St Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School

'A welcoming and vibrant place in which children develop their skills well'  — Ofsted 2015

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Collective Worship

The Nature of Collective Worship

We believe that Christian worship in a Catholic school celebrates God’s presence in our lives.  Worship is concerned with giving glory, honour, and praise and thanks to God in response to the eternal invitation to enter into relationship, made possible through the mission of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Place of Collective Worship in the School

Collective worship is a legal daily requirement which is distinct from curriculum time. For Catholic schools this requirement is made explicit within the Trust Deed of the Archdiocese of Birmingham which states: “Religious worship is to be in accordance with the rites, practices, discipline and liturgical norms of the Catholic Church. At all times the school is to serve as a witness to the Catholic Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

We acknowledge the legal requirements of collective worship and we understand that simply holding an assembly that includes prayer during the school day does not meet the needs of pupils and staff in a Catholic school.  To quote the CES guidance:

 

In schools with a designated religious character, like Catholic schools, collective worship is far more than a statutory requirement.  It is crucial to the spiritual life of the school and to pupils’ moral and spiritual development.  Collective worship is an important part of a Catholic school’s distinctive ethos.

Taking part in daily collective worship helps build community cohesion by creating a consistent structure around the core values and symbols of Christianity. In Catholic schools, pupil participation and engagement in worship are important criteria in the diocesan inspection of Catholic education, not least during the daily act of collective worship.  From Reception to Year 13, pupils are invited to play an active part in collective worship.

As an integral part of the Catholic school environment collective worship considers the needs of all who participate in it.  Worship is inclusive for:

  • those who are part of the worshipping community in parish and in church
  • those for whom school may be their first and only experience of worship
  • those from other Christian backgrounds or none
  • those from other faith backgrounds
  • be simple, including a range of experiences in a variety of groupings and in a variety of settings

Collective worship is an educational experience that all members of the school community derive benefit.

 

The Aims of Collective Worship

We believe that Collective Worship in our school aims to provide opportunity for all pupils and staff:

  • To come together to worship God
  • To contemplate something of the mystery of God
  • To reflect on spiritual and moral issues
  • To explore their own beliefs
  • To respond to and celebrate life and reinforce positive attitudes
  • To experience a sense of belonging and develop community spirit
  • To develop a common ethos and shared values
  • To enrich religious experience
  • To grow in liturgical understanding and development
  • To reinforce prayers which are part of the Catholic tradition
  • To encourage participation and response, whether through active involvement in the presentation and planning of worship or through listening and joining in the worship offered
  • To take time out ‘to wonder at’, ‘to come to terms with’ and ‘to give worth to.’
  • To acknowledge diversity and affirm each person’s self-worth

 

The Programme of Collective Worship in the school

 

 Collective Worship is organised in a variety of ways:

  • The Mass is at the centre of all liturgical worship at St. Mary Immaculate and is celebrated at school on a regular basis. The liturgical year identifies a feast day or Gospel theme for the Mass, prepared by the headteacher, and the visiting musician working with the children’s liturgical group.
  • Prayers are said in the classroom facing the crucifix
  • Pupil participation is most important: children contribute, organising their own collective worship in the classroom, appropriate to their age, once a half term
  • There are many opportunities for children to write and lead prayers in class and school assembly.
  • Hymns are an important part of the prayer life of the school, and the children have a large repertoire of religious songs that can be used within the classroom, assemblies or at Mass. A weekly hymn practice is timetabled for the whole school.  An external musician, a parishioner, leads the music, together with a group of children that organise hymns, prayers and preparation for Mass.  These children form the liturgical group.
  • We ensure that pupils are aware of the liturgical calendar and key events in the Church. The symbolism of colours is made clear from the reception class: purple for penance (Advent and Lent), green for ordinary times of the year and white, gold for important feasts.

 

The Weekly Routine of Assembly

  • Monday: whole school assembly is led by the headteacher and focuses on either the Gospel, Saints’ Feast days, world events, faith events or current issues, such as friendship groups.
  • Tuesday: Both Reception/KS1 and KS2 have two short separate weekly assemblies, once a week. Themes for assemblies can be taken from the relevant Sunday Gospel, applicable feast day or RE programme of study.
  • Thursday: Hymn practice with the support of a parish singer and pianist
  • The Friday assembly is a time to present gold award certificates and virtue awards acknowledging good behaviour for learning, acts of kindness and virtues witnessed by peers.
  • Each class also has a fifteen-minute assembly, once a week, a reflection organized by the class to teacher to encourage involvement in aspects of collective worship.
  • Two thirty minute acts of collective worship take place each term, specifically organized to create opportunities for pupils to take leadership roles in worship.

 

Resources

 Each class has its own prayer area and table displaying religious artefacts, books, children’s prayers, candles and a crucifix, etc.

 Class teachers use the diocesan collective worship planner to support children when leading acts of worship covering the themes: Gather, Listen, Respond and Go Forth.  The planner can be found in the appendix.