Collective worship at St Aidan’s takes several different forms but is integral to the daily experience of all pupils.
At Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils attend a formal year group assembly twice weekly where a team of staff and pupils lead a song, prayers and a short reflection. At Key Stage 5, students meet as a year group once a week and in smaller tutorial groups for discussion and reflection. In assembly, pupils are encouraged to celebrate each other’s achievements, to reflect on personal values and responsibilities and to develop their understanding of Christian teachings and beliefs.
The themes for Collective Worship are planned in advance for each week of the school year. They are linked to our PSHE schedule and to Thoughts for the Day which is the programme of Collective Worship undertaken during form periods. Discussion questions, photographs, quotations, quizzes, news stories, parables, Bible passages, anecdotes and related video clips are used to stimulate class reflection on the week’s theme. These topics are increasingly diverse, addressing subjects of local, national or global significance, beliefs and practices of different faiths as well as key events in the Christian calendar.
All pupils are invited to attend services of Morning Prayer or Holy Communion at least once each term. These services in the Chapel are led by a team of clergy and youth workers from across the local area supported by the lay chaplain.
The school community comes together several times a year to celebrate major Christian festivals including Harvest and Christmas. The Harvest Festival, Christingle Service, Carol Service and Celebration of Commitment to the Christian Faith are annual celebrations to which families and friends of St Aidan’s pupils and staff are always warmly invited. In addition, we mark the start of Lent (where it occurs during the school term) and the beginning and end of the year with staff and student Eucharist.
Members of our Associated Sixth Form come together for three ecumenical services each year: at Christmas, Easter and on the last day of Year 13. Students and staff from both St Aidan’s and St John Fisher plan and contribute to the leading of these events which are, therefore, intended also as a celebration of our commitment to interdenominational partnership.
Extra-curricular clubs and faith nurture groups
We currently offer two lunch time clubs for different age groups in school.
Led by youth workers from local churches and the lay chaplain, 10:10 is a club for students in Years 7-9. As well as eating together and playing games, we take time to reflect on big life questions and ways in which we can help ourselves and each other to experience ‘life in all its fullness’.
Rooted is a lunch time group for Years 10 to 13. Set up and led by members of the sixth form with the support of the school chaplain, it offers friendship and encouragement for Christian students and for those interested in finding out more about the Christian faith.
Chapel Away Weekend
At the end of September pupils in Years 8-13 are invited to join us for the Chapel Away Weekend. This residential retreat to Marrick Priory in the Yorkshire Dales runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and offers a programme of team games, prayer, worship and personal reflection as well as outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, night walking, climbing and the infamous leap of faith. The popularity of the trip is evidenced in the fact many pupils attending have come along year on year but there’s always room for more!