When I was first given the opportunity to lead the Worship Team I have to be completely honest, it terrified me. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and RE was not my thing. I’ve led many subject areas, but never RE and to make matters even more alarming, I now work in a church school so was really feeling the pressure. If I’m completely honest, no one was giving me any additional pressure, it was all pressure that I’d put on myself. I really wanted to be good at this. I didn’t know what to do. I panicked. In the end, I spent a great deal of time trailing the internet, trying to locate some form of to-do list but to no avail. I really was in a jam.
I decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands not only to identify what a Worship lead should be doing but also to have the freedom to create the role myself and sculpt it into something that would be of use to the school. As a means of ensuring that each class had a voice, it was important that there were representatives in every class so at the beginning of the academic year we had a vote. Children nominated themselves for the role, were voted in by their peers and by the end of the week, two Worship Team representatives had been identified for each class.
Initially, we identified the different Christian Values during our weekly meeting and chose one for each term of the year. This helped to create an overall vision for the school and meant that activities for classes or whole school events could be planned around these values.
Each week the Worship Team met to work on the termly planner. The document once completed had the daily Worship plan for the whole school and was saved on the server ready for everyone to access. Having dedicated so much time to creating a curriculum that is meticulously planned to support our cohort and surrounding area, it was important to have this filtering into the whole school Worship as well.
Monday: Whole school worship introducing the weekly theme and focusing on a Big Question led by our school Principal
Tuesday: Class Worship with a Bible story led by the class teacher
Wednesday: Church Worship led by the local church Reverend
Thursday: Class Worship with British Values
Friday: Celebration Assembly led by SLT
Adaptations had to be made due to Covid restrictions. Originally we held the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday worship in our school hall. Tuesday and Thursday were run as Key Stages being led by the Key Stage lead while on Wednesdays we had a weekly visit from the local church Reverend however this past year we have avoided whole school gatherings in the hall. Instead, Key Stage Worships have changed to class-based worships and our Reverend now records her worship via YouTube and sends the link. This worked wonders during lockdown as we were still able to share these YouTube clips with our families for them to all enjoy.
We’ve sculpted the role so that the Worship Team has a series of responsibilities both within their classroom and across the school.
- Plan whole School Collective Worship which are based upon Christian Values and year group Big Questions,
- Write prayers linked to the current Christian Value
- Choose the Bible stories
- Identify the supporting music
During CW whether that be in the hall or since Covid, in the classroom, the Worship team takes it in turns to come to the front and play an active role.
- Open and close worship, lighting the candle and saying the opening address
- Support the adults that are leading worship
- Lead the Lord’s prayer
- Close worship
Within the classroom, the Worship Team also have other responsibilities
- Monitoring the classrooms
- Are the reflection areas complete?
- Do classrooms have a reflection board?
- Is the school Vision display up to date?
- Are the British Value displayed in the classroom?
- Lead the lunchtime prayer
- Lead the end of the day prayer
- Check the RE resources
- Environment walks
- Pupil Voice about whole school Collective Worship
(Pre Covid they would check each classroom across the school but post-Covid they now only check their own classroom.)
Developing the school environment was something that has also been a focus for the Worship Team. A reflective garden had been designed and built within the school grounds and as a way of bringing the school community together, the Worship Team organised for every child to make an outdoor poppy. These poppies were placed within the central cross seating area prior to the garden being blessed by our local church Reverend with the support of the Worship Team. This reflection garden formed the centerpiece of our Remembrance Day celebrations.
With every term that passes, the Worship Team are finding inventive ways of showing ‘Our Value in Action’. When focusing on Generosity we ran a whole school reverse advent where each day in December, children brought in donations for the local food bank. By the end of the term, the Worship Team had collected an extortionate weight of donations from the school community, which was fantastic.
Going forward, I’m aiming to reach a time when the Worship Team are strong enough and feel confident enough in their roles to actually lead the whole school Worship and Class Worship. The triangulation of planning the worship, writing the prayers, choosing the songs, and then running the worship not only brings things together but also embeds the Christian ethos deep into the whole school ethos.
If you’re in the process of setting up a Worship Team in your own setting I really hope you find this helpful.