Archbishop of Canterbury to deliver live streamed assembly

The Archbishop of Canterbury will give the first assembly at a newly-created virtual school set up so students can continue to learn during lockdown.

Justin Welby will be the first in a list of famous faces to lead an assembly for the Government-backed Oak National Academy this Thursday.

The academy was set up by 40 teachers in less than a fortnight and launched earlier this month.

It is aimed at students from Reception to Year 10, and has seen over two million lessons accessed already.

It provides 180 classes a week – equating to three hours a day for primary school students and four hours for secondary.

The Archbishop is due to 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?”

He will add: “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.”

His talk will also draw on the words of Nelson Mandela, the academy said.

Working with education site TES, the Oak National Academy has a whole series of these lectures planned with household names.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is also due to make an appearance at Thursday’s assembly.

It will be live streamed through the TES website from 10am on April 30, and will then be made available on the academy’s website.

Matt Hood, principal of Oak National Academy, said: “The wellbeing of our children and young people is so important at this uncertain time.

“It’s important that we do all we can to reassure them, and to offer advice and practical support. Our assemblies are our contribution to this mission.”

The academy is also working with the Church of England to provide collective worship sessions led by school as part of the church’s Faith at Home programme.

The sessions are designed to be accessible to those of all faiths and none, the academy said.