Collective Worship


Collective Worship resources & ideas:

  • A new list of website resources for Collective Worship is now available, click here for the pdf version.
  • We now have our own Collective Worship board on Pinterest, where we share useful web-based recommendations 
  • The Lord's Prayer with signing instructions, a resource from the Cartmel Peninsula transition day, is now available to download click here.
  • New whole school Bible reading resources from St Paul's CofE school, Barrow. Click here or see the 'Children - downloads tab' for free resources.
  • New website from Scripture Union, Bible-based assemblies: ideas for collective worship based on Biblical characters and/or truths found in the Bible.
  • New interactive website created by National Society, Liturgical Commission & Royal School of Church Music designed to help schools create engaging & imaginative Collective Worship


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DBE Guidance

Guidance for CE Schools.

This document is available as a pdf download, click here.

The Exemplar CW Policy is also available as a word document to download and adapt.


“Worship is to do with lifting the spirit, celebrating the mysterious in and beyond everyday experience, and affirming enduring values and beliefs. Its wonderful variety, expressed in different and developing traditions, helps to affirm togetherness and enriches the participants.”

Ian Harland - Bishop of Carlisle 1986 - 2000

What is 'Collective Worship' ?     

Collective worship is a controversial phrase that was coined for the 1988 Education Act.  It is intended to identify an activity which is related to but different from the corporate worship of the Church and other faith groups.  In corporate worship there is a body of believers who share a body of belief.  In a school there is a collection of people who will be of the Christian faith, another faith or no faith.  Collective worship must address the needs and aspirations of all these individuals. 

In Church of England church (corporate) worship the Christian community reflects on, celebrates and affirms its commonly held values and beliefs.  In a similar way, in collective worship children and staff are given opportunities to reflect on, affirm and celebrate the Christian values and beliefs on which their school is based.  This will rightly include the concerns, insights and experiences which they bring into worship from school, from their home life and from the wider community. 

Christians believe that the whole of life is a gift from God and the whole universe belongs to Him. Collective worship in a Church school should therefore always be fully inclusive. 

However, CE schools have a religious foundation which requires that collective worship is consistent with Anglican belief and practice.  Fortunately the contemporary understanding of the Church of England is consistent with the requirements for inclusiveness identified above.  Archbishop Runcie’s affirmation is widely respected:

Church of England   Schools (and their collective worship) should 

Nourish those of the faith

Encourage those of other faiths

Challenge those of no faith

(See the section on Anglican Heritage)

The legal requirements for collective worship are set out in Appendix 1


The Aims of Collective Worship

Schools may find it helpful to select (or adapt) some of the following:         

  • To provide opportunities for pupils and staff to explore, affirm and celebrate the Christian beliefs and values on which the school is based
  • To introduce children to a variety of forms of worship. Seeking to reflect the rich diversity of experience in the Anglican (and other Christian) traditions locally and around the world. (See the section on Anglican Tradition below)
  • To enable children and adults to approach the “threshold of worship” and particularly to support expressions of reverence, awe, wonder, gratitude, joy, serenity, contrition, expectation, assurance, respect etc.
  • To enable students to explore the use of silence for stilling, reflection and, as appropriate, prayer.
  • To heighten pupils’ awareness of questions relating to the ultimate mysteries of life and to explore the responses that have been made to these by people of faith.
  • To affirm the value and special gifts which Christians believe each person has in the sight of God.
  • To enable pupils to reflect on themselves and their place in their home, the local and wider community and in God’s Creation.


All CE Schools should:

  1. Produce a policy for collective worship which is regularly reviewed.  (See appendix 2 for an exemplar policy)
  2. Identify one or more (foundation) governors with a specific brief for collective worship who will meet with the co-ordinator to ensure that these requirements are successfully implemented.
  3. (The headteacher should) Appoint from among the staff a co-ordinator for collective worship who will have a separate job description to that of the RE Co-ordinator.
  4. Plan a cycle of themes for collective worship e.g. over a three or four year cycle (see section on planning below).  Maintain a brief but useful record of collective worship which includes appropriate evaluation (see evaluation section below).
  5. Ensure effective and regular monitoring of collective worship and evaluation of its impact on children’s development and on the developing Christian character of the school. (See evaluation section below)
  6. Allocate a realistic amount of money from the annual budget specifically for resourcing collective worship. This should be separate from the budget for R.E.   
  7. Ensure all staff have appropriate CPD in leading collective worship.          
  8. Ensure that collective worship provides variety, stimulation and appropriate challenge to children and adults and is well resourced and effectively delivered.   
  9. Facilitate full staff participation.   
  10. Ensure active pupil participation.        
  11. Ensure parents, members of the local community, local churches and other visitors  take part on a regular basis.
  12. Receive regular reports from the governor(s) and coordinator responsible for collective worship and ensure that appropriate development plans are included in the schools improvement plan.


Best Practice in Collective Worship

Collective worship should

  • Employ a rich, variety of art and cultural forms, many of which will have been produced or selected by the children.
  • Use resources such as Christian symbols, stories, art and artefacts etc from the Anglican church and other denominations in Britain and around the world.
  • Facilitate pupils in leading parts of worship  i.e. children taking decisions and making choices about worship and within worship.
  • Involve a variety of visitors including governors and parents from the church and community, often in a leadership role.
  • Focus on open ended exploration and personal and communal reflection.
  • Relate to children’s ability, experience, interests, background and personal life choices.
  • Have good links to the whole school curriculum.
  • Should generally last about 10 minutes and usually no longer than 15 minutes.


The Anglican Heritage

All CE schools were originally established under a trust that required them to provide education in accordance with Anglican teachings and practices, that’s what makes them church schools.  This applies to all aspects of the school’s life but particularly to collective worship.  By law, therefore, all the worship must be consistent with Anglican practice and teachings.  However, Carlisle is the first ecumenical diocese and this means that worship should be consistent with Christian practice generally.

Schools should therefore encourage all Christians in their community to contribute to and where appropriate to lead collective worship.  They should use resources and material from all Christian communities in this country and around the world to enrich collective worship and to challenge and inspire children.

However, the Church of England has a rich and varied tradition of prayer and worship which can make a great contribution in school.  A few of these are set out below.

  1. Using the Bible as a source book for inspiration and learning
    • Stories of people of faith
    • Psalms and other poetic material
    • God as Father, Creator and Provider
    • The life and teaching of Jesus and His death and resurrection.
    • The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the first Christians
  2. Reflecting upon Christian symbols  
  • bread, wine, chalice, cross and crucifix are symbols which lead to an understanding of the meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection)
  • The use of light as a metaphor for Christ.
  • The dove and fire as a symbols of The Spirit of God.
  • Water as a sign of cleansing and life.
  • The rainbow as a sign of the promise of God.                       etc.
  1. The major festivals of the church year
  • Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. 

Other important days:

  • Harvest
  • Major Saints' Days (especially of the parish in which the school is linked)
  1. Prayer (see appendix 4 for some suggestions)
  • A collection of prayers which express the essential beliefs of Christians throughout the ages and are worth using regularly so that children become familiar with them. They should include examples of invocation, praise, thanksgiving,      confession /absolution, petition / intercession and dedication. They can be supplemented by prayers written by children following the style of particular saints etc.
  • The Collects - short prayers which “collect up” a number of ideas from Christian teaching and the Bible.
  • Traditional responses.
  • Opportunities to discover the value of meditation and silence within the context of Christian worship.
  • Ex tempore prayer - that allows individuals to express their own thoughts and concerns.

Please note: prayers written by Cumbrian school children can be found on the download tab of the Collective Worship section of the website, click here for a direct link.

  1. Religious Art
  • Stained Glass
  • Religious Art
  • Icons
  • Choral and orchestral music
  • Songs with choral parts, rounds etc.
  • Live instrumental performance
  • Sculpture                                                 etc.

The Anglican tradition is eclectic - it borrows from other Christian traditions.  It is also a world wide church so borrows from other cultures around the world.

  1. Sacred Space
  • appropriate use of the parish church for worship
  • the creation of special places for worship and reflection in classrooms, the hall and the school grounds as appropriate.

(This list is based in part on Open the Door - David Barton, Alan Brown & Erica Brown p 12)


Effective planning should:-

Involve a range of stakeholders

This will include children, clergy and other governors etc.

Support the people who will be leading worship

It will optimise the use of their time in preparation.  A 3 or 4 year rolling programme means that any ideas or resources that are collected in planning this worship can be used again in the future.

Ensure a range of styles of leadership, varied content and quality resources

Facilitate a range of opportunities for children’s response, participation and leadership

Allow for different groupings

Whole school, key stage and class worship provide for a variety of styles to be used

Facilitate kinaesthetic worship

Ensure developmental learning and reflection

Collective worship sometimes suffers from repetition of the same themes, material and intended outcomes.  Good planning ensures that themes and material are revisited in new and imaginative ways that allows for reinforcement, additional reflection and exploration and progressive outcomes.  It should allow for differentiated outcomes at all times.

Clergy and other regular visitors should develop the theme that is being used that week rather than use independent material or a different theme.  The plan should be linked to the church year as far as practicable to facilitate this.

Ensure that Christian material is used appropriately, imaginatively and in context

Good planning should ensure, as far as possible, that the biblical material is used in an integrated way that enables children to gain a clear understanding.  Too often stories or texts are used without any reference to their context or are chosen randomly from different, unconnected parts of the Bible which makes it difficult for them to get a sense of its sweep and range.

The plan should ensure that key parts of the Bible are covered.  Linking to the church year should also help ensure this.

Make useful connections to the rest of the curriculum

Children’s learning should be “joined up”.  The schools Christian values should be central to collective worship and these times should help children and adults to make the connection between the school’s values and its core activities.

Facilitate record keeping and self-evaluation by leaders

It should be relatively easy to use the plan as a record of what actually happened in worship.  There should be opportunity for the leader and others to reflect on how it could have been improved and for this to be recorded briefly to facilitate preparation when that worship is repeated in 3 or 4 years time etc.

Be used flexibly

There are occasions in the life of a school and the nation when the plan has to be set aside to address important issues through collective worship.  However, with a good plan these occasions should be relatively rare.

The DBE has produced a half-term plan for collective worship which is intended as an exemplar of good planning and

  • Has a half termly theme linked to the SEAL theme.
  • Has 6 weekly sub-units that develop / explore the main theme.
  • Has weekly biblical material which is introduced progressively [eg to explore key moments in the life of King David)
  • Suggests opportunities for exploring the theme in a classroom context.
  • Provides for children to contribute in a leadership role.
  • Suggests how the theme for the week can provide a focus for the Friday “celebration / achievement” assembly.
  • Suggests connections to the wider curriculum (eg literacy, RE, science)
  • Includes a range of input (story, film, biography, poetry, children’s writing, children’s experiences and personal responses etc)

It is commended for use in schools and can be found by clicking here.

Other websites that may be of use are also available to download – click here.


Monitoring and Self Evaluation

There are two very different types of evaluation and both are essential.

One simple form of evaluation

Everyone who leads worship should reflect on their own practice. On most days and usually at least once in a week leaders should be able to identify ways in which they could have improved the content and delivery. In the best schools colleagues provide feedback for each other and this may help to improve the worship next time round. Such a supportive culture should be encouraged. Simple examples of this may be:

“There’s a good song that fits the theme of your story”

“My class wrote some poems (or did some artwork) that we could use”

“There’s a pop-song (or film etc) which we could use next time”                   

“that reminds me of something that we did in history (or science)”    etc

The self-reflection and /or the feedback from colleagues (or children) should be recorded simply and clearly on the plan for that day so that when that assembly is repeated (on the next 3/4 year cycle) it can be improved. 

A more important form of evaluation

Is the school’s assessment of the impact of collective worship on children (and adults)

Self evaluation of the impact of collective worship

The school should also carry out systematic evaluation of the impact of collective worship on the development of children. This self-evaluation is required in advance of the diocesan inspection of the school (SIAMS). However the real reason for such self evaluation is to ensure that the significant time, energy and resources that go into collective worship are worthwhile. It is not enough to know whether children enjoy worship, though this is important. Schools need to be clear about how far collective worship is contributing to the children’s personal development and how effectively it helps them to reflect on and to change their ideas, attitudes and behaviours. This does not mean that the school should seek to control the children’s personal life choices but that they should support and appropriately challenge learners to make their own informed choices.

The most effective way of carrying out self evaluation is simply to ask the views of people in the school community. Staff, parents and governors can also learn much about the impact of worship through observation.

The Learners

Children can understand the aims of collective worship and the descriptions of good practice set out in the opening sections of this document.   In conversation with staff of governors they can make judgements about the effectiveness of collective worship in addressing these and provide evidence from their own experience, thinking and actions.

The School Council (or in some schools The Worship Committee) should be consulted regularly to provide evaluation and suggestions for improvements.

A simple pro forma is used in some schools.  It contains questions that invite children to reflect on the impact of collective worship at the end of a half term or month theme.  It can be used in small groups, or by the people who are responsible for preparing the hall for worship, or by older children (sensitively) interviewing younger ones.  This pro forma has been adapted from a document produced by Lat Blaylock of RE Today Services for children’s assessment of RE and is used with their generous permission. Click here.


Parents are a good source of information about the development of their children and are usually ready and able to talk about how worship impacts on their children’s thinking and behaviours.  Staff and governors should talk to small numbers of parents to gain their views at least once a year.

The annual parents’ questionnaire may also include a question about the impact of worship.

Parents attend collective worship especially at festivals and at celebrations.  It is good practice for governors occasionally to seek the views and insights of parents after such acts.


Some governors will be attending or leading worship regularly. They may monitor the extent to which the school policy on worship is being effectively implemented. They may also be able to provide evidence of the impact of worship on children. They must avoid making judgements about the effectiveness of staff in delivering worship since this kind of monitoring is the responsibility of the headteacher or a senior staff member to whom the head has delegated this role. The DBE has produced a prompt sheet to help governors to reflect on school worship they have participated in. This can be found in appendix 3

As outlined above, governors should also engage with children, staff, parents and other visitors to worship to gain their insights.

In most CE schools the self-evaluation is very positive - children mostly enjoy worship and gain a lot from it. Parents generally appreciate the positive impacts that it has on their children. So another benefit of self-evaluation is to affirm and encourage staff.

Staff Participation

In all aspects of school life staff make a significant contribution to the pupils’ development as role models. This is particularly the case in collective worship. Members of staff, especially teaching staff, should attend collective worship on most occasions.  Collective worship should be a stimulating and enjoyable activity for adults as well as children (and for believers and non-believers) and the school should be concerned if this is not the case. 

Collective worship should be making a significant contribution to the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and therefore it is important that teachers and teaching assistants are part of this process so that they can support or respond to children in other parts of school life.  Collective worship should also link to the other parts of the school curriculum and staff need to be able to help children interconnect all their learning effectively.

In VoluntaryAidedSchools and most Academies governors may make this a contractual obligation when appointing staff but this is not usually the most appropriate way of ensuring staff attendance.  In other situations staff have the same right to withdraw from worship as parents.  However, this is directed time and headteachers should ensure that other duties are given to staff who do exercise this right.

Children’s Participation and Leadership

There are various levels of engagement in worship depending on children’s age and abilities.

Level 1

Children should at all times be engaged in the content of worship. It should stimulate their interest and imagination, their thinking and feeling and should inspire their reflections.

Level 2

There should be many opportunities for children to contribute to the worship. Often these will be in response to the worship leader’s input e.g. responses to open questions, suggesting the outcomes of stories or the motivations of characters etc; participating in role play directed by the worship leader; suggesting ideas for prayer, or commenting on a worship song etc.  Children may also be given some responsibility for preparing the worship space by setting out music, chairs and candles etc.

Level 3

Increasingly there should be opportunities for children to be involved in a less passive or responsive way. Children will be asked to select or create appropriate material for worship to fit in with the worship leaders plans. E.g. - they will write or select prayers, create a role play, download music or visual aids with some guidance from the worship leader. They may also take an increasing role in preparing for worship by commenting on themes, writing invitations to special services or communicating with visiting speakers etc.

Level 4

Children increasingly take their own decisions about worship. They are involved in evaluation of worship and future action planning. They are included in the review of long term plans. They will be taking more responsibility in leading parts of worship with a greater degree of independence. Some children or small groups of children will be able to act effectively as worship leaders with a varying degree of support from staff by the time that they are in middle Key Stage 2. As with adult leaders they will need appropriate training and support usually in the form of appropriate evaluative feedback. They will also be able to record their suggestions for improvement in the same way as adult leaders of worship.

The school’s goal will be to assist all children towards becoming independent learners in terms of worship which means that many of them will be taking a leading role in collective worship.

Right of Withdrawal      

Schools cannot prevent parents who wish to withdraw their children from collective worship and parents do not have to give a reason for this (see appendix 1 Legal Requirements). However, parents who are considering withdrawal usually appreciate the opportunity to discuss their concerns with the headteacher. Very often these concerns may be addressed by explaining the value of collective worship for a child’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural education and the respect for the integrity of each child’s personal beliefs and family background which underpins it. 

The Parental Right to Withdraw applies to all worship, or to individual acts of collective worship or to parts of an act of collective worship.  This is helpful because it means that the parent may arrange for the child to be present at most acts of worship but to withdraw from those parts which the parent deems to be of a sensitive nature.

The school has a duty of care to provide appropriate supervision for a child who is not in collective worship but must not itself arrange alternative activities in lieu of them (either of a religious or academic nature). Some schools have been happy to allow a religious community (eg Jehovah’s Witnesses) to provide an alternative act of worship for children who have been withdrawn from worship but this is not a right and may only happen at the discretion of the governing body with the headteacher.

Parents should usually be required to make their formal request for withdrawal in writing but schools should be flexible in insisting on this given the heightened sensitivities often involved in this matter. Heads should ensure that any requests for withdrawal and the arrangements surrounding them are noted, approved and minuted at a governors’ meeting.

In secondary schools 6th form students over the age of 16 years have the right to withdraw without their parents’ involvement.  Schools should insist that students make this request formally in writing rather than in an informal, ad hoc manner.   Such students also have no obligation to give their reasons but schools are advised to explore any concerns in a sensitive manner.   All governing bodies in a CE school should be concerned if 6th form students do not value the opportunity to engage with peers in what should be a stimulating, interactive and challenging activity.

Bert Thomas has produced a guide for Cumbria SACRE on Jehovah’s Witnesses and Collective Worship.

The DBE wishes to thank:

Rachel Cowper (Braithwaite CE Primary School)

Susan Davies (Church Walk CE Primary School)

Penny Hollander

for helpful comments on draft versions of this guidance.

Langdale CE Primary School for the cover picture of children taking during their visit to Rydal Hall (the Carlisle Diocese Conference and Retreat Centre


Appendix 1 - The Legal Requirement for Collective worship in CE Schools


The Schools Standard and Framework Act 1998 (Section 70 and Schedule 20) requires­

  1. All registered pupils must on "each school day take part in an act of collective worship".  (See below for rights to withdraw)
  2. The requirement is for "Collective Worship" rather than corporate worship. Corporate worship (e.g. in church) assumes a group of people with shared beliefs. Collective worship recognises the different background, experience and commitment of children and adults gathered together in school.
  3. The daily act of collective worship must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Deeds of the      school and the Ethos Statement in the Instruments of Government, and must be consistent with the beliefs and practice of the Church of England.
  4. For collective worship, pupils can be grouped in various ways: as a whole school, according to age, or in groups (or a combination of groups) which the school uses at other times. Pupils cannot be put into special groups just for collective worship. This provision is helpful in the case, say, of a swimming group (or a group receiving additional support outside the classroom) which would otherwise regularly miss collective worship. Because such a group already exists as part of the school’s delivery of the curriculum they may have their own act of collective worship. 
  5. Parents have a right to withdraw their children from parts or all of collective worship. Parents do not need to give a reason for this. A similar right exists for children in the sixth form over the age of 16 years who may exercise this right independently of their parents or carers. Where children are withdrawn from worship the school must provide appropriate supervision but is not obliged to provide alternative curriculum provision.      

Teachers may also withdraw from collective worship unless their contract is deemed to require attendance of them as part of the requirement to respect the character of the religious foundation of the school.

  1. Acts of worship must be appropriate for the pupils, in that they should take account of the pupils' age, aptitude and family backgrounds.
  2. The daily worship will normally take place on the school premises. Schools are able to hold their Act of Worship elsewhere (e.g. the local parish church) on special occasions.
  3. The daily worship may take place at any time of the  school day. However, acts of worship are not curriculum time and should not be subsumed into any part of the curriculum. Acts of worship must be distinct from other aspects of school life and able to be identified as such to meet legal requirements.
  4. Responsibility for the arrangement of collective worship rests with the governors in consultation with the headteacher.  Foundation governors have a particular responsibility because they are appointed for "the purpose of securing, as far as is practicable that the character of the school as a voluntary school is preserved and developed, and, in particular, that the school is conducted in accordance with the provisions of any trust deed relating thereto."  The headteacher has a responsibility to ensure that all arrangements for collective worship are secured.


Appendix 2 - An Exemplar Collective Worship Policy for a CE School


Collective worship at _________________________Church of England                    School takes place daily in accordance with the provisions of the Schools Standards and Framework Act, 1998.

The content of all our acts of collective worship is in accordance with the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Church (as required by the Trust Deed and the instrument of governance of this Church of England School).

This policy was agreed by the governing body on                    and will be reviewed within four years.  The governors are grateful for the help of                       in preparing this document. Visitors to the school who are regularly involved in acts of worship are provided with a copy of this policy.

Aims of collective worship

In the words of former Archbishop Runcie we seek through collective worship “to nourish those of the faith, encourage those of other faiths and to challenge those of no faith”.

Specifically we aim:

To provide opportunities for students and staff to explore and celebrate the Christian values on which the school is based.

To introduce children to a variety of forms of worship.  Seeking to reflect the rich diversity of experience in the Anglican (and other Christian) traditions locally and around the world. 

To enable children and adults to approach the “threshold of worship” and particularly to support expressions of reverence, awe, wonder, gratitude, joy, serenity, contrition, expectation, assurance, respect etc.

To enable pupils to explore the use of silence for stilling, reflection and, as appropriate, prayer.

To heighten pupils’ awareness of questions  relating to the ultimate mysteries of life and to explore the responses that have been made to these by people of faith.

To affirm the value and special gifts and status that Christians believe each person has in the sight of God.


The whole school including members of staff, meet together in the hall each afternoon after lunch except Wednesdays when class teachers conduct worship in their own rooms. Worship usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. The Friday worship includes a celebration of children’s efforts and achievements in school and elsewhere. Parents, Governors and members of the church and local community often attend collective worship on Fridays and on special festivals.

Various people assist the head in conducting whole school worship. Visitors play an important part in the life of our school and regularly contribute to acts of worship.

The incumbent or curate of the parish are frequently invited, as are members of charitable organisations offering their expertise to the school. (A list of contact addresses is included as an appendix). Class teachers also lead whole school worship on occasions.

On Ascension Day, Harvest Festival, Advent, Christmas and other major festival days the whole school visits the church for an act of worship.  At other times, including Mothering Sunday and St                    ‘s Day, some staff and children take part in worship at the parish church.   On appropriate occasions we use the Garden of Reflection in the school grounds for whole school or class worship.

Content and Approach­

We are currently developing a four year plan for worship which can be found in the worship book in the staff room. The plan is based on half term themes (linked to SEAL) which are broken down into weekly sub themes. It will include

  • links to the Church year
  • Presentation of Bible stories
  • Opportunities for children’s participation
  • Links to the school curriculum
  • A variety of stimuli and media, including the creative arts
  • Opportunities to revisit different themes progressively and developmentally

All worship leaders are required to:

  • respect the life choices of children and other participants particularly being sensitive to those of the Christian faith, or of other faiths or with no faith.
  • use the collective worship plan unless there are special circumstances which make this inappropriate.
  • ensure that their worship addresses the needs, interests, backgrounds and abilities of the children and uses a variety of aesthetic materials and other stimuli and active learning styles.
  • provide opportunities for participation by the children, including regular opportunities for them to lead parts of worship children to lead in worship.
  • include opportunities for appropriate prayer and reflection.
  • complete a brief record of their worship with suggestions, as appropriate, for how it may be improved next time (by amending the planning documents.)


The school budget includes a sum of £_______ to be used annually for resourcing collective worship. Visual aids (artefacts, posters and books) are purchased regularly and are catalogued and stored in the staff room.  The updated list of resources is included in the worship book.

Evaluation and Review­

The two Governors with oversight of collective worship will be appointed annually and will meet each term with the worship coordinator to monitor:

  • The implementation of this policy.
  • The ongoing development of the 4 year plan.
  • The records for worship.
  • The issues relating to collective worship in the school development plan. (SDP)

Each year these governors seek the views of stakeholders to evaluate the impact of worship and to identify ideas for future development through:

  • 2 meetings with the school council.
  • Informal conversations with parents at parents evenings.
  • Informal conversations with parents after the Friday worship.
  • The parents questionnaire.
  • Seeking the views of staff and visiting worship leaders.
  • Through the worship evaluation forms completed by Year 6 children.

Foundation governors also participate in collective worship regularly.

The foundation governors with the collective worship coordinator report annually to the full governing body and propose any necessary amendments to the SDP including the need for staff development or training.


Parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from collective worship. Should any parent make such a request, appropriate arrangements will be made for the supervision of the children following consultation. Parents who have any concerns about the provision and practice of collective worship are encouraged to contact the head teacher to discuss this.   The headteacher will report to the governors the numbers (but not the names) of any children who are withdrawn and the arrangements that have been made for their supervision.

In schools with sixth forms only:

Sixth form students have the right to withdraw from collective worship. Students who are considering this are advised to discuss this with their Head of House. As a courtesy, they are requested to make any withdrawal formally in writing to the Headteacher.


Appendix 3 - Diocesan Board of Education Governor Observation of Collective Worship

Guidance for governors

This is intended to help governors and others to monitor or evaluate the effectiveness of acts of collective worship.  The prime concern is to ensure that the governors’ policy on collective worship is being delivered. Monitoring the effectiveness of the worship leader is the headteacher’s responsibility and governors should guard against judging or commenting on this aspect.  Governors who are present in worship should participate in the worship fully.

Children are:

  • engaged, interested and responding well.
  • actively involved. (eg. they took part through drama, role play, readings, etc.)
  • able to take a lead.(eg. they made choices that affected the worship)
  • enjoying worship.     
  • moved / made to think.


  • varied in pace, format, emotional tone.(eg. there were lively and quiet times)
  • appeals to the senses.                                    
  • allows for a variety of learning styles.
  • allows for a range of responses.
  • included effective use of eye contact, variation in tone and pitch, body language and gesture.
  • clearly related to children’s previous learning and experiences.

Content is:

  • relevant to the pupils age, interests, ability.
  • related to the school curriculum.
  • linked to distinctive Christian * values.
  • reflects Christian traditions and practice.  **
  • inclusive of those of all faiths and none.
  • well resourced.

The Leader succeeded in:

  • creating an appropriate emotional environment                    

(eg. secure, warm, lively, amusing, challenging and / or reflective etc.)

  • promoting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
  • providing appropriate opportunities for meaningful reflection, not only but including silence.


* in a community school: - linked to “broadly Christian” values

** in a community school: - reflects “broadly Christian” belief and practice 


Appendix 4 - Traditional Prayers which are appropriate for collective worship

Please note

Children (and adults) should be invited to join in prayer. It is always an optional activity and it should never be assumed that people will automatically wish to participate.

The Lord’s Prayer

(see The Gospel of St Matthew 6: 9 - 13)

Our Father in Heaven

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as in heaven

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For The Kingdom, The Power and The Glory are yours now and forever.


A Prayer of St Ignatius Loyola

Teach us, Good Lord

To serve you as you deserve

To give, and not to count the cost

To fight, and not to heed the wounds

To toil, and not to ask for rest

To labour, and not to ask for any reward

Save that we know that we do your will


A prayer attributed to St Patrick

May the strength of God pilot us

May the power of God preserve us

May the wisdom of God instruct us

May the hand of God protect us

May the way of God direct us

May the shield of God defend us

May Christ be with us

Christ above us

Christ in us

Christ before us

This day and evermore


The Prayer of St Francis


Make me an instrument of Your peace Where there is hatred - let me sow love Where there is injury - pardon

Where there is doubt - faith

Where there is despair - hope;

Where there is darkness - light;

Where there is sadness - joy.

Divine Master

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned

It is in dying that we are born again to eternal life


From the Prayer of Sir Richard of Chichester

Most merciful redeemer

Friend and brother

May I know you more clearly

Love you more dearly

And follow you more dearly

Day by day


A prayer of St Augustine

To my God a heart of flame

To my fellowman a heart of love

To myself a heart of steel




The Collect for Purity (from the Eucharist / Communion Service)

Almighty God,

To whom all hearts are open

All desires known

And from whom no secrets are hidden

Cleanse the thoughts of our hears

By the inspiration of your Holy Spirit

That we may perfectly love you

And worthily magnify your name

Though Christ our Lord



The Lord be with you

And also with you


Peace be with you

And also with you


After short prayers or periods of silence on a theme

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Prayers that have a simple structure that the children can use to write their own

This is useful because children do not automatically understand the traditional structures of prayer. You can use some of the prayers above to create a basic structure for children to explore.

A traditional prayer:

God be in my head

And in my understanding

God be in my eyes

And in my looking

God be in my mouth

And in my speaking

God be in my heart

And in my thinking

God be in my end

And in my departing


Basic structure for children

God be in my head

And in my  _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

God be in my eyes

And in my _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

God be in my mouth

And in my _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

God be in my heart

And in my _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

God be in my end

And in my _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _


A prayer from the Iona Community:

God the Father, bless us

God the Son, defend us

God the spirit, keep us

Now and evermore


Basic structure for children

God the Father,  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

God the Son,  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

God the spirit, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _ _ _ _


A Celtic Blessing

Please note: This can be used as it stands, or as structure for children to write their own version, or if lines are spoken alternately as a responsive prayer. 

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the flowing air to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Deep peace of the Son of peace to you

  • The following Cumbrian Prayer Spaces have featured on the national Prayer Spaces In School's ...