Collective Worship

What is Collective Worship?

Collective worship is a sacred and significant time of each school day, where we gather together as a whole school family. It is the unique heartbeat of the school and is offered as part of a wider opportunity for pupils and adults to encounter faith by engaging in conversations about God, both as individuals and together. All acts of worship in church schools are (must be) Christian in character.

Collective worship strengthens and supports the Christian identity of our school and reaffirms our Christian vision and associated values of Endurance, Service, Hope, Reverence, Thankfulness and Compassion.

Collective worship and Religious Education (RE) are not the same. The law requires both RE and collective worship to take place in school, but at different times. The difference is that worship is concerned with celebration of, and reflective responses to, religious themes whereas RE involves study of them as an academic subject.

Inclusive, Invitational, and Inspiring

In St Mary’s, pupils and adults can expect to encounter worship that is inclusive of, and fully accessible to all. We understand that many pupils and staff in our schools will come from homes of different faith backgrounds as well as of no faith background.

We also know that pupils will be different stages of their spiritual journey during their time in school. Pupils should be given the opportunity to think and ask questions.
We will ensure that care will be taken to ensure that the language used by those facilitating worship avoids assuming faith in all those participating. It will involve meaningful contributions from them, bringing their own experience to worship.

Pupils and adults can expect to encounter worship that is consistently invitational. There will be no compulsion to ‘do anything’. Rather, worship should provide the opportunity to engage whilst allowing the freedom of those of different faiths and no faith background to be present and to engage with integrity.

This means that there is clarity and authenticity of the Christian message at the heart of Collective Worship, but that everybody can engage at the level that they feel comfortable with.
Pupils and adults will only be invited to pray if they wish to do so will invited to pray in their own way.

Pupils and adults can expect the worship they encounter in St Mary’s to be inspirational. Worship aims to be formational and transformational, enabling pupils and adults to ask big questions about who we are and why we do what we do. It aims to should motivate pupils and adults into action, into thinking differently and into reflecting on their and the community’s behaviour and actions.

As a result of inspirational collective worship, we want participants to be inspired to become courageous advocates of causes. It should encourage them to think searchingly about their faith, beliefs and/or philosophical convictions.

Occasionally there will be those who are uncomfortable to enter through this open door of worship in our schools and so the Church of England recognises the right of withdrawal from collective worship for those parents or pupils who wish to exercise this option.