Middleham: 01969 623592 / Spennithorne: 01969 623474

Church School

Collective Worship

Collective Worship is an important part of daily school life at The Federation of Middleham (VA) & Spennithorne (VC) CE Primary Schools.

Collective Worship Policy

Each term we focus on a different Christian value, chosen by the pupil Collective Worship Leadership Team, to form the basis of our daily worship. We also follow the Church calendar and children learn how the Christian year is marked by festivals such as Christmas, Easter and Pentecost and periods of observance such as Lent.

Each act of worship follows a basic structure of

  • Welcome – welcome words are used each time such that they become familiar to the children. A candle is lit on the worship table.
  • Learning – the theme or Bible Text is introduced. This may be through a poem, a puppet drama, a video or the like.
  • Reflecting – time is spent considering the impact of the day’s theme and children may ask or answer questions. Quiet time and prayer may be used.
  • Responding – as the worship comes to an end, those present are encouraged to consider how they are going to engage with the day’s message and what they might do make a difference in the world either individually or as part of the wider school community.

Children also play a large part in leading collective worship with a ministry appointed who take responsibility for setting the scene (music on, alter pulled out, lights dimmed and calling the other classes to worship), opening the workship with words that all children are familiar with and closing the worship at the end.

Special times of worship – the schools mark the major Christian festivals such as Harvest, Christmas and Easter with a service in their respective parish churches. The annual Welcome Service for Reception children and the Leavers Service for those in Year 6 is also a major milestone.  These services are well attended by the wider community.


The Church of St Mary and St Alkelda

The Church of St Mary and St Alkelda is a Church of England parish church in MiddlehamRichmondshireNorth Yorkshire. The church is a grade I listed building, and it dates from the 13th century.

The church was made a collegiate church in 1477 by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III). The collegiate body consisted of a dean, six chaplains, four clerks and six choristers. The post of dean was replaced by rector in 1840. The church was a Royal Peculiar until 1845.

On 15 February 1967, the church was designated a Grade I listed building.

Today, the church is part of the benefice of “Middleham w Coverdale and E Witton and Thornton St” in the Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven of the Diocese of Leeds.

The parish stands in the Open Evangelical tradition of the Church of England. The benefice has not passed resolutions rejecting the ordination of women.

Harry Topham, clergyman and cricketer, served as rector from 1903 to 1925.

The school enjoys strong links with the church which we value greatly.


We often visit our local church, St Michael and All Angels . It is a beautiful church and we use it for collective worship and many festivals, such as Harvest, Christmas and our special leavers’ service. A brief history

  • The fine tower of Spennithorne church is older than Middleham Castle.Early days
  • There was evidently a church here in Anglo-Saxon times, and there was certainly a church in existence by the time of the Norman Conquest.
  • By 1086 the Anglo-Saxon thegns* had been ousted in favour of a Norman Lord. By the 13th century the Spennithorne Estate had passed to descendants of the Fitz Randolphs who held the land until the 16th century*(Then [thane] in Anglo-Saxon England a lesser nobleman granted land by the King or a higher ranking nobleman)Rebuilt and enlarged
  • By the middle of the 12th century the church had been built and enlarged, with the existing tower probably dating from the 14th century, when the aisles were also widened to their present width. The chancel would also have been rebuilt and extended eastwards to its present length with the vestry being added on the north side.

The church now

  • The structure of the church now is still basically a medieval building of which so much remains in the 21st century.
  •  In the 1970’s and 1980’s Spennithorne church was featured in the BBC television series “All Creatures Great and Small”.
  • A more detailed history and description of St. Michael & All Angel’s Church can be found in a booklet by V. H. H. Green which is held in the church, price 50p.