Collective worship is an important and welcome part of school life at St Mary’s. Both children and staff look forward to the daily opportunities to come together and sing, celebrate, pray and reflect.
We regularly welcome our local Rector, Reverend Rachel, along with other members of the local community to lead our worship and help us to understand Bible stories and their relevance to us today.
The children themselves enjoy presenting assemblies to the rest of the school and ensure that we observe and celebrate the main Christian festivals of Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas and Easter.
Organisation of Collective Worship
We hold a daily act of worship in our School, taking various forms:
Story assembly led by the Head teacher. A bible story or similar is used to explore the value or theme of the week related to special religious events from around the world or social issues that may have occurred during the week.
A visiting representative from one of the local churches leads this whole school assembly which again is explored through Christian or other faiths from around the world. All staff attend this act of worship.
One Tuesday a Term the Worship Team create and lead their own assembly.
Hymn Practice. These assemblies are led by the choir master from St. Mary’s Church. The children learn singing techniques, building their confidence to perform in front of an audience. The Staff lead classroom based assemblies at another point in the day to provide a reflection opportunity.
Key Stage/Class assembly. A member of staff leads a key stage assembly, based on the theme of the week, to allow for differentiation across the age groups. On some Thursdays a class assembly will be held where a class leads the assembly.
Celebration Assembly led by our pupil leadership team and the Head teacher. Children from each class are nominated by their class teacher where they have acted upon our school values. This assembly promotes the community spirit of the School to support the achievements of our children, celebrate their birthdays and other successes. All staff attend this assembly.
All assemblies follow the same structure as laid out on the assembly planning sheet. An example of which can be found in the Collective Worship Policy.
A variety of methods and experiences are used during our collective worship sessions, including:
- A story or reading from the Bible
- A poem or story
- A film clip or presentation
- A personal account of an experience or event
- An inspirational figure or group
- Silence for reflection
- Visits to church
- Visitors to school
- All classes say Grace before lunchtime.
In the Spring Term of 2008 the Governing Body of St Mary’s School introduced the REACH Award. It was designed to recognise those children that have best embodied the School’s Values.
REACH stands for:
Be kind, helpful and look out for others
Always try your very best
Reach your targets and keep progressing
Creative thinking, talented artist / music / DT
Be a ray of sunshine
Each term a pupil from each year group is put forward by the class teacher as the best candidate to receive the award.
In a special REACH Assembly the winners are announced and come forward to be presented with their REACH Certificate and badge. The badge can be worn for the whole of the following term.
General Format of the Assemblies
We take the themes of our assemblies from the traditions of the Christian faith and we often reflect the festivals and events of the Christian calendar.
The themes of our assemblies also reflect and build upon topics that we teach as part of the School curriculum.
Children and adults enter and leave the assembly in a dignified and respectful manner, often to carefully selected music, whilst drawing on children’s talents where possible.
All are encouraged to appreciate that assembly time is a period of calm reflection, a special time, where appropriate behaviour is expected.
We ask them to be quiet and thoughtful and to listen carefully to what is being presented to them.
A candle is lit as a sign of prayer and meditation and provides a focal point for reflection on the theme.
All Assemblies start with the words “Peace be with you” “and also with you” and end with “Go in peace” “Amen”
The theme of the assembly is introduced and the main part of the assembly takes place, through story, drama, etc.
All are encouraged to participate in prayers and hymns.
Children are encouraged to answer questions about what they have read and heard.
The Collective Worship Team
Our Collective Worship Team is comprised of pupils from each Key Stage 2 class. They meet regularly to consider the worship life of the school. This involves considering the content of assemblies and Pause Days but also reflecting on how the messages in collective worship spread into the school life and positively impact our local community.
In addition to this, the Collective Worship Team evaluates current practice in this area and suggests new ideas for worship across the school in a relaxed and open way. By doing this, the children have a vital role to play in helping to improve the Christian distinctiveness around our school.