Collective Worship

At Branscombe Church of England Primary School the children take part in a daily act of Christian Collective Worship during which we aim to encourage them to define their own beliefs and values. Parents can decide whether their children should take part in the daily act of collective worship in the school and those wishing to withdraw their children should inform the headteacher in writing. We have positive links with the local Church, its clergy and congregation. The school participates in major festivals in church with special services and a regular monthly service which parents and the wider community are invited to.

We conduct acts of Collective Worship in a dignified and respectful way. We tell children that assembly time is a period of calm reflection. We regard it as a special time and expect children to behave in an appropriate way. As children come into Collective Worship calming music is played. We ask children to be quiet and thoughtful and to listen carefully to the teachings and participate fully in prayer and hymns. A candle is lit during these times which is placed on a focus table with other artefacts.

The acts of Collective Worship are based around promoting the teaching of eighteen Christian values - Courage, Trust, Creativity, Justice, Forgiveness, Peace, Humility, Truth, Thankfulness, Compassion, Hope, Friendship, Generosity, Respect and Reverence, Wisdom, Service, Perseverance and Responsibility. One value is focused on each half term over a three year cycle. We believe these values are clearly Christian in nature but are universal in their application. These 'Values for Life' are all based on our Core Christian Value of 'LOVE', which is described in Colossians Ch 3, v12-15 as 'binding all the other values together in perfect unity'. A permanent display in the entrance hall shows how our Christian Value of LOVE links with the other values we consider and our Branscombe Wave Aims.
 
Collective Worship also follows the traditions of the Christian faith and often reflect the festivals and events of the Christian calendar.

Throughout the 'Values for Life' teaching a number of approaches are used:

  • A range of questions are used to help the whole school community reflect on each value,
  • Bible stories that are relevant to the theme
  • Stories from world faiths, which illustrate the value
  • The use of well known children's texts which support the value
  • Interactive displays for children to follow up the discussions in Collective Worship.

There is a display in the school entrance hall which promotes the value currently being taught. The displays always have an interactive element. Children may be encouraged to write poems or draw pictures for the display and may be given opportunities to encourage prayer, e.g. by having outlines of doves to write the subject of a 'peace' prayer, or placing pebbles in a bowl of water once a prayer has been said.

The photographs below show pictures of the displays for the values of Friendship:
The photographs below show pictures of the displays for the values of Creativity and Peace:
The photographs below show pictures of the displays for the value of Thankfulness:
These photos show a display for the value of ‘Wisdom’

These photos show a display for the value of ‘Compassion’

These photos show a display for the value of ‘Justice’

These photos show a display for the value of ‘Hope’

These photos show a display for the value of 'Trust'
Pray, Grow and Serve with Joy
 
Bishop Robert Atwell filmed at Branscombe CE Primary School when he was producing the film to go alongside his new vision for the diocese to pray, grow and serve with joy.

Colyton Church Visit - 21st June 2017

On 21st June 2017, children from the three schools in the Jubilee Federation gathered at St. Andrew’s church in Colyton in attendance of the special interactive exhibition entitled “God @ Work”. This exhibition, which was presented by members of the Holyford Mission Community, celebrated the places in the life and stories of Jesus in a unique way. The church had been transformed using a range of props, artwork and scenery to show scenes from the life and stories of Jesus, such as the temple, the desert, the scene of the Last Supper or the river in which Jesus was baptised. As they made their way around the exhibition, the children were invited to read the relevant stories, relate clues found in special books to the different stories and places and take part in a range of craft activities linked to the stories. The children enjoyed making paper doves, etching crosses, making twizzle sticks showing water turning to wine etc. The children of Branscombe CE Primary School were also able to see their own artwork about the story ‘The Three Trees’ displayed on the pillars of the church. It was wonderful to be reminded of the stories of Jesus and see them brought to life in such an innovative way.

'Thy Kingdom Come' Diocesan Prayer Initiative

As part of their focus on prayer in Collective Worship during the diocese’s “Thy Kingdom Come” project, the children of Branscombe CE Primary School investigated different ways of praying and thinking about prayer. One of the activities undertaken in this period during Collective Worship, was an interactive carousel of activities designed to help them reflect on the lines of the Lord’s Prayer. The children, in silence, were invited to take part in various activities, such as investigating and decorating different names for God; using maps to pray for His will to be done in the world; kneading dough or eating bread while thanking God for His provision of what they need; drawing in baked beans (and then washing it off) to symbolise being cleansed from sin through forgiveness and using glitter bottles to reflect on God’s glory.

In other sessions, the children prayed in different places around the school for all the people, learning and activities associated with different areas. They also prayed using different pieces of classroom equipment to symbolise different items for prayer. Reverend Hilary taught the children how to use a penny to remind them of different things to pray for, such as praying for the world as the shape of a penny is round, praying for leaders and those in authority when they look at the head of the queen, praying for the concerns of today when they look at the date and praying for those who do not have enough, when they consider that the penny is not worth very much.

Copies of the children's prayers and photos of the prayer activities were placed inside the school's Thy Kingdom Come box. Mrs Gray took this to the special Whitsunday service in the Cathedral and placed it on the large map of Devon.

Prayer Buddies
At the Thy Kingdom Come service in the Cathedral Mrs Gray liked the idea of Prayer Buddies that the Bishop talked about. We have now set this up at Branscombe. The children say that they are pleased we set this up. It makes them feel calm and happy.

 

Ethos Group

Our Ethos Team met those from other local schools at Branscombe Church.  The day had a focus on the Christian value of 'Trust'. The vicar of Branscombe Rev. Hilary Dawson, opened the day with an act of worship relating to the value of trust.  The children then worked in groups to take part in a rotation of activities which involved trust games, creative design and drama.

Ethos Group
The Ethos Group met with a focus on the Value of Friendship. The children baked a special friendship cake and created a lovely clay friendship ring.
Ethos Group

The ethos group met again with the focus of considering what is special or distinctive about being a church school and to develop the children’s understanding of the core aims, values and ethos across our three federation schools.

 

The pupils were given copies of our core bible reading ‘Colossians 3, 12-15’ which talks about how Love, our central value, binds all the other values together in perfect unity.

 

This reading is represented in different ways in the entrance hall of Broadhembury, Branscombe and Farway Schools and so the children were also given photographs of these displays and were asked to consider what is the same and different about the aims and ethos of each school. It was lovely to hear the children talking about their beliefs and how they live out the core values in their daily lives.

 

The members of the ethos committee were then asked to consider words and images that they might use to communicate or celebrate the special, distinctive identity of the three schools. The children were then very excited to be given the task of decorating three huge crosses with some of the words and images that they had thought about. Each of the crosses are going to be placed in the outdoor areas of the three schools to create  prayer spaces for the children to reflect in within our beautiful rural settings.

Ethos Group - Spring Term 2018 

On Tuesday 27th March, the Jubilee Federation Ethos team met together at Branscombe school. The focus of this term’s meeting was to develop our understanding of prayer and its place in the life of each of our schools. The children discussed their own views and experiences, explored a range of Bible verses about prayer and learned about different types of prayer. They were introduced to the acronym, ‘STOP and pray’ to help remember prayers of penitence (Sorry), thanksgiving (Thank you), intercession (Others) and petition (Please). Then, the children experimented with different prayer activities, such as prayer dominoes, using play dough to model the things they were thankful or sorry for, using a labyrinth to aid meditation, using a passage of scripture and even using a set of playing cards to guide their prayers. Hopefully, the children in the Ethos team will be sharing some of these ideas with their classmates in next term’s times of Collective Worship.

Ethos Group - Spring 2019 

Early in the Spring term, children from across the Jubilee Federation met at Broadhembury school to take part in an Ethos team meeting, in which they were introduced to Christian Aid’s global neighbours' scheme. The children discussed ways in which they might learn more and deepen their understanding about issues of global poverty and injustice, as well as how they might advocate for the rights of those they learned about. The children, in their school teams, were encouraged to make posters reflecting what they had discussed to take back and share with others in their own schools. As part of the morning, the Ethos team members from around the Federation were also able to take part in the Broadhembury School Eucharist service, led by the Reverend John Hayhoe. 

Following this meeting, the ethos team members from Branscombe school presented their posters to the rest of the school at one of the school’s times of daily Collective worship, explaining what they had learned about Christian Aid and the Global Neighbours scheme. They then presented these posters to the wider school community in the school’s weekly Sharing Assembly.

Child Led Worship

At the end of each Collective Worship topic, we take it in turns to lead an act of collective worship as a class. These pictures show Class 2 sharing the story of the Lonely Crocodile in their class-led Collective Worship at the end of our work on Forgiveness.

This child-led worship shows the children acting out the story of The Unforgiving Servant from Matthew Ch. 18.
The Three Trees Project - Spring Term 2017

During the latter part of the Spring Term, the children of Branscombe CE Primary School learned more about the life of Jesus through a special Collective Worship project based on the story of “The Three Trees”. This story tells of three trees dreaming of their future, one of being a treasure chest, the second dreaming of becoming a tall sailing ship that would carry kings and the third dreaming of being the tallest tree in the world and pointing the way to God. However, when the trees are chopped down, the first is taken to be made into a manger, the second is made into a small fishing boat and the third is left on the woodpile for a time before being made into a cross. Through this story, the children were led, over the course of a couple of weeks, in reflections about the significance of different parts of Jesus’ life and his eventual death and resurrection. Reflective areas were set out around the school and the children were introduced to these one by one. They in turn retold the story and reflected on its meaning in their end of term Easter service which was attended by parents and members of the church / local community.

After Easter, Class 2 did more work on the story as part of their textiles art project and made some collaborative works of art to be displayed in the “God at Work” exhibition at St. Andrews church, Colyton in June. This artwork was based on the work of artist Sue Symons. The children had explored her diptychs using abstract textile pictures and calligraphy in her projects, “Creation” (looked at during ‘Creativity’ Collective Worship theme earlier in the year) and “One Man’s Journey to Heaven”.

 

Crosses

When the Class 2 children were studying an RE topic about Christian Signs and Symbols one of the pupils suggested that we make some symbols to have around the school and also to use on our focus table during Collective Worship.  The children each made a symbol in clay and also worked in teams to decorate a wooden cross.  One clay artefact is used each day in Collective Worship and there is now a cross hanging in each room of the school.  Our Diocesan Education Adviser, Mrs Tatiana Wilson, visited the school to look at the children’s work.

Shelterbox

When we were thinking about the value of Trust there was the terrible earthquake in Japan.  At the time the children sent some money to the charity Shelterbox from the school Community Fund because we were talking about who people can trust to help them when life is difficult.  Later in the term a representative from Shelterbox came to visit the school to thank the children for the donation and to show them what an actual shelterbox looks like and what is inside.  We received a lovely e mail from him which is shared below:

 

"Please give my thanks to all the children for listening and joining in so well when I came to the school on Wednesday morning to speak about Shelterbox.  I really enjoyed my visit and was so impressed by the interest shown and by the number of relevant questions asked by the children.  The children present all seemed very happy and content and that must of course reflect on the care and attention they receive from you and the school's staff.  Thank you for your support for Shelterbox which really is appreciated.

With kindest wishes to you, other members of your team and most importantly to all of the children."

For more information about Collective Worship at Branscombe please see our school policy on the Policy Page in this website.

The Value of Compassion  

As part of this term’s “Compassion” theme in Collective Worship, the children of Branscombe C of E Primary school have been encouraged to consider how they might pray for the needs of others. Echoing the prayer boxes made in last year’s “Thy Kingdom Come” diocesan prayer project, some of the children have created special prayer boxes in which they can keep prayers they have written. As the term progresses, the children will be challenged to consider other ways in which they might show compassion for others, such as by sharing what they have, donating to charity or undertaking a fundraising project.

Consecration of New Burial Ground
Many of the children in Class 2 attended a very special service at St. Winifred's Church, to celebrate the consecration of a new area of burial ground. The children walked around this new land with Bishop Sarah, of Crediton, while the congregation read from the book of Psalms. Following the service, the children also helped to plant daffodils, around the perimeter of this land. It was a privilege to be included and it was very interesting to see what happens at this kind of service.
International Cross of Nails School
 

In September 2018 we were thrilled that Emma Griffiths (Associate Director of Reconciliation from Coventry Cathedral) visited Branscombe and Broadhembury CE Primary Schools, to present us with our own Cross of Nails and welcome us into the International Cross of Nails Community. 

 

On the night of 14th November, 1940, Coventry and its Cathedral endured a relentless bombing campaign. In the days that followed, two enduring symbols emerged from the rubble: two charred roof-beams which had fallen in the shape of a cross were bound and placed at the site of the ruined altar, and three medieval roof nails were also formed into a cross, which became the original Cross of Nails which is now located at the High Altar in the new Cathedral. Shortly afterwards, the words ‘Father Forgive’ were inscribed on the wall of the ruined chancel, and Provost Dick Howard made a commitment not to seek revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible. 

 

The Cross of Nails quickly became a sign of friendship and hope in the post war years, especially in new relationships with Germany. Many crosses were gifted, in thanks and in friendship, to contacts all over the world. By 1974 such informal friendships were numerous, and they were all drawn into a brand new Community of the Cross of Nails, which has continued to grow globally to this day. International Cross of Nails Schools (ICONS) is a network of schools that are part of this community. All members adhere to the three guiding principles of the Community of the Cross of Nails: Healing the wounds of history, Learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity, and Building a culture of peace. 

 

I have known about Coventry Cathedral for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl my mother often talked about a project she had to research when she was at teacher training college. She visited the cathedral herself and was clearly very moved by the atmosphere and symbolism both in the ruins of the old Cathedral bombed in World War Two and the newer cathedral. 

 

And so, when I heard many years later at an Exeter Diocesan Education Conference about the ‘International Cross of Nails Schools’, I felt very inspired to involve the village schools that I am Executive Headteacher of. 

 

When putting together our application it was lovely to think back over all the things we have done at school over a number of years which link to the three key Coventry values of peace, justice and reconciliation. The core biblical text that we use across our federation of schools is from Colossians. It talks about how love binds together all the other values. Throughout the school year, as we talk about values, such as those linked to the Cross of Nails, we also focus on how love helps us to carry out these other values in our daily lives. 

 

At Branscombe we have developed our own spirituality garden area where children and staff can go to pray or have some time of calm. We have a federation ethos team which created a large wooden cross as a focal point for our garden. 

 

We have considered the Exeter Diocesan vision of ‘Pray, Grow, Serve with Joy’ – by developing prayer buddies and taking part in national church initiatives such as ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ at Pentecost. 

 

We had a project where each child designed a postcard to show how they live out the values we focus on. They painted a picture for the front of the card and wrote a prayer for the back. Also on the postcard is the Colossians Bible Reading that we use to link all the values together. Seven postcards were chosen to be printed and these are now placed in our federation churches for parishioners and visitors to take and reflect upon. 

 

We annually lead an act of remembrance and ensure that we regularly consider the needs of victims of conflict both in the past and the present day. 

 

We encourage pupils to consider the beliefs of those from other faiths and those who have no faith. We have taken children to visit different places of worship in Exeter. 

 

Our daily worship ends with the singing of ‘Shalom’ and our Good Samaritan PSHE reward scheme encourages pupils to think of the needs of others and to help in different ways. Recently the children have helped local food banks and supported charities at home and abroad. 

 

The presentation service, which was attended by the school and village communities and the Exeter Diocesan Director of Education, had a clear message of peace and reconciliation. Following a lively talk from Emma and the presentation of the cross, we all said the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation together. We will continue to say this in school on a regular basis and I have included it here. Thank you to everyone who has supported this project in the last few years and to those who joined us in Church for this very special occasion. 

 

The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation 

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class, 

Father Forgive. 

The selfishness of people and nations to possess what is not their own, 

Father Forgive. 

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth, 

Father Forgive. 

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others, 

Father Forgive. 

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless and the refugee, 

Father Forgive. 

Anything which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children, 

Father Forgive. 

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God, 

Father Forgive. 

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. 

Amen. 

 

Mrs Katie Gray (Executive Headteacher)

International Community of the Cross of Nails Visitor 

 

It was lovely to receive a visitor from Coventry Cathedral on the first Wednesday of the Summer term, who reviewed with the children the link that we have with the Cathedral through the school's membership of the International Community of the Cross of Nails.The visitor, Jennifer, reminded the children of the story of the Cathedral's destruction in 1940 and talked about the rebuilding of the cathedral, comparing it to a phoenix rising from the ashes.

 

She read the children a beautiful story book written by Desmond Tutu, called 'God's Dream', which contains the thought that, "Each of us carries a piece of God's heart within us. And when we love each other, the pieces of God's heart are made whole."

 

Then she talked to the children about reconciliation and encouraged them to be 'bridge builders' in their relationships.

 

Jennifer's visit to Branscombe school was one of several visits to International Cross of Nails (ICON) schools in the area, as she is hoping to support these schools, which include both primary and secondary schools, in building a local 'hub' through which we are able to support and encourage one another in promoting the ICON values of peace, justice and reconciliation.

Cathedral Pilgrim Day

 

On Tuesday 25th June 2019, the children from year 4, 5 and 6 attended a special ‘Pilgrim’ day at Exeter Cathedral. Along with children from Broadhembury and Farway as well as another local primary school, the children took part in a range of activities around the theme of pilgrimage. Following an introductory service in the choir stalls, children dispersed in 6 groups to different parts of the Cathedral complex and surrounding area to take part in different workshops. There were a range of workshops, from touring the Cathedral dressed up in the robes of a medieval pilgrim, to making ‘shrinkies’ based on pilgrim motifs and symbols, to exploring books on the theme of journeys, some of which were several hundred years old. Each of the children took part in two different workshops, but these varied from group to group. A highlight for several of the groups was visiting St. Nicholas’ Priory, while others enjoyed making special pilgrim boxes, in which they wrote and stored encouraging verses or prayers to cheer them on their way. Some of the children were able to visit the Devon and Exeter Institute library, while others explored the Cathedral’s own collection of ancient books in the Cloisters. Finally, after a picnic lunch in the sunshine on Cathedral Green, the group congregated once more in the choir stalls of the Cathedral for a worship service to conclude the day. AS part of this worship, each of the participating schools were awarded a certificate and a special Pilgrim candle to take back to school.

 

Following the visit, Mrs Gray was delighted to receive a phone call from the Diocesan Director, complimenting the pupils of the Jubilee Federation on their excellent behaviour and enthusiasm during this special day. 

Thy Kingdom Come 2019
 

For a number of years the schools in the Jubilee Federation have taken part in 'Thy Kingdom Come' at Pentecost.

 

This year we were delighted to be asked by the diocese to host a prayer corner in the Cathedral during the celebration service at the end of  the Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative. 

 

Miss Moss designed several activities that the children in her class helped her to set up and we placed them in St James' chapel in the Cathedral.

 

Four different prayer activities were set up, based on the theme 'Fields of Gold' from Matthew 13:44-46. 

 

The first activity was a Treasure Hunt. There was a large tray of sawdust with hidden cardboard pearls in it which had verses written onto them about how God loves us. The congregation found a pearl and reflected on the verse and the treasure God has given us. 

 

The second activity involved writing prayers for the people you wish to share the treasure of God's love with. Then these were placed in a special treasure box.

 

The next activity was based on the verse

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 

2 Corinthians 4:7

Little clay pots were decorated and a small bead placed in it to represent the treasure of the kingdom.

 

Finally there were some pieces of water-soluble paper that you could write the things you need to surrender to God on. These were then placed in a bottle of water and shaken to watch them disappear.

 

The activities were very well received by the congregation at the service and were also enjoyed by the children during their times of Collective Worship.