Stevenage: St Nicholas Church of England
Primary School and Nursery
Subject: Collective Worship
At St. Nicholas CofE School, the daily act of collective worship is viewed as an integral and important part of school life. Through this and in the general ethos of the school we seek to promote our mission statement.
‘Learning, Loving Living in God's Family’
It is a time where we come together to share our love of God and celebrate our achievements (and sometimes failures) together. The worship of the school is based on promoting the Christian values which permeate the ethos of the school. As such, the contributions of staff, pupils, church clergy and other visitors are valued highly.
Although difficult to define, we identify with a number of key values and follow them each month to understand more about them and deepen our knowledge. These values are embodied in the New Commandment that Jesus gave us: John 13:34-35
“….love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples”.
We also actively seek to encourage the attitudes of awe, wonder and reflection.
We blend Christian teaching and Values Education in order to create opportunities for children to develop physically, emotionally, personally, socially, mentally and intelligently so that their self-esteem and well-being is sound and supported by ever growing emotional intelligence; leading to an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as young citizens. The systematic introduction of a common values vocabulary allows children to access moral and ethical thought. (See Appendix 1 – Our Values)
We acknowledge the legal requirement stated in the 1988 Education Reform Act 6 (1) and 9 (3), which states the need for each child to attend a daily act of worship either as a whole school, class or group. Parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from the act of worship either partially or wholly. Any parents wishing to do so should contact the Head teacher. Teachers also have the right to withdraw from leading and taking part in worship.
We aim to provide a variety of worship experiences for the children. Our current schedule is as follows: Monday Whole School values worship led jointly by the Head teacher and year 6. Tuesday Understanding the Bible – led in the main by Father Chris Bunce but occasionally by other local clergy or senior leaders. We have two worships – one for EYFS/KS1 and the other for KS2. The themes are usually the same, but content is differentiated appropriately. Wednesday our music leader leads us in celebrating through music. Thursday celebration worship. Friday Most Fridays we have whole school worship led by a class who share their work with their families. When there is no class worship the children remain in class and use the values prompts to have a class intimate worship of reflection. In addition to this, visiting groups and individuals are welcomed into the school regularly to lead worship.
Collective worship is planned with the Church year in mind and linked wherever possible with local church events.
Sacred spaces – the school is currently developing a sensory area (2016-17 academic year) but children will often use spaces such as the woods or their outside gardens to have reflection time. The school has a Values Tree, in the entrance area of the school. Children are encouraged to write short prayers in their classes and place them in their prayer box or book in the class worship area. Sometimes these are related to the Value for the Month, on other occasions this could be a personal prayer.
Record Keeping, Evaluation and Monitoring:
A file is kept, recording details of each act of worship. Evaluations will also be recorded here. Training is encouraged and available for those who wish to lead acts of worship.
Visits and visitors:
As part of the curriculum, St Nicholas School ensures that appropriate visits are made available for the children in order for them to have first-hand experiences and gain a greater understanding of various places of worship. Visitors to the school are welcomed and enabled to share their experiences and knowledge – their role is to educate, not to evangelise. St Andrew and St Georges Church is our most valuable and frequently used resource, with the whole school attending and contributing towards annual Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Leavers’ Services.
Parents/Governors/Diocesan Liaison and Local Community Issues
Children may be withdrawn from R.E. lessons at the wish of their parents. The Headteacher will ensure that suitable provision is made for such pupils. We have two RE link governors. The R.E. coordinator and link governor liaise to discuss various aspects of R.E. and this ensures an effective line of communication between the coordinator and the governing body.
Equal Opportunities and special needs:
All pupils, regardless of academic ability, age, gender and ethnic origin will have access to a wide range of appropriate activities to support their understanding of R.E. At each Key Stage, the teacher will draw from other religions as appropriate to acknowledge and celebrate the religious beliefs of the children within the class.