Christian Distinctiveness and Worship
Collective Worship at the West Dartmoor Federation:
1. Overall Aim
At the WDF our overall aim is to:
Provide a safe, secure, positive and Christian learning environment where all members of the school feel valued and respected as individuals and learners.
Lady Modiford’s and Meavy Church of England Schools are Voluntary Aided schools. Worship is therefore an important part of the school day as it gives us the opportunity to come together as a school community.
All pupils and staff attend. Any visitors in school are very welcome to join in. The aims are to give everyone the opportunity to worship within a caring community environment and to enable everyone to experience and adopt moral, social and personal values from the Christian doctrine.
3. The School Standards and Framework Act 1998
The Act states that:
“The arrangements for the required collective worship may, in respect of each school day, provide for a single act of worship for all pupils or for separate acts of worship for pupils in different age groups or in different school groups.”
The requirement of this Act for Church schools ensures that every child in the school is entitled to an opportunity for daily worship.
All acts of worship are in accordance with the school’s Christian Ethos, and reflect the Anglican status of the schools. In addition to daily school worship, special celebrations take place in Church. Parents are aware that the school is a Church school and as such Collective Worship will be based upon the foundations and principles of the Church of England. The Governing Body its aware of its legal
responsibilities to uphold the Christian foundation of the schools in the Federation. This responsibility to uphold the Christian ethos and foundation of the schools in the Foundation is made clear to staff on their appointment.
4. Rights of Withdrawal
At the WDF we seek to be an inclusive community however we respect the right of parents to withdraw their children for Collective Worship. The school expects that withdrawal will only be made following parental discussion with the head teacher followed by written confirmation of withdrawal from the parents / adults with parental responsibility. As any children withdrawn from Collective Worship need to be supervised, they will either remain in class with a Teaching Assistant or the school will ask parents to make alternative arrangements if supervision is impossible.
5. Philosophy, Aims and Objectives of Collective Worship
Collective Worship is a shared activity, which allows those of any religious faith, or none, to focus and reflect. Worship offers the opportunity to explore, reflect upon and respond to the mystery and meaning of the Christian faith as individuals or through collective spirituality.
Our aim at the WDF is that worship should: reflect the schools’ Christian Ethos, be appropriate and relevant to all ages, aptitudes and backgrounds of the pupils we cater for, and offer opportunities to worship God. We aim to be inclusive and respectful of each individual’s integrity. We offer opportunities for pupils’ spiritual,
moral, social and cultural development, reflect some of the practices and traditions of the local church. We will endeavour to make it an enjoyable experience, open to opportunities to reflect, participate and respond to fundamental questions that are of a value and concern in people’s lives. Through Collective Worship we can celebrate special occasions in the Churches year and the life of the community and show appreciation for the God given gifts and talents of the school community. It will be regularly monitored and evaluated.
6. Responsibility for Collective Worship
The Governing Body holds overall responsibility for ensuring that the legal requirements for worship are met.
The Subject Leader has the responsibility for organising and planning the worship with the Priest in Charge, and in consultation with the Ethos portfolio holder from the Governing Body. This ensures continuity in the themes of Worship in both regular and clergy led services.
7. The Timing of Collective Worship
Collective Worship is given a special period in the school day; a time when various groups within the school can meet together for prayer and reflection. Worship takes place in a variety of settings, for example; in the school hall, in a class, in the local church and in the school grounds. Generally Collective Worship takes place in the afternoon between 2.40 and 3.00pm depending on the school. This enables us to come together to reflect on the school day and have a quiet time together before heading home. The local clergy lead the Worship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays across the Federation, repeating the theme in the federated school. Often on a Friday, Worship will take place at the end of the day to enable parents and the school community to gather to celebrate the children’s work from the week, their outside achievements and to join together in prayer. Each half term, a Methodist outreach group also holds Worship for the Federation.
8. The Planning of Collective Worship
Currently the Federation uses the ‘Spinnaker’ materials to set the theme of the Worship. This is linked closely by the clergy to their theme, to ensure continuity. 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 Federation is building into these themes celebrations from the Anglican Church calendar and also festivals in other religions.
9. Monitoring and Evaluation of Collective Worship
The monitoring of the planning and provision of Worship is to be carried out on a regular basis. The Foundation Governors have a key role in this process to ensure that the legal requirements are met and that the Worship offered to the pupils is of the highest quality. The Subject Leader will also monitor Collective Worship and feedback to Governors, the Senior Management Team and staff as appropriate.
This may include:
• Review of content and methodology
• Links to curriculum and classroom experience
• Review of resources and budget
• Requirements of law
• Attendance by Foundation Governors
• Important information relating to action planning and SIAMS documentation
We seek to encourage pupils to voice their views on Collective Worship and to be a part of the evaluation