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St thomas more r. C primary school collective worship policy

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Policy for Collective Worship

Mission Statement
‘Live as God calls you’

The mission of St. Thomas More RC Primary School is to develop each member of the St. Thomas More Community to reach their full potential as we follow in the footsteps of Christ and aim to live out the Christian values portrayed in the gospels.

We believe that just as Christ led by example, so we are called to do the same. As one family, united as children of God we have a responsibility to actively encourage and live out the gospel values of Love, Peace, Justice, Honesty and Forgiveness within our community.
We value our children as individuals, with their own unique gifts, skills and needs and we recognise the role we have to play in developing them so they are able to achieve their full potential and make a positive contribution to society. We also recognise we cannot do this alone, and as a child’s first teachers, parents have a critical role to play and we need to work in partnership with them, if we are to fulfil our mission.
We aim to:
Provide a safe, secure, loving and supportive environment where all individuals are valued and cared for, and have an important role to play in making our school the very best it can be.
Enrich and develop the children’s understanding of the Catholic faith so they are able to live it.
Provide an environment that fosters close partnership with parents/guardians, the parish and wider community.
Meet the spiritual, physical, social, moral, cultural and academic needs of all pupils to enable them to fulfil their potential.
Lead by example as St. Thomas More did, and develop respect, kindness, tolerance, responsibility and care for others and ourselves.
Provide a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of every child so they develop the skills to become independent lifelong learners.
Provide a curriculum that encompasses the distinctive nature of Catholic Education and meeting National Curriculum requirements.
Ensure all involved within the life of our school share and understand our mission statement so that it can be promoted and lived out daily.

Mission Statement

Written by the children of St Thomas More Primary School

Success is the aim of our school. Working

Together as a community of learners to be the best we can.
Teaching each other, as disciples, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Helping each other to create a better world and make a positive difference.

One family, united as children of God – working together.

May we follow the Golden Rules and make the right choices in order to provide

A safe, secure, loving and supportive environment, where all individuals are valued and have a

Special role to play.
May we lead by example, as St Thomas More,

Our Patron Saint did,

Recognising & living the gospel values of Love, Peace, Justice, Honesty & Forgiveness in order to

Ensure our Mission Statement is lived out daily.

The Nature of Collective Worship
We believe that Christian worship in a Catholic school names and celebrates God’s presence in our lives. It is concerned with giving glory, honour, praise and thanks to God. It is our loving response, in word and action, to God’s invitation to enter into relationship, made possible through the work of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

The Place of Collective Worship in the Life of our School
Worship in this school is more than just a legal requirement. It is an integral part of school life and central to the Catholic tradition.
Collective worship takes into account the religious and educational needs of all who share in it:

  • Those who form part of the worshipping community in church;

  • Those for whom school may be their first and only experience of church;

  • Those from other Christian traditions – or none;

  • Those from other faith backgrounds.

It will be an educational activity or experience to which all can contribute and from which all can gain.

The Aims of Collective Worship
We believe that Collective Worship in our school aims to provide opportunity for all pupils and staff:

  • To contemplate something of the mystery of God

  • To reflect on spiritual and moral issues

  • To explore their own beliefs

  • To respond to and celebrate life

  • To experience a sense of belonging and develop community spirit

  • To develop a common ethos and shared values

  • To enrich religious experience

  • To grow in liturgical understanding and development

  • To reinforce prayers which are part of the Catholic tradition

  • To reinforce positive attitudes

  • To participate fully

  • To take time out ‘to wonder at’, ‘to come to terms with’ and ‘to give worth to.’


All Acts of Worship in this school will:

  • Give glory and honour to God;

  • Be a quality activity, fundamental to the life of the school and its Catholic character;

  • Develop in pupils skills that enable them to prepare, organise and lead worship rather than always participating or contributing in a token way;

  • Give pupils positive liturgical experiences, appropriate to their age, aptitude and family backgrounds in order to prepare them for the liturgical life of the Church.1 In order to do this, celebrations will:

  • be kept small wherever possible or appropriate to help to personalise the experience;

  • be short and appropriately paced ( children’s attention span lasts in any one activity for an average of one minute per year of life i.e., 5-6 mins. For Key Stage 1 and 7-10 mins. For Key Stage 2 );

  • be simple, including a range of experiences offered in a variety of groupings and in a variety of settings.

Collective worship in our school will be:

  • properly planned

  • adequately resourced

  • recorded

  • monitored

  • evaluated






Pupil Groupings





Sunday’s Gospel

Whole school




Up to class teacher

Sunday’s Gospel





Up to class teacher

Weekly theme






Hymn Practice/ Key stage assembly







Celebration assembly

Whole school


God’s Story books in classrooms and images on the network.

Children’s Liturgy book in Head Teacher’s office.

Range of music in the hall.

Books in the resource room and library.

Voluntary Worship and Retreats
October – The Rosary at lunchtimes

July – Retreat to Osmotherly for Y6

Eucharistic celebrations in school will highlight a special occasion and will normally be celebrated with children whose faith development has reached an appropriate stage. The same general principles will apply to planning a Eucharistic celebration as other acts of school worship, therefore opportunities for children to participate will be maximised. When preparing these celebrations reference will be made to the ‘Directory for Masses with Children’ as a basis for our practice.

We believe that children are best introduced to prayer, the sacraments and particularly the Eucharist in a step by step approach.

The Co-ordinator for Collective Worship
Mr. P. Doyle is the co-ordinator for Collective Worship and will monitor Collective Worship and the Liturgical life of the school.

Policy Monitoring and Review
This policy is monitored by the Collective Worship Co-ordinator and is evaluated and reviewed by the whole school staff and governors every two years. The Foundation Governors in particular will play a most important role.
Review: January 2013

Next Review: January 2014

Appendix 1
The Role of the Co-ordinator for Collective Worship

  • Formulating a written policy for Collective Worship

  • Ensuring that there is a development plan for Collective Worship which may at times form part of the school development plan

  • Ensuring that Collective Worship is appropriate to the age, aptitudes and family backgrounds of pupils

  • Ensuring that Collective Worship takes account of the religious and educational needs of all who share in it and is rooted in the principles of the ‘Directory for Masses with Children’

  • Organising themes for Worship

  • Assisting the governors and headteacher to carry out their legal responsibilities with regard to Collective Worship

Planning, recording, monitoring and evaluating

  • Maintaining and developing effective procedures and documentation

  • Observing, on occasions, an Act of Collective Worship

  • Informing the headteacher of standards and developments in Collective Worship


  • Communicating to members of the school community the significance and content of Acts of Collective Worship

  • Reporting to and consulting with the governors and headteacher regarding matters of concern and development

  • Acting as consultant to colleagues

  • Encouraging positive attitudes towards Collective Worship

  • Informing newly appointed colleagues of school policy regarding Collective Worship

  • Communicating with parents, governors and the parish community

  • Liaison with the school chaplain

  • Liaison with the Diocesan RE Centre

Professional development / Ongoing formation

  • Leading and organising inservice training and ongoing formation for Collective Worship

  • Attending appropriate in-service courses and reporting back

  • Keeping up to date by personal reading


  • Evaluating existing resources

  • Developing the resources available for Collective Worship including visual aids, artefacts, drapes, music, visitors, leaders, new and relevant books, posters etc.

  • Budgeting efficiently

[Consideration should be given to the establishment of a planning group, which might include, the co-ordinator, the headteacher, deputy, staff, pupils, governors and school chaplain. It would be part of the role of the co-ordinator to lead this group.]

Appendix 2

Legal Requirements
We acknowledge the legal requirement that there must be a daily act of worship for all pupils. (This can take place at any time during the school day and can be either a single act of worship for all pupils, or separate acts of worship in school groups.) We understand that simply holding an assembly that includes a prayer, said either by the teacher or everyone present, does not fulfil this requirement. We also acknowledge that collective worship and assembly are distinct activities. They may sometimes form part of the same gathering, but the difference between the two will always be made clear.
The act of worship is not designated curriculum time under regulations and will not be subsumed under any part of the curriculum, including religious education.

As a rule, acts of worship will take place on the school premises. However, the governing body has the discretion to allow acts of worship to be held elsewhere e.g. church, “on a special occasion”.

In this school, as with any Voluntary Aided School, responsibility for arranging Collective Worship rests with the Governing Body after consultation with the headteacher.
Parents have a right to withdraw their child from Collective Worship. However, given the importance of Collective Worship in a Catholic school, parents and prospective parents will be made aware of the fact that it can never be confined to ‘timetabled slots’ but may take place in a variety of contexts other that those which are specifically structured.

Appendix 3

Resources for Collective Worship in Catholic Primary Schools


A First Look- Prayer. Lois Rock. Lion Hudson Plc (1997) ISBN: 0745937519
And the Children Pray: Janaan Manternach. Ave Maria Press (1989) ISBN: 0877934126
Assemblies for liturgical seasons & school occasions, Volume One : Jude Groden and Christ O’Donnell :McCrimmon :0-85597-615-2
Celebrating the Mass. Bishop’s Conference. Catholic Truth Society (2005) ISBN: 1860822908
Children’s Daily Prayer:: Elizabeth McMahon Jeep : Liturgy Training Publications : 1-57854-375-1 ( Published annually for the beginning of the academic year).

Classroom Prayer Services for the Days of Advent and Lent : Gwen Costello :Twenty-third Publications : 0-89622-737-5
Don’t just do something - Sit there (Developing children’s spiritual awareness) : Mary K. Stone. An RE-ME Enquiry Service Publication : ISBN 1-897-805-01-2
Enjoying the Mass. Joan Brown. Kevin Mayhew Ltd (2002) ISBN: 1840039736
Fifty Masses with Children : Francesca Kelly : Columba Press : 1-85607-043-3
Guided Meditations for Children 1,2 and 3 – How to teach Children to Pray using Scripture: Jane Reehorst, B.V.M.
In Joyful Hope – Advent Prayer and Worship in the Catholic Primary School : Carmel Hanley fcj and Rita Tunstall : available from Sr Carmel FCJ, 214 Barton Road, Stretford M32 8DP
Looking Beyond: Jill Giles. Kevin Mayhew Ltd (2002) ISBN 1840039841
Masses with Young People. Sr Jude Groden and Father Christopher O’Donnell. McCrimmon Publishing Co Ltd (2006) ISBN 0855976802
Multi- Sensory Prayer. Sue Wallace. Scripture Union Publishing (2000) ISBN: 1859994652
New Ideas for Creative Prayer. Judith Merrell. Scripture Union Publishing (2002) ISBN 1859995896
Our Poems and no messin’. Margaret Cooling. Scripture Union Publishing (2002) ISBN: 1859995896
Poems and Prayers for a Better World : compiled by Su Box and Felicity Henderson : Lion : 0-7459-3886-8
Prayer of a Fragile World. Carol Watson. Lion Hudson Plc (1997) IBSN: 0745937055
Praying with Children – Some ways and means: Jenny Pate : McCrimmons : 0-85597-546-6
Seasons of Celebrations – Prayers, Plays and Projects for the Church Year : Patricia Mathson : Ave Maria Press :0-87793-566-1
Spirit of the Season: a free to use/copy classroom resource : at
Spiritual Garments. Julie McCann. Decani Books (2006) ISBN: 1900314177
The Lord Be With You – Introducing the Mass to Children: Jenny Pate : McCrimmons : 0-85597-579-2

Volume Two – Assemblies for Feasts, Mary and the Saints: 0-85597617-9
The Welcome Table – Planning Masses with Children ( Contains the complete text of the Church’s Directory for Masses with Children) : Elizabeth McMahon Jeep : Archdiocese of Chicago. Liturgy Training Publications : 0-930467-38-8
Ways to Pray with Children (Prayers, Services and Activities): Barbara Ann Bretherton. Twenty-Third Publications : 0-89622-670-0
Welcome: Celebrations for young children for the Church’s year: Jenny Pate. McCrimmons: 085597642-X
Whispering in God’s Ear. Alan Macdonald. Lion Hudson Plc (2004) ISBN: 0745936725
You’re Special. Julia Giles. Kevin Mayhew Ltd (2002) ISBN: 1840039841

Prayer and Worship Resources

Prayer Themes & Guided Meditations B.A. Bretherton

With the Word of God J. Groden & C. O’Donnell
Directory on Children’s Masses Congregation for Divine Worship
Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children “
Marking the Liturgical Year Diocese of Portsmouth
With Hearts and Minds Bishops’ Conference

Musical Resources

Agape: Marty Haugen
Alive-O: Veritas
All Are Welcome: Marty Haugen
A Year of Celebration – Songs for Children : McCrimmon

0-855975-44-X Melody/Guitar Edition

0-85597-552-0 Congregational copy

Revised edition contains an index cross-referring to the ‘Here I Am’ programme.
Calling the Children : Chris Walker : OCP Publications

Includes a set of Eucharistic Acclamations.

Celtic Mystic Moods: Seamus Byrne
Children at Heart : Paul Inwood : OCP Publications : 0-915531-895

Includes Acclamations for the Word, Dismissal Chants for Children’s’ Liturgy of the Word, several Eucharistic Prayer settings and a bereavement song for children. The cassette and CD also include all the music without voices which can be used for accompaniment purposes while learning the music.

Christ Be Our Light: Bernadette Farrell
Classic FM: Various Artists
Come All You People - 40 shorter songs for worship : John L. Bell : Wild Goose Resource Group
Dreamcatcher: Secret Garden
Fire of Love: Margaret Rizza
Fountain of Life: Margaret Rizza
God Beyond All Names: Bernadette Farrell
How Can I Keep From Singing 1 & 2: CJM Music
Jubilate: Taize
Kidscource : Kevin Mayhew, (K) : 1-84003-310-X
Light The Fire: Liam Lawton
Quiet Time: Frank Leto
Rejoice and Sing: CJM Music
Rejoice One and Rejoice Two – Songs for Celebration : Collins : 0-00-711776-0 (One)

0-00-711777-9 (Two)

CD‘s to accompany ‘Here I Am’.
Restless Is The Heart: Bernadette Farrell
Resurrexit: Taize
Sacred Story: Liam Lawton
Share the Light : Bernadette Farrell : OCP Publications

Songbook, ref. 111549TC

Cassette, ref. 111550TC

CD set, ref. 111551TC

The CD includes videos of some of the songs using American and British Sign Language, playable on a computer.
Shepherd Moons: Enya
Someone’s Singing Lord : A&C Black (SSL) : 0-7136-1730-6
Songs for Everyday Assembly : Out of the Ark Music : 0-951911-61-9
Songs of Sanctuary: Adiemus
The Celts: Enya
The Complete Come and Praise : BBC, (CCP) : 0-563-34580-2
The Healer: Seamus Byrne
There is One Among Us –more shorter songs for worship : John L. Bell : Wild Goose Resource Group
Walking By Faith: David Haas & Robert W. Piercy
Watch & Pray: Taize
With You Always: Taize

1 Directory for Masses with Children, paragraph 9.

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