Collective worship at St Thomas Cantilupe
|What does worship look like at St Thomas?|
Worship has been reimagined in recent years due to COVID and the team rethinking what the purpose behind worship is for us as a school, what our children need from it and will do as a result of it. Working with the Diocese and our local clergy has led to online worship and new thinking.
The headteacher or deputy head teacher lead whole school worship once a week basing the sessions on a different value each half term from ‘Roots and Fruits.’ Once a week a member of our local clergy leads worship, linking into the value and basing their session on Jesus’ life. In addition, there is both a ‘Sing and Praise’ worship and a ‘Courageous Advocacy’ worship (based on our value) before the week ends with Celebration.
Our planning puts our vision and core values of love, unity and perseverance at the forefront. Children lead worship, welcoming one another at the door, signing our welcome and sharing a welcome in one of the many languages spoken at St Thomas. Worship follows a simple format where children are included, have time to learn, reflect and then use what they have learnt in everyday life. Our worship leaders also evaluate worship and give feedback so that we can make sure that it makes a difference.
|How do you make sure that everyone is included?|
We celebrate what makes us different and what we share. We offer children the opportunity to join in with the peace and prayer at the end of worship. We encourage children to share their experiences of prayer, including time and space for children of all faiths to pray.
Our ethos is demonstrated in our school family and the ‘feel’ that is exists within our school. This warmth shines out. Worship leaders are a diverse group who have been chosen to represent their peers and do so with pride and confidence.
|How do you develop opportunities for prayer?|
We are fortunate to be able to conduct prayer in our beautiful school hall and in our spacious grounds. Both are places of togetherness and both have a sense of awe. We have also developed spaces, places and times for prayer both inside and outside.
Class prayer books give opportunities for children to share their own prayers alongside a whole class prayer box in the hall.
As a result of the organisation of our curriculum we encourage children to ask big questions, including through ‘Understanding Christianity’ and the ‘Big Story’ where children develop an understanding of the Trinity. Prayer gives children the time to ask questions, to seek guidance and to give thanks. It also gives children the time to just be.