Inglis, Kathryn Lesley Carmella (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study is practitioner led research into collective worship in secondary, non-denominational, mixed state schools in England. It focuses upon a number of key questions: what are the functions of collective worship in the twenty first century? What were the functions of collective worship in the previous two centuries? How is it possible to explain why successive governments have not reworked the law on collective worship in non-denominational state schools? What is the future of collective worship?
This research begins by identifying the issues underpinning the practice of collective worship, for example its history and the philosophical, sociological and spiritual aspects of it. These are then addressed in the two literature chapters – the first taking an historical approach tracing the legislation and the second exploring other angles but including an overview of collective worship in the light of Wright Mills’ (1959) analytical framework.
The methodological approach is qualitative using a combination of surveys, case study schools and a reflective journal. What emerges is a picture of teachers leading assemblies which hinge on what they consider to be a common morality, not necessarily religious and strong evidence of an ignoring of the ‘Christian worship’ dimension of the current legislation. Reasons for teachers’ non-compliance with the law, range from pupils’ largely secular backgrounds to compulsory worship not being intrinsically educational.
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