Dialogue/creative silence
A note about Prayer
There is no specification anywhere about what collective worship should include. Where
prayer is used it is important to ensure that:
• There should be no expectation that children will pray.
• Words introducing any prayer‐like activity are given as an invitation rather than an instruction.
• Any invitation to pray is made for the benefit of those pupils for whom it is appropriate.
• The use of silence gives space for prayer or reflection or both.
• The words need to be owned by the speaker and/or grounded in a religious tradition
• Everyone can be included in a personal reflection on the theme or story or words of a prayer.
• There is an expectation that everyone will be still and listen to the words a prayer, without expectation of participation.
Planning and organisation
When planning our collective worship we try to ensure that there is;
Foundation Governors – Mrs L Bakewell monitors the quality of collective worship. Ensuring collective worship is consistent with the trust deed
Head Teacher (CW & RE lead) – has the delegated responsibility for day to day acts of collective worship. As well as identifying and recording themes and resources; providing support for colleagues on delivery of collective worship; identify training needs; monitoring acts of worship and evaluating impact; ensuring all staff recognise the need to develop themes and content beyond collective worship.
Leaders of collective worship – planning and delivery of acts of worship
Special arrangements are made for children with special educational needs which may include for these alternative seating or support for those who find the large group experience of assembly disturbing.
We encourage guest providers throughout the year. Some of these maybe related to a specific project e.g. NSPCC, speakers from other faiths, Barnados etc.
Visitors refer to Nottingham & Southwell Diocese publication ‘Visitors leading worship – some guidelines’
This is done through recording planning and discussing with children, as well as questionnaires that are more formal.
Collective Worship unites the whole school and develops a sense of community. It is a time to celebrate the worth and value of every single person in the school community.
A printed copy of this policy is available from the school office.
The content of this policy has been supported by the following Nottingham & Southwell Diocese publications;
‘Guidance for collective worship in church primary schools’
‘Support for writing a collective worship policy for a church primary school’