From the Revd Ronni Lamont
Sir, — I wonder if Oenone Williams (Diary, 1 June) should take the advice contained in the heading to her item about school assemblies (“Assemble the facts”).
Previous governments have legislated that every school in the country hold a daily act of worship: “Since the 1944 Education Act, re-enacted in all subsequent Education Acts, there has been a statutory requirement that all maintained schools must provide a daily act of collective worship for all registered pupils, unless they have been withdrawn by their parents. . . Collective Worship must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.”
This requirement is taken seriously. OFSTED inspectors assess collective worship, and, of course, for church schools, this forms a focus of their SIAS inspection. The website that I edit, www.assemblies.org.uk, provides such assemblies, and is widely used.
Our assemblies all feature a time for reflection and a prayer. We also include a hymn or song, or music suggestion for secondary students, and most assemblies are themed around the “golden rule”. All our assemblies are rooted in Christian values. Many explore specifically Christian stories and themes.
We know that a huge number of schools (and clergy) download assemblies each month, and value the website very highly. Our data suggests that, in some months, the majority of schools in England and Wales use the site.
We don’t, as yet, have an assembly on recycling egg boxes, although we do feature turning off lights, set in the context of our endeavour to teach good stewardship of the world’s resources.
So, the school assembly is alive and well, and skilled professionals in the classroom work hard to keep it so. Rumours of its demise are somewhat premature.
86 Ufton Lane
Sittingbourne ME10 1EX