At Lady Elizabeth Hastings, collective worship as a quality activity that is important to the life of our school and to its religious character. It is one of the means whereby our Christian values and principles are reflected and affirmed, and God is the focus of worship. Lady Elizabeth Hastings School plays an important part of the work and mission of the parish and has close connections with the local parish and worshiping community, enjoying its support and encouragement. In the same way, our school contributes to the life of the local worshiping community. Worship is an area of our church school life which presents special opportunities to promote spiritual and religious development. It also has the potential to contribute to faith nurture, providing a means by which all pupils - both those of the faith and those from other backgrounds - may understand more about the Christian faith, while experiencing and learning about worship and what it means to those who take part.
In making our school worship meaningful we are sensitive to the fact that that our children come from a wide variety of backgrounds and our school community is a collection of people from different backgrounds. Whilst our school worship has a Christian context it is collective rather than corporate, as shared beliefs and values are not assumed. We use the term collective as it is important that we recognises that our children, families and staff will subscribe to a range of beliefs, and that there is a need for our school to provide opportunities for all to share in worship in a way which make sense to them and is appropriate to their stage of development.
In reality, we aim to develop a unique kind of experience, one which is analogous to faith group worship, but which still retains the openness and integrity of learning.
At Lady Elizabeth Hastings School, collective worship plays a central role in the life of our school, reflecting our Christian vision, values and ethos, through being:
- grounded in distinctively Christian teaching
- engaging, inspiring, inclusive and accessible
- clearly visible in key school documents and on the school website
- well organised, resourced, planned and delivered
- effectively monitored and evaluated as part of the school’s cycle of review.
In summary, within our daily act of collective worship, we aim to provide opportunities for children to:
- have regular opportunities to worship God;
- celebrate all that is good and beautiful and express thankfulness for the joy of being alive;
- share what is meaningful and significant to them, including the darker side of life;
- have experiences that are relevant to their age, aptitude and family background;
- be able to silently reflect and explore their inner space;
- illustrate forms of worship that others have found helpful in their spiritual development, e.g. silent contemplation, dance, singing;
- express themselves in a variety of ways, e.g. art, drama, music, story and experience these at their own level rather than teachers imposing their own interpretations;
- work and learn in an environment that is conducive to worship, which is professionally coordinated and properly resourced;
- be invited, never coerced, remembering that children will be at different stages of spiritual development and that they should feel able to respond and participate at their own level.
Each half term, a group of children are appointed to be Collective Worship Leaders. They play a very important role in school, developing skills in planning and leading Collective Worship whilst at the same time developing their own personal spirituality. Throughout their final year at our school, our Y6 children, as Collective Worship Leaders:-
- create a sacred space for worship each day and articulate why this is important in a Church of England school
- plan and lead an act of worship for the whole school which includes the four elements of Welcome, Learning, Reflecting, Responding
- evaluate an act of worship led by others and record their thoughts and ideas in our Collective Worship Evaluation Diary
- find passages from a Bible that are being used as the root of our worship
- add to and update each classroom’s prayer or reflection station on a half termly basis
- talk about why Christians believe that each one of us is made in the image of God
- talk about a time of prayer or reflection that has had special significance for them
- describe why they find a particular Bible story thought provoking
- give examples of how our school’s Christian Values are rooted in Bible stories
- say which of our school’s Christian Values has been the most challenging for them to live out in their own life and give reasons.
(As we are not currently worshiping together in the school hall, the collective worship team has not been used since March 2020. We hope to re-instate it as soon as it is safe to worship together.)