The Place of Worship in our Church of England Schools
Worship in our schools is a journey. The school community come to worship daily by invitation and worship is one of the ways we explore and express our school vision in a unified and inclusive manner. It endeavours to be transformative where children leave the worship space refreshed and re-energised ‘to be the best we can be’. Collective worship includes religious, social, cultural, spiritual, and moral aspects.
Collective worship takes place in the classroom, the carpet area (our equivalent to a school hall), in the school’s outside areas and in church. Times of reflection and spirituality are not limited to these times and often occur across the life of the school. Children are invited to worship by the ringing of bells which signal it as a special time. Children are encouraged to prepare the focus table with objects that reflect the worship or are of importance at that particular time. The focus table reflects the churches year through coloured cloths and stoles. Candles reflect the Trinitarian nature of God. Children and adults sit in a variety of formations, often ages are mixed, sat in a horseshoe. The facilitator reflects all worshippers so that all worshippers are at a similar level and to encourage the shared ownership of worship.
Our pattern of worship is varied. However a typical collective worship will begin with a greeting which sets the intention or focus. Words or a story from The Bible will be read. Leading from this children are engaged to make the intention or focus ‘come alive’. For example through drama, dance, song, music, images, a visitor or poetry. Following this is the response, a time for prayer, reflection and time to offer our intentions. The sending out is a vital part of our worship and ensures the impact of the Collective Worship is carried forward into the working day of the school.
All members of the school community are encouraged to lead Collective Worship including staff, children, clergy and visitors. Members of the clergy are very valued part of our school community, taking Collective Worship regularly. Bridgebuilder Trust visit schools regularly through the year.
Collective Worship draws on our school vision, the church seasons, the seasons of the school year, British values, the values from Roots and Fruits, Space Makers, Worship Workshops led by the Diocese of Oxford as well as responding to the life events of our school community and the wider world.
Collective Worship is monitored and evaluated by the Executive Head Teacher and foundation governors on an annual basis. A ‘big book’ of Collective Worship is kept as a snap shot of the school’s Collective Worship journey and can be viewed upon request.