Collective Worship at St James'
Current law requires all state-funded schools in England, to hold daily acts of ‘Collective Worship’ and this worship must be ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’. As a Church of England Aided Primary School we are proud of the strong links that we have with St James' Church, our Christian ethos and of our Collective Worship.
The Rochester Diocese, which we are part of, encourages Collective Worship to be the ‘heartbeat’ of the school. At St James' Primary School we genuinely value gathering together each day and encourage each child to participate in a way that is meaningful for them. All teachers come to Collective Worship as well as the children.
We follow a three-year cycle of bible stories and incorporate key Christian festivals. Each term also focuses on one of our school values. Mr Tutt, Ms Hayward and other members of staff regularly lead Collective Worship. The Vicar or Curate from St James' comes in on a Tuesday and leads worship for us and we all follow the same plan. Sometimes we have other visitors from the wider church community in Tunbridge Wells.
Each day we GATHER, ENGAGE, RESPOND and we are then SENT out to continue our school day.
We usually start with two children leading our school prayer, welcoming us and then giving us a simple visual reminder of the Trinity - God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Our ‘engaging together’ often includes a short game or activity followed by a story which is usually from the bible or a story that illustrates one of our values. (Trust, Forgiveness, Co-operation, Kindness, Hope and Openness)
Our response includes opportunities for reflection and prayer. Sometimes children lead the prayers and are enthusiastic to take part. No children are made to join in with prayers but they are asked to be respectful while others pray. We explain to the children that ‘Amen’ means ‘I agree’ so if a child does not want to be part of the prayer then he or she does not have to say ‘Amen’. Collective Worship includes appropriate application for all children whatever their background. For example we might ask children how they can be thankful today or how they could be kind to others in the playground. Please note that our assemblies are inclusive to all and do not impose beliefs on the children.
At the end of Collective Worship, children lead everyone in a simple response and then send the school out in peace and kindness.
One day a week we have a Celebration of children’s learning, including their use of wider learning powers and putting our values into action. The children hear about sporting achievements, reading successes and house points as well as collecting shells as a class, for behaviour and kindness.
Because we are a large school, Collective Worship has to take place in the two halls. We are excited that we all fit into St James’ Church so we are gathering there at least once a term.
A different year group plan and lead the church services and the parents of that year are invited to join us if they can.
Plan for 2022 to 2023
Start of Term 1: Year 2
End of Term 2: Year 3 (Christmas)
Start of Term 3: Year 1
Start of Term 4:Year 4
Term 5: Year 5 - Easter Service (Just before the holiday in Term 4 dependent on when Easter falls)
Beginning of Term 6 (or end of Term 5) : Reception
End of Term 6: Year 6 - Leavers’ Service
We sing a wide variety of songs and the majority have some Christian content or reflect our Christian values. We use some Makaton sign language for many of our songs.
Some examples of songs:
We love singing ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’. It is about God being with us on our journey through life and it reminds us of St James who went on a pilgrimage. The pilgrim’s shell was a symbol shared by all those who followed in James’ footsteps. Mr. Tutt’s favourite song has one word: Shalom which means peace to you, so as we journey together through St James’ school we aim to share peace and blessing with each other. The song ‘Count your blessings’ reminds us to be thankful and ‘Everywhere around us’ encourages us to appreciate the beauty in nature all around us. Our Leavers’ Song fits in with the theme of journeying through life, like St James' on his pilgrimage. It is the right song to prepare Year Sixes for their move onto the next part of their exciting journeys!
Our school prayer
We come together on this new day,
To give You thanks and learn your ways,
To pray for all who need your aid.
To say we are sorry and sing your praise.
Thank you Father God,