Why Collective Worship is ‘mostly largely’ Christian (and what the themes will be this term)

the 1944 Education Act, the 1988 Education Reform Act, and Circular 1/94 from the Department for Education all say so.

In combination, they say a great deal more. They say it should be daily. It should have children ‘take part’ (rather than merely passively attend). It should happen in all maintained schools (except Special Schools). It should usually be on the premises. It is for the Headteacher to decide the content and form, having consulted the Governors. Parents can opt out their children, but won’t get more teaching instead. Collective worship must note the Christian traditions of Great Britain and therefore be ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’.

Don’t you just love the vagueness of that phrase? Pick it apart and extract to the absurd (or ‘reductio ad absurdum’, as they say in Latin). You could assume it to say that at least 51% of 51% should be Christian, but let’s not be ridiculous about this.

As we return from the Easter break, the very next day after the Easter weekend, not having been in school for the two weeks before Easter, with our traditional Easter Egg diorama competition to come, I have planned to cover aspects, appropriately for age, of the Easter story in collective worship this week.

Except it is also the month of Ramadan leading to Eid. Eid ul Fitr is obviously a major festival for a significant number of our pupils and their families. In developing respect and understanding, it is clearly right that we include festivals from faiths other than Christianity in our collective worship plan.

To try to cover both might work on a comparative level for children of the right age, and given a long enough series of RE lessons. In one 15 minute ‘assembly’? I don’t think so.

So, I shall be getting the children to look at one aspect of the Easter story – hope; and how the empty tomb was actually a positive and not a loss.

Year 5 as a whole will be enjoying being engaged in a full day of Eid-related activities at the star of May. One of the year group’s teachers has worked with a group of parents to develop a plan and the set of activities, ensuring authenticity, depth and quality.

Two faiths will, therefore, be covered, but through different means.

Also this term:

  • May Day – workers’ rights
  • Being tested
  • Forgiveness – a new commandment
  • Thankfulness – for local heroes and for Her Majesty’s reign
  • Science week
  • Refugees – small park, Big Run
  • Parables of The Sower, and The Lost Coin
  • Sending out the 72 – spreading the word and calling on others

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