School assemblies can be effective, but are often a nightmare for teachers and a yawn for the children. Yet more and more is expected of them. No wonder there is such a demand for fresh and stimulating off-the-shelf material.
Of these two offerings, Assembly Solutions comes from the well-tried Heinemann assembly resources stable. The A4 pack contains 62 secondary-level assemblies grouped into six broad categories (they include Making Waves, Building Bridges and Search for Meaning) and scripted for up to six readers, performers or placard holders. The stories are punchy and draw on a variety of faiths and backgrounds. Sensibly, they assume both a degree of preparation and - importantly - of feedback.
Shared Values is slightly different. Seventy-two assembly stories, clearly targeted over the key stage 2 to post-16 age range, are set squarely in the context of collective, spiritual and moral values - and in a very helpful introduction, the crucial distinctions are clearly made. Indeed, schools considering how best to formulate and transmit their values statement will find the introduction just as valuable as the unhackneyed stories and the themes for reflection they contain.