CG4 POLICY ON "COLLECTIVE WORSHIP"
- The school is aware of the legal requirements under the Education Reform Act 1988, together with interpretation offered in DFES Circular 1/95 : "Collective Worship" must take place daily;
- We draw a distinction between forms of worship which acknowledge and endorse the existence of God(s) and those experiences which foster spiritual development in a non-affiliated way. By 'spiritual' we refer to reflection on, and growing awareness of, the deeper meanings of life, and of human values;
- DFES Circular 1/94 contains the current requirement for a daily act of collective worship, the majority of which should be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character that is "reflecting" the "broad traditions of Christian belief" without being denominationally biased (cf Education Reform Act 1988) and giving a pause for reflection, celebration, fostering community consciousness; responding sensitively to readings, performance, music etc, within an assembly or class grouping.
Acts of “collective worship” should be given opportunities for reflection and participating in a response, even if only silent thought and they should aim at affirming/celebrating important realities/values for children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. However, Headteachers must take into account the pupils' ages, aptitudes and family backgrounds;
- Our view is that a school (as opposed to individuals within it, when they are understood by children to be speaking as individuals) should do nothing to endorse or promote any particular religious viewpoint. Accordingly our Religious Education policy emphasises objectivity, stresses the need to teach a range of stances on religious matters, and warns teachers not to allow their inherent authority to cling to any disclosure of their own stances on religion. Therefore nothing can be said or done within curricular time which might lead children to assume that there is any institutional (as opposed to individual) endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint. The same principles apply to "collective worship": No institutional validation of any religious viewpoint; Total objectivity when addressing religion;
- The moral and social development of the children is of great concern to us, and the operation of our Behaviour and Personal and Social Education Policies, assume a priority in our curriculum. "Collective worship" should not be primarily concerned with moral and social issues, but with the spiritual aspects of personal development. When moral and social issues arise, we always offer pragmatic and humanistic reasons for upholding or condemning certain behaviours or attitudes, and although we may explain and express approval of moral principles derived from religions, such approval is not to be seen as compliance with religious precepts because of their inherent authority. Thus, religious precepts are not the mainspring of moral and social education in the school, but they are often consistent with our approach, contribute to discussion of everyday morality, and are always presented with respect.
Details of policy operation
Collective worship takes place during the three whole school assemblies and PSHE/RE afternoons. Further act of collective worship is conducted weekly at class level.
A comprehensive PSHE/RE/Collective Worship whole school programme is planned across School allowing for progression and assessment.
Parents are entitled to withdraw their children wholly or partly from collective worship. If any parent expresses this wish, detailed discussion between Head and parent would be desirable, in order to identify those learning situations from which the child should be withdrawn.
Teachers, including Headteachers, have a contractual duty to attend assembly but they have right to withdraw from collective worship and cannot be discriminated against for doing so.
The SACRE binder is available for support and advice.
A discussion piece based on our PSHE/RE/Collective Worship whole school programme and on showing tolerance, respect for the rights of others, democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, safeguarding children’s’ well-being and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, perhaps in 'circle-time' format followed by period of silence while people can think (or pray if they are ready, willing and able to do so privately) about what has been discussed and to allow children to 'reflect and respond'.
A visitor, object, piece of music, poem, story, or picture can be used to focus attention.
News, whether local or international, may be used as content.
The practice, before or during acts of “collective worship” of stilling and calming takes place, to contribute to the general development, reflection and contemplation of the children.
Policy reviewed 3 years
Review Date: Spring 2019