Worship is central to Christian formation. It is a key aspect of the Church’s mission to young people and the nation. However, there is no specific liturgical or musical provision to support collective worship in Church of England schools at present. The Liturgical Commission in co-operation with the National Society and Education Division has established a working group to address this fundamental issue. After significant research and discussion, the group’s proposal is to provide a comprehensive online resource that includes
· clear and helpful guidance on planning and leading collective worship in school
· a rich variety of liturgical materials to suit all seasons and needs
· a wide repertoire of sacred songs
The launch date is September 2011, as part of the bicentenary of the founding of the National Society. This anniversary will offer significant marketing opportunities to promote the new resource across all Church Schools.
Of the 25,300 schools in England, there are 4,470 Church of England primary schools and 220 Church of England secondary schools. 18.6% of all primary pupils and 5.8% of all secondary pupils attend Church of England schools and these percentages in each case are growing. This represents almost one million pupils in England.
Inspection evidence suggests that collective worship is taken seriously and seeks to be accessible to all pupils. There is less confidence about the rooting of such worship in the foundation of the school, the liturgy and practice of the Church of England. It is led by teachers, members of the clergy and occasionally pupils, many of whom lack the necessary theological or musical training and resources to lead worship. Although some dioceses have produced their own materials (notably the East Anglican Dioceses with Flipping Praise) or run training days, there is no comprehensive provision in this vital sphere of Church and School life.
1) to provide comprehensive, clear and accessible guidance and training for all those leading collective worship in schools
2) to provide those who lead collective worship with a variety of exciting age-appropriate liturgical and musical materials which will engage pupils and staff
3) to provide pupils, parents, clergy and others access to those same online liturgical and musical materials for use in the home
1) To greatly enrich collective worship in Church of England as well as Community Schools so that the lives of pupils and staff are inspired and transformed by the praise of God
2) To provide a flexible, creative and easy-to-use online resource that can excite and inspire all who use it
3) To provide training for diocesan advisors and worship co-ordinators in Church of England schools to improve the quality and impact of collective worship
4) It is envisaged that while some (though not all) of the liturgical material will relate specifically to the needs of Church of England schools, the Song Bank will be widely accessible to all, and so provide a much needed resource for all schools in fulfilling their statutory obligation to provide a daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian character.