Good morning, everyone

The school assembly: now online and publicly available

What do you remember about your school assemblies?

For me, it’s sitting cross-legged on a hard floor, eyeing up the benches that were a ‘luxury’ reserved for the year sixes, singing songs displayed on an ancient overhead projector and limping out of the hall half an hour later while trying to fight off pins and needles.

While I remember these, mostly physical, sensations associated with the school assembly, I cannot recall the topics or words spoken at any of these events.

But that could be about to change for today’s school-goers. As learning shifted online back in March, so did the assembly. Whilst halls stood silently, heads turned to technology to record the usual start of week messages and publish them online for all to see.

A particularly moving example of this new phenomenon happened recently when the headmaster of St Dunstan’s College in Somerset used an online assembly to tell pupils he is gay. He made the announcement to kick off the school’s LGBTQ+ week and encouraged pupils, who were to take part in activities and talks around sexuality that week, to have the courage to be themselves.

The head even remarked on social media that he would consider always broadcasting assemblies in the future, in order to share important messages about the school’s values with the wider community.

Making the assembly an online product means schools can get more creative. You can include upbeat music, footage of the school campus, inspirational messages and student performances, for example.

And they don’t need to be long. With most online assemblies lasting no longer than 15 minutes, it’s just enough time to bring the community together and feel connected.

Which is what we like to do here at Wildfire, with our regular online team meetings. It’s a great way to share stories, discuss ideas, issues and even the weekend’s TV.

So, if you want to ask someone in 20 years’ time what they remember about their school assemblies, you needn’t bother, it’s all on YouTube. And actually, they’re a good watch.