If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a fun school assembly/act of Collective Worship, then Open the Book (OtB) is for you. And we’re not just a one-off – our storytelling teams of volunteers could be in your primary school assemblies every week. It won’t take long for the kids to look forward to these times.
OtB is a valuable resource – providing a strong, consistent and on-going feature for assembly / acts of collective worship times. Teachers can link the Bible stories through to Religious Education lessons.
This material is not intended to be used by school professionals as a resource book for assemblies. Churches are willing to offer this as a free service to schools.
OtB has been favourably received by OFSTED, ESTYN and SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) and helps primary schools in meeting their statutory collective worship obligations under the 1998 Schools Standards & Framework Act. OtB is available to primary schools in England, Wales and the Isle of Man where volunteers operate, at no cost, and with no other commitment beyond the time it takes a team to present a 10–15 minute Bible story regularly – weekly, fortnightly, monthly or half termly OtB is part of Bible Society – and information is only shared with Bible Society family or OtB partnership organisations e.g. Diocese links.
Our volunteer teams will need to have reasonable access to the place where the stories are to be presented, so that they can have a sufficient time to prepare. Our aim is to purely share Bible stories to children – there is no commercial agenda to our work.
We take safeguarding seriously and all our Storytellers adhere to our Code of Practice, Code of Conduct and other Safeguarding guidelines. For more information see our Safeguarding Summary page below.
OtB teams come from the local churches. If schools would like to enjoy OtB assemblies/acts of Collective Worship or you want to see if there is an OtB team near to you, use our 'find an OtB church' tool to find your nearest team. Contact the church directly and ask about having a team come to your school. If you don’t know of a church team near you, or can’t see one on the map contact us and we’ll try and connect you with one. Or you could ask your local church to form a team and point them to the website at openthebook.net.
Does OtB have an educational value?
Open the Book aligns to the criteria used by OFSTED, ESTYN and SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) when inspecting acts of Collective Worship.
Will the storytelling volunteers try to ‘convert’ the children?
No! OtB volunteers agree to abide by our Code of Practice. This means sticking to the educationally sensitive script in our handbooks. The teams offer a Bible story, not a sermon. The handbooks have been written with care and sensitivity by teachers and educators. We aim to contribute to enrich children's education by presenting Bible stories in a way that they will relate to and enjoy. Wherever possible, we involve the children themselves.
Is OtB suitable for multi-faith schools?
OtB is being used successfully in schools with wide ethnic and religious backgrounds. There is no coercive content. The time for reflection is suitable for children of all faiths and none. No attempt is made to impose the Christian faith on a child. Whatever their background, children and teachers find it educational and fun. OtB has proved popular in very varied Community and Church schools. If you would like to talk to another Headteacher or RE Co-ordinator then please get in touch.
Can schools buy the material for themselves?
OtB stories have been designed to be presented by teams of Christians from local churches, rather than by schools themselves. The teams put in much preparation beforehand and take time to make the presentation interesting by assembling visual aids, costumes and special props. Our material is only available to registered teams who agree to deliver OtB in line with our Code of Practice.
How can we get a team of volunteers to come to our school?
Download the General Leaflet (above) and ask your local church(es) if they would be interested in starting a team or contact us and we’ll see if there are volunteers in your area.
T: 01793 418355
What can we do if we can't get a team of local volunteers?
Do keep trying! If all else fails, we wholeheartedly recommend The Lion Storyteller Bible by Bob Hartman. This is the book we use for all our first year programme of Bible storytelling and is great for reading aloud.