What is Collective Worship?

All state schools (Primary, Secondary and Special), are required by law to provide daily collective worship for all pupils, including those in Reception and post-16 provision. The Education Reform Act (1988) and DfEE Circular 1/94 state that collective worship should be:
  • Daily
  • Broadly Christian in character
  • Allow individual worship of a supreme being
  • Accord special status to the person of Jesus Christ
  • Encourage participation by the children
  • All children should attend

Collective Worship is different from Corporate Worship. In Corporate Worship a group of people with a similar faith meet together in a special building to join in the same act of worship. Collective Worship however usually takes place in the school building, either in an assembly or in a daily gathering of the pupils in one class.

Collective Worship is also different from RE: RE has to follow an Agreed Syllabus, including teaching on different faiths, Collective Worship does not; RE does not have to be a daily event, but Collective Worship does.

Guidelines to Ofsted Inspectors (Inspecting Subjects 3-11: Guidance for Inspectors and Schools. Ofsted, 2000) suggest that RE and Collective Worship should be inspected separately as they are governed by different guidance. In recent advice (Update 42), Inspectors were advised that a failure to provide a daily act of collective worship was a significant breach of statute and since one of the duties of the governing body is to ensure that the school meets its statutory obligations, this has led to governance being judged “unsatisfactory” in schools where the assembly does not include a daily act of collective worship.

To find out more about Fishy Music CD projects for Collective Worship, click on Five Little Fingers

Further legal guidance can be found in:
Education Reform Act 1988, Part I, Chapter I, Sections 6-7.
Education Act 1996, Part V, Chapter III, Sections 385-388.
School Standards and Framework Act 1998, Part II, Chapter VI, Sections 70 and 71 and also Schedule 20.
Religious Education and Collective Worship, DFE Circular 1/94, paras 50, 57 and 63.