The Diocese of Ely Education Directorate

Planning Your Collective Worship Programme

Schools usual plan their collective worship on an annual or termly basis and frequently this may be left to one person to put together.  However, given that the Foundation Governors of a Church school have particular responsibility for monitoring collective worship, and that at least one Foundation Governor – namely the priest of the parish, will probably be a regular contributor to the programme, it is very appropriate that such planning should be done by a small team of people, including church representatives.

It is important to take the following into account as part of your planning process:

  • Blocking out the whole year in advance to show the Christian Festivals and other significant dates will also help you to determine appropriate themes for the rest of the year.  For example, if the school regularly engages with Bishop Stephen’s Lent Challenge, you will know that linked worship materials will be sent to you from the Diocese.  Weekly themes and acts of worship which follow the pattern of the Church’s three year lectionary are also available to you through this website.   Other themes may arise naturally out of the school’s Christian Values.
  • The pattern and timing of collective worship can affect it’s efficacy.  Here your monitoring procedures will have told you that worship at different times of the day can be less stressed and rushed – worship immediately before morning break, for example can feel very “tight” while worship at the beginning or end of the day may be more appropriate.  This can be a particular issue when some class based worship is taking place. 
  • Is it more sensible to theme your worship horizontally or vertically?  In other words, to run a theme for a week or a fortnight, or, where there are a variety of worship leaders, to run a theme through half a term of Thursdays for example?  The right answer to this question is what works best for your school, but the corollary of this is that if you theme horizontally and have a variety of worship leaders, including visitors, it is important that a theme is planned in some detail to avoid repetition.
  • Collecting feedback from pupils and parents on your collective worship provision will be a natural part of your monitoring process, and it is important that this is discussed by your worship planning team and contributes to the planning of the next worship cycle.
  • Agree how collective worship will be recorded (including key stage and class worship if applicable) and the pattern of monitoring and evaluation over the year.
  • Consider how you will share the worship themes and occasions with your school families e.g. on the website, newsletters, invitations to church services and celebration assemblies.