Collective Worship Policy
Jesus said, “I have come in order that you might have life
—life in all its fullness.” John 10:10
St. George’s School is a Church of England Academy and as such believes that worship plays a major part in promoting the Christian aims, values and ethos of our school as expressed in our mission statement, ‘Believe. Achieve. Care.’
St. George’s School is a Church of England Voluntary Aided Academy. Worship is therefore an important part of the school day as it gives pupils and staff the opportunity to come together as a school community to discover the immanent Creator God, as well as expressing and celebrating our commonality, and encouraging the whole school community to reflect on how we live our lives. Collective Worship is attended by all pupils, staff and any visitors in school are very welcome to join in.
At St. George’s we recognise that Collective Worship is an important means by which to provide opportunities for our pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development. Collective Worship is integral to our Christian identity and sense of belonging to the world wide Church.
It is our aim at St. George’s that worship should:-
- Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to praise and reach out to God
- Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to respond to Christian language and symbolism
- Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to experience stillness and quiet
- Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to experience a variety of forms of prayer and meditation which might include, praise, seeking forgiveness, asking on behalf of self and others, quiet reflection
- To help pupils begin to understand the nature and purpose of worship
- Provide a foundation for a mature understanding and practice of worship in the future.
- Contribute to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of each child
- Allow reflection and response to the fundamental questions of life and those things that are of eternal concern and value to human beings
- Foster and enable a concern for the needs of others, a recognition of the vulnerability of self and of others
- Celebrate and give thanks for the achievements within the school, local and international community and occasions of significance, including festivals.
- Promote community cohesion
- Give expression to, reaffirm and practise the values of the school community
Support the social and emotional aspects of pupils’ learning (SEAL)
Legal Status of Collective Worship
The 1988 Education Reform Act requires that “all pupils in attendance at a maintained school shall on each day take part in an act of Collective Worship”. The Academy seeks to fulfil this obligation by delivering high quality acts of Collective Worship in accordance with the school’s Trust Deed and reflecting the Anglican status of the school. Also, in addition to daily school worship, special services take place in the school and local churches during the course of the academic year, with the Eucharist being celebrated on a regular basis.
To provide pupils with variety in their experience of worship: acts of worship may take the form of a whole school act of worship for all pupils or separate acts of worship for pupils in different age groups or school groups; different media are used; guests may be invited to lead worship and / or address the congregation: and, Collective Worship may be held at any time during the school day and in different places round the school building and grounds.
The responsibility for arranging school worship in our school rests with the Governors who, after consultation with the Head Teacher, have appointed a Chaplain with responsibility for co-ordinating Collective Worship.
All acts of Collective Worship are in accordance with the guidance issued in circular 1/94 which states that worship should be of a “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”. By broadly Christian in this school we mean that pupils will have the opportunity to explore:-
- The nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
- The nature of human beings as children of God, part of his creation and, though sinful, destined for eternal life;
- Jesus as the Son of God who, through his life, death and resurrection, broke the power of evil and restored humanity’s relationship with God;
- The central values of forgiveness, selfless love, redemption, goodness, compassion, charity and service;
- The central place of the Bible as a source of knowledge about God and Jesus and as a source of inspiration and guidance;
- The importance of prayer;
- The central symbols of Christianity;
- The cycle of the Church year.
- Stories and other material from another faith may be used from time to time where these might effectively illustrate Christian values and support the development of respect for self and other people.
All acts of Collective Worship at St. George’s School take into account the pupils’ ages, aptitudes and family backgrounds and reflect and celebrate the Christian faith foundation of the school.
The school recognises that there is a difference between acts of collective worship and the assembly of pupils. On some occasions assembly may precede or follow an act of Collective Worship. When this happens the transition from assembly to worship will be marked in some suitable way e.g. the lighting of a candle or reflecting on an image on the screen, moments of silence and reflection etc.
Right of Withdrawal
St. George’s School seeks to be an inclusive community which values points of view from across the religious spectrum. However, we respect the right of parents to request permission for their child to be excused from Collective Worship in keeping with the 1944 Education Act and 1988 Education Reform Act.
School asks that the request is made in writing for our own records and the Headteacher is required to keep a list of names. School accepts that parents do not have to give reasons for their request, but asks for the opportunity to meet with parents in order to facilitate a better understanding on both sides.
School will make alternative arrangements for the supervision of pupils withdrawn from acts of Collective Worship. However, no additional work is set or followed in this time and parents are asked to supply suitable material for reflection appropriate to their child’s needs. Please note the right of withdrawal does not extend to assemblies.
Currently acts of worship take place daily between 8:40am-9am in form rooms or the school hall on a weekly cycle. Below is an example of Year 7’s worship timetable.
Acts of Collective Worship take place in the school hall and in tutor groups. These acts of worship are led by SLT, the Chaplain, Heads of Year and Lead Practitioners.
On those days when a tutor group is not in an act of Collective Worship it is assumed that the form tutor will develop and discuss the theme for the week with the tutor group allowing pupils the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the subject. Every form time is to conclude with prayer. These times of worship are led by teachers and pupils.
Planning, Recording and Evaluation
Collective Worship will be treated like any other part of the curriculum when it comes to matters of planning, delivery, resourcing, monitoring and evaluation. The content and methodology of Collective Worship should be varied and there should be evidence of this in planning. Furthermore the Academy seeks to involve pupils in the planning, delivery and evaluation of worship and has structures in place to see this happens.
Themes of the week are published and distributed at the start of the new academic year and a reminder is included in the weekly notices sheet. It is expected that those leading worship that week will relate their worship to this theme. Themes are chosen by the Chaplain in collaboration with the Spirituality Captains, Christian Ethos Team and members of staff. (Please see the Staff Handbook which explains the role of Spirituality Captains and the Christian Ethos Team.) The themes chosen also draw on the Church of England’s Board of Education / National Society’s http://www.christianvalues4schools.org.uk/ website. (Currently these values are known as ‘gifts’ at our Academy.)
We endeavour to make themes broad enough to allow all those leading worship to approach the theme from their own perspective. This will mean by the end of the week that pupils will have had the opportunity to reflect on the theme from a variety of viewpoints. This pattern is flexible and on occasions it is recognised that worship leaders may feel that they need to respond to local or national events.
The school provides each form with resources sourced by the Chaplain to support, encourage and inspire student led acts of Collective Worship. Resources for worship are freely available to staff; some are disseminated by the School’s intranet (COMPUTER>STAFF>CHAPLAINCY), and sign-posted via email, some are located within individual classrooms and others are kept by the Chaplain in her office. There is an annual audit of resources at the start of the new academic year where new items are introduced and missing items replaced. The school has an allocated budget to update and develop these resources.
Extra support for Collective Worship from the Diocese are provided by the Diocesan Advisor to High Schools and Academies, and Diocesan Youth Advisor, and can also be found on the website http://www.bdeducation.org.uk/ and the BDBE schools’ Pinterest boards.
This policy was approved by the Christian Ethos Team after consultation with staff, governors, the Head of RE, the clergy and lay leaders of St. Paul’s, Marton, and Freedom Church, Mereside, and Diocesan representatives.
Mr Warnock with the school chaplain is responsible for the implementation and co-ordination of this policy.
This policy was last updated by the Ethos Team in June 2017. It is based on Diocesan Guidance and was presented to the Governing Body for approval.
The worship policy at St. George’s School will be reviewed and modified on a regular basis at least every three years with amendments being added when necessary to this document prior to a review.
Date of policy: June 2017
Review date: September 2020
Head Teacher: Graham Warnock
Chair of Governors: Angus MacLeod