Legal position

Collective Worship is a central part of the distinctive character of Church schools, however it is still subject to legal requirements.

All registered pupils (apart from those whose parents exercise the right to withdrawal or pupils themselves if over the age of 18) must on "each school day take part in an act of Collective Worship."

In Church schools the daily act of Collective Worship should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Deed of the school and the Ethos Statement in the Instrument of Government or, where it is not stated within the Trust Deed, should be consistent with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England.

Pupils can be grouped in various ways: as a whole school, according to age, or in groups (or a combination of groups) used by the school at other times. Pupils cannot be put into specific groups just for Collective Worship.

The daily act of Collective Worship will normally take place on the school premises. Schools are, however, permitted to hold their acts of Collective Worship elsewhere, (e.g. the local parish church) on special occasions.

The provisions of the 1988 Education Act concerning ‘determination’ (section 12) and ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’ (section 7) do not apply to schools with a religious character.

Responsibility for the oversight of Collective Worship rests with the governors in consultation with the headteacher.  Foundation governors have a particular responsibility to ensure that the character or foundation of the school is reflected in Collective Worship.

Collective Worship is not designated curriculum time under law and should not be subsumed under any part of the curriculum. The act of Collective Worship must be distinctive and identifiable if it is to meet the legal requirements.

Since collective worship is not to be counted as curriculum time, PPA time should not include or overlap Collective Worship. Collective Worship time should not be used as ‘intervention time’ as this would result in pupils not receiving their legal entitlement to worship provision.

The school’s arrangements for Collective Worship and the rights of parents to withdraw their children should be clearly outlined in the school prospectus.

For more details please see the relevant sections of the Diocesan Guidelines for Collective Worship.

 

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