By Lianne Kolirin
Schoolchildren stuck at home during lockdown will be invited to join a special assembly on Thursday held by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby will livestream a message of hope during the inaugural assembly for the Oak National Academy, an online “school” that launched last week as a resource for teachers, parents and children during lockdown.
Also appearing on what is expected to be the country’s biggest school assembly will be the education secretary, Gavin Williamson. The assembly will be livestreamed at 10am on the TES website, after which it will be hosted online by the Oak.
Backed by the Department for Education, the online “school” launched on the first day of the summer term with the aim of offering 180 lessons a week. The plan is for assemblies to be delivered by a host of well-known figures who can offer messages of hope and support, as well as practical advice.
The archbishop’s recorded address draws on the words of Nelson Mandela, as well as his own experiences.
He will say: “It’s wonderful that this academy is growing and exists in these dark times, it’s a place of light and of commitment to the future. I suspect this year 2020 will stick in the mind for many reasons and there are lots of things that you will be going through. What do we do with that?
“For Christians, it’s all summed up in a word ‘hope’ . . . hope means the certain expectation of something you don’t have yet but you will have in the future because it’s been promised by God. Hope is hope of life, hope of purpose, hope of peace, hope of justice, equality and a good future.”
The Church of England is also partnering with Oak National Academy to provide separate weekly collective worship sessions led by schools, which will be accessible to those of all faiths and none.
Matt Hood, principal of Oak National Academy, said: “I’m delighted that our inaugural assembly will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury. His message of hope is an important one for young people of all ages, of all faiths and none.”
The Church of England Communications Team, 020 7898 1326, firstname.lastname@example.org
TES newsdesk, 020 3194 3000, email@example.com
Factsheet By Dilwyn Hunt @Dilwyn_Hunt on collective worship