Our Christian collective worship enables pupils and adults to flourish spiritually
Collective worship involves all members of our school sharing time together in quiet moments of reflection to celebrate life and to show reverence to God. We welcome one another through sign language and a language spoken by one of our children. We light a candle and welcome those present, reminding them that we light each candle to represent our values of unity, perseverance and love.
Every day, we schedule quiet moments for prayer; we have a special school prayer, as well as prayers for lunchtime and home time. We have daily assemblies led by teachers, children and special visitors; the leaders will invite everyone to join them in quiet moments of reflection too. We sing hymns and reflect on our lives, to show our thankfulness towards God.
Through 'Choir church' children at our school have had opportunities to lead worship in Holy Trinity Church, both for Evensong and for Eucharist. Children also lead our services at important points in the Christian calendar.
Children at our school dramatised the story of St Thomas Cantilupe, for the 700th anniversary of our saint, in Hereford Cathedral. Children have also taken leading roles in the Cathedral Nativity service.
Our choir, led by Mr David Evans, plays an important role in leading worship for us in school as well as for services with others, such as the DHMAT Advent Service. The choir spend time rehearsing and sharing the joy of singing with one another.
Our KS2 children led the Easter service at St Peters, below. Children from Y3 and Y4 organised the service, led prayers, read passages from the Bible, involved parents and used drama to share the important message of Easter and new life.
We take part in the annual Year 6 service, held at Hereford Cathedral. One of our children was thrilled to see her artwork used on the service sheet. This service marks an important moment in the life of each Year 6 child. Through coming together children are able to celebrate their time at primary school and to gain strength as they move onto high school.
Children were priviledged to lead both Eucharist and Evening song at Holy Trinity. A huge number of parents and congregation from the church joined us. Having the opportunity to pray, to share, to sing and to be together was very special.
|What does worship look like at St Thomas?
The purpose of worship in our school is to bring us together, in celebration, in stillness, to think, learn, sing and reflect. Working with our local clergy, staff, Trust and children we have created an approach to worship which is right for our school. We always have a Christian value that links our weekly worship, with clear aims and Biblical references to help children understand the language of worship.
Worship is based on being inclusive, invitational and inspirational. We use imagery, song, quiet, story and reflection. Parents are included in worship through sharing of home/school links.
The headteacher or deputy head teacher lead whole school worship once a week. Monday worship focuses on a different value each half term over a two year cycle.
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 before the week ends with Celebration.
Our planning, using 'Roots and Shoots' to support us, 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 we 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.
We share our half termly values focus with families through giving information about each value and our learning around it. Families are very supportive of worship, join us for services and encourage children to be worship leaders and members of our school choir.
Children who believe in other faiths have opportunities, time and space to pray in ways which reflect their faith. Children share how they pray with their peers to deepen understanding of that which we share as well as the unique aspects of different faiths.
|How do we 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 boxes 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’ where children develop an understanding of the Trinity.
The, 'Spirited Arts,' competition encourages children to express their prayers through art. As a whole school we enter this event each year. It gives a focus for prayer and creativity.
Prayer at St Thomas Cantilupe gives children the time to ask questions, to seek guidance and to give thanks. It also, most importantly, gives children the time to just be.