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Fierté Multi-Academy Trust

Our Family of Schools

Religious Education and Collective Worship

All schools must provide religious education (this means learning about and from religions, not learning to be religious) and what is still referred to as an act of daily ‘collective worship’ that promotes pupils spiritual, moral, and cultural development.

Religious Education.

Our RE matches the Staffordshire locally agreed syllabus (here). RE is multifaith and recognises the place of Christianity and the other principal religions in the UK. Non-religious world views are included. Our long-term plan includes Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and stories or lessons from across all faiths (and none).

In September 2023, 38.6% of our pupils are recorded as having ‘no religion’. Those who identify as ‘Christian’ represent 35.8%. We also have Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam represented in school. 24.1% of parents did not specify anything in the section.

Collective Worship.

Government guidance to schools makes it clear (here) that the set of shared values which a school promotes play an important part in pupils’ spiritual, moral, and cultural development. Our rules, for example, are underpinned by what many call the ‘Golden Rule’ – treat others as you’d wish to be treated. You can find versions of this concept in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and most of the other major world religions. In secular society, it very much underpins the rule of law.

Our school values (which we call virtues) are these:

Dosthill Virtues include:



  • autonomy, creativity, critical thinking, curiosity, focus, reasoning, reflection, resourcefulness, wisdom…
  • caring, compassion, courage, kindness & empathy, fairness, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, honesty, humility, integrity, justice, patience, respect, self-discipline, tolerance…



  • citizenship, civility, community awareness, friendliness, neighbourliness, service, volunteering, democracy… 
  • ambition, confidence, determination, leadership, motivation, perseverance, resilience, teamwork…


Our current focus for 2023 and 2024:




  • Being eager to know or learn something new 


  • Telling the truth and being sincere 


  • Being able to create and use imagination  


  • Being friendly, generous, and considerate  




  • Being polite and courteous in behaviour and speech 


  • Being able to recover quickly from struggles and setbacks 


  • The quality of being kind, thoughtful, or affectionate towards another person   


  • Having a strong desire to want to achieve something or reach a certain goal 


Our assemblies often cover these virtues (alongside the ‘British Values’ of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect, and tolerance).

An assembly is not an act of collective worship in its entirety. In large group assemblies, it may form a separate element – allowing time for staff and pupils to leave the room if they do not participate. In others, the act of collective worship can be related to the day-to-day life, aspirations, and concerns of the school and is woven through the assembly. This may include learning about interesting cultural traditions and their meaning, listening to stories with a moral message and reflecting on themes such as neighbourliness, courage, or humility. Collective worship should draw pupils’ attention to the values the school wishes to develop both as a body and in everyone. Collective worship is about the growth of the person, their character and social outlook, whatever their academic aptitudes.

Each pupil must ‘take part’ in a daily act of collective worship unless they have been withdrawn by their parents. Taking part does mean more than passive attendance – the act should generally elicit a response from pupils. That response could simply be a personal reflection, including where the pupil may not feel able to actively identify with the act of worship.

‘Worship’ is not defined in legislation, but in schools it should reflect something special or separate from ordinary school activities. It is, however, concerned with ‘reverence or veneration paid to a divine being or power.’

Although worship in schools is of a different character from worship amongst a group with beliefs in common, legislation states it must be mainly Christian in character. We reflect the religious and non-religious backgrounds represented in our community as well, but much of the provision must still be "broadly Christian".

However, collective worship shouldn't:

  • Alienate pupils who don't come from Christian families.
  • Focus on one Christian denomination, for example, Catholicism.

Technically, only 51% of school days each term need to have an act of worship of a broadly Christian character.

The right to withdraw from RE and/or collective worship.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education and/or collective worship. Parents are not obliged to state reasons for seeking withdrawal. Withdrawal could mean physically leaving a room or remaining physically but not taking part. The school continues to be responsible for the supervision of any pupil physically withdrawn by their parent from RE or collective worship.

At Dosthill, we find it helpful to avoid misunderstanding if we can establish:

  • The elements of worship in which the parent would object to the child taking part.
  • The practical implications of withdrawal.
  • Whether the parent will require advanced notice of such worship.

Therefore, requests for withdrawal should be made in writing first (by letter or email) and then followed up by the school (in writing or in person) as required.

The right of staff to withdraw from collective worship.

A headteacher has the right to withdraw from an act of daily collective worship, but still has a duty to organise it.

Teachers, Teaching Assistants, and other staff have the right to withdraw from leading or attending an act of collective worship.

What is the law?

The most recent legal statement of the requirements for collective worship (as distinct from assembly) are contained in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. These build on similar requirements in Section 346 of the Education Act 1996, the Education Reform Act 1988, and Section 25 of the 1944 Education Act, where the law on compulsory collective worship began. Section 70 of the 1998 Act states that, subject to the parental right of excusal or other special arrangements, “…each pupil in attendance at a community, foundation or voluntary school shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship.

Schedule 20 to the 1998 Act gives more detailed information on the worship requirements. It notes the different practical arrangements that are allowed: “a single act of worship for all pupils or separate acts of worship for pupils in different age groups or in different school groups.” A “school group” is defined as “any group in which pupils are taught or take part in other school activities”.

The law is clarified by non-statutory guidance in the Department for Education’s Circular 1/94 

Exemptions are covered by Section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.