Senior teacher Jenny Hydes talks to Alan Combes about assembly at Les Quennevais School, Jersey
A mixed 11-16 comprehensive of 64O pupils serving the west of Jersey.
HOW IS ASSEMBLY ORGANISED?
School is divided into three houses, and the main assembly is the house assembly. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, house assembly is in the main hall led by the senior management team. On the other days lower, middle and upper assemblies are held in various venues, led by the head of school responsible for year groups. In Jersey we aren't obliged to hold a daily act of worship.
Assemblies are planned a term in advance by a team of eight staff.
WHO TAKES ASSEMBLY?
Students contribute to approximately one-third of main assemblies. We often have visitors - church leaders, community workers, charity workers - who present or take part in assembly. Recently, a local businessman (who is also a parent) presented slides to illustrate a charity venture he had organised in the Philippines.
HOW DOES ASSEMBLY REFLECT THE SCHOOL'S ETHOS?
Assembly is crucial to emphasising the school's values. We interpret worship in its widest sense as celebrating worth. This means we often celebrate our students' talents and achievements, whether it is in music, dance, drama, sport or raising money for charity. We celebrate other cultures and, from time to time, other religions. No parent has ever asked for their child to be excused.
As part of Jersey's environment week, we invited a marine biologist and an environmentalist to take part in an "Any Questions"-style show. Students had thought out questions in advance and written them down.
The assembly explored environmental issues such as "Why are whelk shells being dumped at a point along the coast, and are they damaging the marine life?" (The answer was: "Yes, they do damage marine life, but the practice has now been stopped.") Global warming and Jersey wildlife were also the subject of questions.
Another time we had a charities assembly based on a TV breakfast programme with two members of staff on stage interviewing all the student charity representatives from each form to find out what good causes they had supported. Video clips from "Children in Need" and the school pop group were also part of this assembly.