Thornham St. James Primary School
Updated September 2019
Thornham St James C of E primary School Collective Worship Policy
At Thornham St. James’ School, the daily act of collective worship is viewed as an integral and important part of school life. It is based on promoting the Christian values which permeate the whole school ethos. Through this and in the general ethos of the school we seek to promote our mission statement.
To prepare pupils for life we will provide an inclusive learning environment in which each individual is valued. Pupils will be given the opportunity to identify and develop their skills and talents as people and citizens.
Our school is a Christian community where respect, love and tolerance are the foundations of our activities. Worshiping together fosters and affirms these values and attitudes.
Our priority is to provide a caring and supportive atmosphere, within an environment which will foster self-respect, self-discipline, self-esteem, confidence and motivation.
We have high expectations, permeating every aspect of school life.
We hope to achieve this with the co-operation of children, parents, teachers, support staff and governors.
Collective worship is a time when the whole school, or groups within the school meet together in order to consider and reflect on common concerns, issues and interests. It offers all pupils an important opportunity to worship through engaging in relevant, meaningful experiences and provides opportunities for the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
It is a time where we come together to share our love of God and celebrate our achievements (and sometimes failures) together.
Thornham St. James Church of England School is a voluntary controlled school and therefore follows the SACRE guidelines on RE and worship. The school does have very strong links with the local church and the community in general. On various occasions during the school year school we have special celebrations and services held in the church itself (Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Summer.) School also plays its part in the wider and more social aspects of the life of the church, church fairs and garden parties etc, and many of the pupils in school belong to church organisations such as Beavers, Brownies etc.
In accordance with the Educational Reform Act 1988 there is a daily act of worship for all pupils. (Parents have the legal right to withdraw their child from worship if they so wish. Any parents wishing to do so should contact the Headteacher).
Thornham St. James has many aims, both general and specific. Spiritually, we aim to nurture the faith and spirituality of each of our children through the lived experience of being a much valued member of our Christian family within school. A part of that lived experience is to understand and respect those who have different faiths, beliefs and cultures to our own, so that together we may make God’s world a better place in which to live and grow.
It is our aim at Thornham St James School that worship should:
Give expression to, and reaffirm and practice the Christian values of the school community.
Contribute to the spiritual, social, moral and cultural development of each child.
Support the Social and Emotional development of our pupils through making use of the SEAL programme.
Celebrate and give thanks for the achievements within the school, local and international community and occasions of significance, including festivals.
Foster and enable a concern for the needs of others, a recognition of the vulnerability of self and others.
Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to praise and worship God.
Provide members of the school community with the opportunity to experience stillness and quiet.
Provide a foundation for a mature understanding and practice of worship in the future.
We aim to provide a variety of worship experiences for our children. Acts of worship usually last for approximately twenty minutes, although it is recognised that this time will be shortened or lengthened as appropriate.
Every member of teaching staff and occasional visitors will be involved in leading acts of worship at some point in the school year.
Our current schedule is as follows:
Whole school worship led by the Headteacher whist the church is in an interregnum.
Whole school worship led by the Headteacher.
Concludes with a celebration of achievement and ‘Star Pupil’ awards.
Key stage worship.
KS2 children have assembly in the hall led by the Deputy Headteacher.
FS/KS1 children have their assembly in the Infant department led by a class teacher on a rota basis.
Whole school worship led by class teachers on a rota basis.
Teacher led assemblies held in individual classrooms.
Whole school worship begins with the children entering the hall accompanied by a piece of music.
Acts of Collective Worship
Collective Acts of Worship should be broadly Christian in character in order to promote Christian values. Each half term there is a theme for Collective worship based on SEAL. These are published at the beginning of term. Those leading worship that week are encouraged to relate their worship to this theme. The themes chosen are broad enough to allow all those leading worship to approach the theme from their own perspective. This will mean that by the end of the week the students will have had the opportunity to reflect on the theme from a variety of viewpoints. Alternatively class teachers may develop their worship from themes and events that occur in the curriculum during the week, link to a festival or saints day, or have some particular relevance in school at the time.
Themes for worship could incorporate such issues as: environmental protection, prejudice, race, peace, justice etc.; all of which come under the umbrella of Citizenship. This pattern is flexible and on occasions it is recognised that teachers may feel that they need to respond to local or national events. The content of all acts of Collective Worship should be considered carefully to ensure relevance and suitability for the ages, aptitudes and background of all pupils.
A variety of teaching and learning styles and active and interactive methods are appropriate in acts of Collective Worship. Any and all of the methods employed in the classroom can be used effectively in acts of Collective Worship. A variety of resources will also be used. The content and process must be sufficiently stimulating in order to evoke a response in the individual. This may not be visual, but opportunity must be given to express this response through reflection and prayer.
Any announcements to be made at the same time as an act of worship will be made at the end of the act of worship and a clearly defined break between them and the act of worship will be made. (A change of personnel, music, a moment of silence etc.)
Prayer and Reflection
Collective worship always includes a time of prayer and/or reflection. A range of prayers is used including the Lord’s Prayer, extempore prayers, prayers written by the children and others. They are introduced in an appropriate manner with a short time of quiet. A cross and bibles are also displayed.
At the beginning of the lunch hour, grace is said in each class. All classes end the school day with a prayer.
Although our worship reflects our Christian beliefs and values, we are committed to respecting each other’s faith stance and culture, showing tolerance and understanding regardless of pupils’ beliefs. The class-led acts of worship may portray other cultures and beliefs as they reflect the RE studied as part of the curriculum requirements.
Planning and Recording
Week by week records of assemblies will be kept to inform and prepare an assembly calendar for each new school year, taking into account:
Religious events and festivals from the major world religions.
Secular events (local, national, global) e.g. World Peace Day
Anniversaries and Commemorative days.
Special events in the life of the school.
Topics and other curricular activities.
Visits and Visitors
As part of the curriculum, Thornham St James School ensures that appropriate visits are made available for the children in order for them to have first-hand experiences and gain a greater understanding of various places of worship. Visitors to the school are welcomed and enabled to share their experiences and knowledge. St. James’s Church is our most valuable and frequently used resource, with the whole school attending and contributing towards annual Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Leavers’ Services.
Equal Opportunities and special needs issues
All pupils, regardless of academic ability, age, gender and ethnic origin will have access to a wide range of appropriate activities to support their understanding of R.E. At each Key Stage, the teacher will draw from other religions as appropriate to acknowledge and celebrate the religious beliefs of the children within the class.