Our school’s vision statement begins by saying: “Our school is a spiritually vibrant learning community”.
There are many ways in which we live out this ‘spiritual vibrancy’ and where better to show that than in our Collective Worship. Our Christian Ethos is based on the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ as described in Galatians 5 verses 22-23:
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The children are encouraged to celebrate these fruits when they see them in each other. Each class has a ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ tree displayed and children understand them and chat freely about them.
As a Church School, as well as regular Ofsted inspections, we also undergo the National Society’s Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). When last inspected we were deemed ‘outstanding’.
What do we mean by Collective Worship?
As a Church of England School, Collective Worship (CW) is valued as a central part of the daily life of the school, when the whole school family is invited to come together for an act of worship which is presented in many different forms. It lasts around 15-20 minutes and usually includes some simple Anglican liturgy, a song, a thought for the day, a prayer and an opportunity for reflection. Our acts of worship have a Christian focus, especially on the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ. Children and adults of all faiths and non should feel able to participate and respond in their own ways.
We follow a termly theme which is often linked to our whole school theme for the curriculum, e.g. Autumn 2019 Curriculum theme – Long, Long ago CW theme – “Footsteps on the sands of time were not made by sitting down”
Due to the size of our school, CW takes place in both halls, mostly in chapters, but with opportunities for crossover of chapters, e.g in house groups, or paired class sessions. Staff are encouraged to lead CW for all Chapters.
Worship is ecumenical, bringing many different Christian traditions and leader together, and it is inclusive. Prayers are said in class before lunch and at the end of the day.
As well as staff, who else leads our Collective Worship?
At Bluecoat, we are blessed with a strong team of regular visitors from local churches who lead our Wednesday CW sessions. These visitors include members of the various local churches, clergy, governors, youth workers, and parents. We are very grateful for the commitment of these visitors to our school.
As well as these regular visitors, Bluecoat’s door is always open to other visitors from near and far.
What is the Collective Worship Focus Group?
As Collective Worship is for the whole school community, we want to involved the children as much as possible. For several years now at the start of each year, classes choose one person from each class to represent them on our CW Focus Group. This is led by our school’s CW Coordinator who is often accompanied by one of the foundation governors.
During the group meetings, they discuss a variety of topics such as our CW programme, church services, ways that children can be more involved in taking part in CW, ideas for highlighting CW, Religious Education and spirituality in general throughout the school.
The group is often asked to meet with visitors to the school such as members for the Exeter Diocese and inspectors. They will also be called on to have conversations about their learning with governors or the Senior Leadership of the school.
Some of their duties as a group involve setting up the hall for CW, leading simple liturgical parts of the programme, saying prayers, playing a part in our special services.
Do we get out and about in the Community?
Definitely! The children are encouraged to be active members of the local community and the wider global community, as individuals and as a school.
From a Collective Worship point of view, the children are highly praised at various events in the town.
What about special services and events in the school calendar?
In January, we hold a Toy service to mark Epiphany. Children are encouraged to bring an unwanted toy that is in good condition. These toys are given to Mags Zaharia who then sends them to Little John’s House and it’s local schools in Romania.
Our Easter services are lively celebrations of the life of Jesus.
In July we hold our End of year services in St Michael’s Church. At our Chapter 2 service we are always very grateful for the Bibles present to Year 2 children from Torrington Baptist Church.
Our Harvest service always results in a colourful display of food which is then given to the food bank. Perishable food is taken to local care homes when Year 1 and 2 classes go to visit.
Our Remembrance service is always a poignant reminder of those who gave their lives in war and those who are still involved in our armed services today.
As with many schools, Christmas is probably the busiest time of year with lots of special events happening.
Any other Collective Worship events?
- Celebrations of Learning
- Collective Worship in Forest School
- World Book Day
- Being a global school
- Class Collective Worship
Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Development
As a Church of England school with Voluntary Controlled status, Religion and World Views (formerly RE) follows the Devon Agreed Syllabus and is non-denominational.
We have daily acts of worship, which are Christian-based and led by staff, governors, clergy and other visitors from local churches. On special occasions we worship at St Michael’s And All Angels, our local parish church.
Although parents have the right to withdraw their child from Collective Worship and Religion & World Views, it is hoped that our positive approach to these aspects of our school life will put you at ease about your child’s involvement. If necessary, please discuss this with either your child’s class teacher or the Headteacher. If you do decide to withdraw your child from these activities please confirm your decision in writing. We would be happy to discuss any aspects of Religion & World Views, or any other subjects with you.
What does the Ethos Group do?
The Ethos group was set up as a means of measuring the ‘spiritual vibrancy’ of the school. The group comprises of representatives of the senior Leadership team, teachers, governors and the CW/RE coordinator. The group seeks to
- be fully integrated into the school and the governing body and not to be a separate group that only deals with the spiritual side of the school’s development.
- ensure that CW and RE are integrated through the school improvement plan.
- think about how links are made to the community locally and globally eg through the churches, Exeter Diocese, school council, special events.
- make strong links to SMSC within the school.