Pick your own school assembly on the Net

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The Independent Online

The church of England is offering free off-the-peg assemblies to teachers on subjects ranging from St Valentine to the arms trade.

The church of England is offering free off-the-peg assemblies to teachers on subjects ranging from St Valentine to the arms trade.

A church website providing suggestions for an assembly a week has been set up after complaints from teachers that, in a secular age, schools are finding it increasing difficult to comply with the law that there must be a daily act of worship. Heads are campaigning for a change in the law. They say fewer teachers are prepared to conduct acts of worship.

The website offers detailed advice on Bible readings, topical references and suitable music. For Valentine's day in primary schools, it suggests holding up a large Valentine card while playing a pop song about love. Teachers could talk about St Valentine - his history is obscure but he is thought to be a Christian martyr from the third century - and the fact that Valentine's Day cards are not signed, leading on to the mystery of where love comes from.

For secondary schools, the site proposes an assembly on the arms trade with a flip chart announcing an arms deal of £763m. The teacher could point out how many hospitals could be bought for that and what the Old Testament prophets had to say about social justice.

Next week's suggested topic for secondary schools is Dame Cicely Saunders, a pioneer of the hospice movement.

Liz Paver, head of Intake first school, Doncaster, and a member of the Archbishop's Council, said: "I should like to see a change in the law so that headteachers don't have to deliver acts of worship which they don't feel comfortable about. Until that happens, we need to improve the quality of what is on offer. This website will help."

The site can be found at www.natsoc.org.uk and at www.culham.ac.uk.

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