Collective Worship Policy
Christ is the centre of our school community,
Where we live, love and learn together.
AIM & PURPOSE OF COLLECTIVE WORSHIP
At Our Lady of Lourdes School, Jesus Christ remains central to every aspect of school life. We aim to be a living, loving and sacramental community which is in inspired by the life of Christ and the teachings of the Church, rooted in Gospel values. We hope that from the minute you enter our school you clearly see and feel that we are a Catholic community.
Acts of worship may take place at any time during the day. It may take the form of a single act of worship with the whole school community or separate acts of worship in school/class groups. In our school there is no confusion between Collective Worship and Assemblies. When we gather for Collective Worship we focus on the Word of God, we use symbol and ritual and we are open to God’s presence among us. Collective Worship is not designated curriculum time under regulations and will not be subsumed under any part of the curriculum including RE.
Collective Worship in our school is an integral part of our ethos, aims and relationships, as Christian values permeate all aspects of school life and all relationships. It is a way of deepening our relationship with God together and individually. Through the many forms this worship takes we grow in spiritual, moral and liturgical understanding. We allow ourselves to grow in understanding of our living faith tradition and then develop a sense of wonder and inspiration in the person of Christ. It is through Collective Worship that we share each other’s faith experiences and learn the skills of prayer and reflection. This is a very important aspect of life at Our Lady of Lourdes.
We aim to:
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP IN OUR SCHOOL
The Liturgy Coordinator works closely with the RE Coordinator to ensure a cohesive response to the development of child and staff spirituality.
Collective worship takes place in school daily, staff and pupils are encouraged to pray with thoughtfulness and with respect through a variety of prayer experiences - whole school Masses and liturgies, assemblies and prayer services together with formal classroom and individual reflective prayer. This worship will follow the liturgical year and include appropriate feast days, it will also encompass Gospel Virtues, British values, world events and worlds faiths to enable pupils to appreciate their place in society and respect those around them. Nursery experiences classroom prayer and assemblies and when ready whole School Mass.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP PREPARATION
When, where, who, what? What resources will I need? Create focus. Send invitations.
How will we begin / enter – to music? Create an atmosphere of prayer. Use a ‘gathering chant’, come in procession.
Reading from scriptures. Pause at times for quiet contemplation. Dramatise the readings / Use power point?
What do participants do? Quiet reflection, formal / informal prayer / respond to bidding prayers. Place stone at foot of cross etc.
What will I do to help those present take the message away with them – prayer card, picture, common prayer, action etc.
Each half term, the children develop their understanding of two new virtues (as established in this form by the Jesuits) and strive to apply these to their everyday lives. The virtues are displayed in all classes and pictorial/symbolic images are on display in Year 1 – 6 to support pupil understanding of the complex language.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR
We ensure that pupils are aware of the Liturgical Calendar and key events in the Church. The symbolism of colours is made clear from the earliest days in our school: purple for penance (seen during advent and Lent), red for Holy Spirit and martyrdom (seen at Pentecost), white, gold for important feasts, green for the ordinary times of the year, blue is associated with Mary.
Some months of the year have special foci. October is the month of the Rosary, November is the month when the Holy Souls (the deceased) are prayed for, May is the month when Mary is especially remembered and June is the month of the Sacred Heart when we remember especially the great love Jesus has for us.
PUPIL & STAFF EVALUATION OF COLLECTIVE WORSHIP
Before each act of Collective Worship we should be considering:
As we gather we will consider
As we listen we will consider
As we respond we will
As we go forth we will consider
After each act of Collective Worship we should be considering:
The whole school celebrates Mass together with our parents and parish community on a fortnightly basis. Children play an active part in each Mass, through reading praying, singing, playing musical instruments, altar serving and taking part in entrance and offertory processions. Each class takes it in turn to lead and prepare the celebration based on the liturgical year, focusing on solemnities, feast days and memorials of saints important to the children.
Pupils and their families are also invited to participate in Sacramental Masses at the parish 11am Sunday Mass which supports their journey of faith as members of our wider Church Community.
There are two weekly whole-school assemblies led by different members of staff, the first of which focuses upon the liturgical year with the relevant liturgy of the word which is supported by the help our pupil Chaplaincy Team. The second ‘Celebration’ assembly celebrates the achievements and success of our children’s God-given talents and is supported by the help of our Prefect team. Class assemblies are also used as a way of reflecting on important Church and RE curriculum themes. Each class will lead a liturgical assembly once a year to which parents will be invited.
FORMAL AND TRADITIONAL PRAYER
Children are encouraged to develop their individual prayer life through daily participation in our formal prayers such as our school prayer, morning prayer, grace before and after meals and evening prayer. It is important that we enable pupils to participate in community of the Church through learning our traditional Church prayers. Formal prayers, appropriate to the age and maturity of the year group are taught through the RE Strategy, each class teacher a copy of the prayers that their class are expected to learn in each year.
The school provides the children with a leaflet called the ‘Wednesday Word’ which they take home to share with their family. Before this is taken home the children listen to the Gospel from the coming Sunday within class and become familiar with the meaning as well as reflecting upon the Wednesday ‘word’ for the week. The children are then to use the chosen word throughout their everyday life.
Each half term pupils participate in class meditation led by the class teacher. At appropriate level each class experiences prayerful reflections, including silent contemplation, to develop their own spirituality and private prayer. Pupils are encouraged to share their own thoughts and prayers through open prayer.
Each half term pupils have the opportunity to share prayer time with their prayer partner using our Prayer Buddy system – these sessions have a central theme such as the Rosary for the pupils to think about and reflect on. Our two sacramental classes are paired together to help support and share their experience of sacramental preparation, year five and two and four and one are also paired.
PRAYER THROUGH THE RE CURRICULUM
Pupils also experience worship through their RE curriculum. Each RE Unit concludes with a focus Prayer Service that reflects on the unit that has been covered and using a variety of prayer styles. Pupils also learn about prayer and worship as a discreet topic within the RE strategy as well as using prayer as way of developing their about their faith. Focus Prayers are displayed in classrooms. Pupils have regular opportunities to take part in Rosary, Exposition & Benediction and make a special point of saying the Angelus at 12.00pm.
The children participate in weekly hymn practices, where they learn Mass responses and sing both traditional and modern hymns. Music is central part of worship in our school and hymns are used in all areas of worship from supporting themes within Masses and assemblies to providing atmosphere through chants and reflective music in meditation. The children enjoy singing a number of them sing in the school choir, which has a very important part to play in Mass and liturgical celebrations.
Each class has a focus Prayer Bag created by the school. These are taken home and shared so that through examination of text, artefact and prayer the family unit has the opportunity to pray together on a theme familiar to the child. The bags appropriate scripture passages, formal school prayer, traditional Church but also introduce families to class saints and inspirational figures within the Church past and present. This can also help support the faith and sacramental development of our pupils.
PRAYER ROOM/ PRAYER FOCUS AREAS
As well as having our parish Church next door which pupils use for prayer and worship on a regular basis we have dedicated prayer areas throughout the school. Each classroom has a prayer focus area help pupils in their prayer life and is used in acts of class worship. It has reminders of liturgical themes and colours as well as class saints and inspiration figures, it also contains traditional payers and RE curriculum foci.
There is also a prayer area next to the school Hall for pupils to use outside of curriculum time. These areas give children the opportunity to spend time in private prayer, they also contain intentions/prayer box so that family situations, illness, thanksgiving and individual concerns can be expressed and supported.
The Chaplaincy Team is designed to give the children more ownership and understanding of this central aspect of their faith. Our group of pupil volunteers work with the staff to prepare for, plan and celebrate school liturgies.
They lead Morning Prayer in each class once a week and take responsibility for the distributions and present the Wednesday Word to each class. They monitor prayer tables in classrooms and the prayer areas around school. They also help oversee the class prayer bags which go home with each child for one week each year.
The Chaplaincy team work on a regular basis with other local Catholic primary schools through Bishop Challoner Catholic College, they represent the school at local and diocesan events and share ideas and experiences with one another.
As part of our evaluation of Catholic Life staff have devised a Vocational Life overview which gives pupils opportunities to develop an understanding of vocation as part of their wider faith development. This is used to add depth to our RE teaching and inspire our worship. Each class has a saint as well as inspirational figures both living and dead which can be used as a focus for our prayer and spiritual development.
RETREATS AND VISITS
We have regular support in school from One Life Music (Dan Callow) who engages in central Sacramental or liturgical ideas and allows the children to reflect and respond through music and prayer. Each year we have whole school retreat but also our Sacramental year groups experience class retreat as part of their journey of faith.
Pupils also have the opportunity to visit places of religious and spiritual significance such as St. Chad’s Cathedral and Harvington Hall, these visits help pupils understand their faith history experience how others worship.
STAFF & PUPIL PILGRIMAGE
While we do not have to travel to be near God, however at Our Lady of Lourdes School we believe that Pilgrimage is an integral part of the spiritual journey for every Catholic since God makes himself known in different ways in different places. Giving our pupils and staff the opportunity to have quiet reflection in these sacred sites is part of our commitment to quality spiritual development.
Every two years we offer our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils an opportunity to go on Pilgrimage to Lourdes for a week. On the years when pupils do not make their Pilgrimage we offer staff and members of the Governing Body the opportunity to do so (during one of the assigned INSET Days as well as staff’s own time). Staff Pilgrimage is fully funded by the staff who attend the Pilgrimage and no public money is used to facilitate the experience.
It is vital that staff and Governors who lead the Catholic Life in school have opportunities to experience the transformational aspects that Pilgrimage can bring. On the years when staff do not do a Pilgrimage in another country they will use one of the INSET days for Spiritual reflection in a UK based retreat.
As part of the Church community the school has strong links with the parish. Pupils and staff join the parish for regular Masses as well as parish celebrations. Pupils are encouraged to become in parish life through activities like Children’s Liturgy led by some of our parents to participating in the choir Altar serving. Pupils also take part in the parish sacramental preparation.
LINKS WITH PARENTS
Liturgies and celebrations and events related to the Catholic Life of our school are shared in school newsletters and on twitter and are published on the school website. Parents and families are regularly invited to join the school community in Masses class lead assemblies, Inspire Workshops and fundraising activities.
Parents of children in Sacramental year groups are also invited to Sacramental Meetings and Commitment Masses as part of the Sacramental Preparation Programme. Parents and families also support the school in being able to offer an extensive range of educational visits to various places of worship.
Children in each class also have the opportunity to take home a Prayer Bag, promoting opportunities for children and their families to talk and pray together.
Parents and catechists are involved in preparing the children in Year 3 for the sacrament of Reconciliation and their First Holy Communion. There are three meetings throughout the year and these are followed by Masses, specifically for these children and they participate fully.
In preparation for Confirmation, parents and sponsors are actively involved. There is a series of meetings and liturgies which the children attend. There is also an inscription Mass which involves the children, parents, sponsors, teachers and the parish, where the children commit themselves to the process of making their Confirmation, in due course.
The school supports this sacramental preparation through retreats and visits and pupils share their experiences with the school community through prayer and assemblies.
Collective worship enables each child to participate and respond to liturgy and worship in an appropriate way to their age and maturity but also using a formal and reflective prayer in a variety to suit the needs of our children and allow them to worship in ways in which they feel comfortable. Collective worship is accessible to all children in our school.
The fair and equal treatment of all individuals irrelevant of race, creed, disability or gender, are integral to the Gospels’ Revelations and the Church’s message and is central to our school mission statement. All children are given equal access to the Religious Education curriculum, promoting their understanding to their full potential.
A variety of prayer and worship activities are used to try to meet all children’s different needs e.g. whole School, whole class, group, pair and individual prayer, also different styles of prayer from formal liturgies to private reflective prayer.
RE together with Collective worship is always a key part of the School Development Plan, and is reported upon termly as part of the Head Teacher’s Report to Governors. Governors are also invited to join with other members of the whole school community in the celebration of Mass and attend INSET Days relating to the Catholic Life of the School.
MONITORING AND REVIEW OF THIS POLICY
The Liturgy Coordinator will monitor the implementation of the policy. All staff will be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of this policy in helping to improve standards of collective worship within the school. This evaluation will inform the process for reviewing this policy. Pupils will be involved in reviewing and evaluating liturgy in school with the Coordinator and this will feed into any developments as we move forward.