How to…lead a school assembly

Like everything else, school assemblies have really changed since we were at school (well, yes, in some cases they may be frozen in time, but it’s almost definitely a lost opportunity if they are!) If you’re a chaplain who's only starting to get to know your local school, you definitely want to find out their current practice – and if you’re going to be helping lead an assembly, ask what they do (and don’t) want from you.

But there are also some good articles to read like

The Schoolswork website has some good practical advice at - but do remember that we don’t have “Acts of Worship” in Scottish schools, so jump over that section.

And type in Assemblies to our Resources search engine, for lots of great ideas.

Three final points that are well worth remembering:

1. The best assemblies are definitely integrated with what is happening in the classroom: they either

- help to draw together a theme that pupils have been exploring in their lessons (often by drawing out specific spiritual or moral dimensions to the topic they might not otherwise have covered)

- or equally they introduce a theme which will then be explored in the classroom in subsequent weeks

- this definitely needs the chaplain to discuss and plan assemblies with key staff members well in advance. Of course, carving out time for planning is never easy, but the dividends are enormous.

C.3.4 P12. The more a chaplain can act as facilitator, the better. Curriculum for Excellence expects children and young people to take responsibility and to develop confidence and leadership, and there is no better place to do this than in helping to plan and lead assemblies. For a Chaplaincy team approach that involves committed pupils, teachers and chaplains working together long-term, see Anytown School Chaplaincy Policy.

3. While the traditional role of the chaplain was leading school assemblies, both primary and secondary schools are increasingly encouraging more flexible patterns of the classroom, in extra-curricular activities, in half-day conferences etc. There are numerous ideas throughout this website on how to develop these approaches.

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