As a church school we believe passionately that our inclusive and inspiring Collective Worship has a unique role to play in the life of our school. It provides the opportunity for us come together as a community, whether that be as a class, year group, or whole school in order to reflect upon the teachings and traditions of Christianity and our place in the wider world. Furthermore, Collective Worship provides the heartbeat of our school as it allows everyone a chance to reflect on the Biblical roots and distinctively Christian nature of our school’s vision and values.
Collective Worship at Seaton St Paul’s, provides pupils the opportunity:
- to explore our school’s distinctively Christian vision and values and consider the moral, spiritual, social and personal consequences of these for themselves
- to appreciate the relevance of faith for themselves through encountering the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in a way that enhances their lives
- to appreciate the relevance of faith for themselves through encountering Christian faith and practice in a way that enhances their lives
- to develop their own understanding of spiritual and moral issues and to explore their own beliefs and spirituality
- to reflect on the teachings and traditions of the Christian faith through prayer, reading and reflecting on the Bible, liturgy, silence, story and experience of the musical and other imaginative riches of Christianity
- to be inspired by the example of others – both within and beyond our school – and reflect on the example that they as individuals can set for others in their daily living
- for all pupils and staff to develop their skills in planning, leading and evaluating the impact of school worship with the support and shared engagement of the local church community.
With these aims in mind our Collective Worship is fundamentally:
- Inclusive - Our worship is inclusive and accessible to all and does not assume the faith position of those within our school, but shows an awareness that we all have our own worldviews which require nurture and development. We seek to provide the opportunity for children to explore and question the meaning of our school values, stories, traditions and their own beliefs through a variety of creative means and to the extent of their own personal and spiritual development. Our times together are framed by language, images and music which models the diversity of the wider world and Christian faith.
- Invitational - Our worship is consistently invitational and demonstrates an openness which allows all children freely engaging meaningfully in our times together. There is no compulsion for children to confess to any particular faith position, but instead we approach worship with the metaphor of ‘warm fires and open doors’ in mind. This metaphor highlights that our worship does not seek to present a lukewarm encounter with the Christian faith, teachings and its traditions. Instead, as the metaphor suggests, our worship provides an authentic and warm experience of the Christian faith, teachings and traditions to which all are welcome to experience as they feel comfortable. The prayers, liturgy and music used therefore, are carefully considered so as to be sure that children can engage with them in their own way. As such, children are invited to pray only if they feel comfortable doing so.
- Inspiring - Our collective worship plays an essential role in helping us to fulfil our school vision by allowing children to reflect on the example of others – both within and beyond our school. As such, collective worship offers an opportunity for our pupils’ views of themselves, others and the world to be transformed as they are motivated by the seeing the diversity of human experience and the Christian faith. With this in mind, our collective worship is planned so as to inspire the children to think deeply about their own faith, worldview, beliefs, spirituality and philosophical convictions in order that they might become courageous advocates of themselves and causes in the wider world.
Our Christian Values
Together, with our children, staff and Governors, we have identified the Christian values of Respect, Truthfulness, Perseverance, Thankfulness, Friendship and Compassion as those of which impact the lives of everyone associated with our school. These values are embodied in the New Commandment that Jesus gave us:
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [John 10:10-11]
We also actively seek to encourage the attitudes of awe, wonder and reflection.
The Planning and Delivery of Collective Worship
Collective Worship is given a special period in the school day; a time when various groups within the school can meet together for prayer and reflection. Each half term our whole school focusses Collective Worship on one of our Christian values. Each week within that half term, we explore different aspects of that value and what it means for our relationship with God and our spiritual development.
Collective Worship at Seaton St Paul’s C of E Junior School occurs on a daily basis and involves a variety of activities including:
- One head teacher/Clergy led worship per week
- Two class Collective Worships per week
- One hymn practise (Worship Through Music) based upon Christian hymns, per week
- One celebration assembly, which recognises the implementation of our Christian values throughout the school week.
At Seaton St Paul’s C of E Junior School, we value our children’s ideas, thoughts and opinions relating to how they wish to worship. We believe that children should be given the opportunity to lead worship in a variety of environments. Children engage in and lead two periods of Collective Worship in their classrooms per week. Specialised resources have been designed to enable children throughout the school to plan and deliver Collective Worship successfully, with every child in the class playing an active role. Bible stories are also read and reflected upon in collective worship, with each year group reading and reflecting on a range of stories at different levels. One aspect of community worship, ‘School Sunday’, provides each year group with the opportunity to lead worship at our local church, St Paul’s. This act of worship provides children with the opportunity to plan and share their learning, thoughts and reflections with local parishioners.