Support

Having issues? Click here to see our walkthrough videos to help get to know your way around the site. If you have a particular problem, we have put together an extensive list of FAQs at the bottom of the page. These are arranged by category and will often be the quickest way to resolve your issue. If you can’t find an answer in our FAQs then please don’t hesitate to email us on: support@bigstartassemblies.org or call us on 01825 700830.

FAQs

GeneralFree TrialLicences, Subscriptions & BillingWebsiteDownloaded ResourcesTrainers & Contributors

General

What is Big Start Assemblies?

Big Start Assemblies is a web-based library of primary school resources for use in Key Stage 1 & 2 Collective Worship/assembly time. It offers packaged assemblies with multimedia, scripts and walkthroughs as well as individually downloadable songs or visual illustrations for unpacking a range of themes and values.

The resources are downloadable through the website for schools with an active subscription.

Who is it for?

The resources are designed for Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils to be delivered in school assemblies and Collective Worship. It is for both faith schools and non-faith schools, designed to meet SMSC criteria in Ofsted and SIAMs guidelines. This resource is specifically designed for in-school use and so licences are restricted to being for school communities.

What if I am not a school?

If you are a church or organisation that is not a school, unfortunately you will be unable to licence Big Start Assemblies for your setting. However, you might still be able to get involved in supporting your local primary schools. Some churches/organisations decide to sponsor their school and pay for the membership. Use is still restricted to being used at that particular school community but it can be a great way to nurture relationships and offer support. Additionally, if you work with or visit primary schools you might be eligible for our Big Start Ambassador scheme.

Can I use Big Start Assemblies in my church group or holiday club?

We have often received requests for using Big Start Assemblies in church groups and holiday clubs. Unfortunately this is currently something we are unable to offer however we are looking into other Big Start resources that may suit these contexts. See “What if I am not a school?”

What’s included?

When your school subscribes, you get full access to the Big Start Assemblies library. This is constantly growing with around 40 new assemblies every year. Alongside the packaged assemblies there are song packs you can use in other assemblies and visual/practical illustrations you might want to use in classroom reflection or assemblies. Subscribed schools get access to everything available on the website at that time and are licenced to use all the resources in their school.

Packaged assemblies include walkthrough Word documents, teacher scripts, PowerPoint assemblies, embedded story videos and countdown animations and songs . Lyric videos are available for every song and often including backing track versions and/or sheet music.

When you break down everything that is thrown in, it’s an amazing deal!

How much does it cost?

Pricing is banded based on the size of the school. This is to keep things fair and to enable small schools to access these amazing resources on their budgets. All the current prices can be viewed on the home page of the website, here.

Prices are for academic cycles rather than a year from the date of sign up. You can either pay for a membership to go live at the start of the next academic cycle, or immediately. An immediate subscription will licence you to access and use the materials up until 31st July. When you choose to sign up for the coming academic year, your account will automatically upgrade on 31st July and run for a full year.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up for a free trial or full membership on the website. There are multiple links on the home page and in the navigation bar at the top for the free trial. When you have clicked “Sign up” you can then select “Become a full member”. You will then be able to select the plan appropriate to your school’s size.

Are there assemblies in Welsh?

Currently all our assemblies are written in English. We are exploring whether we might be able to introduce a limited number of welsh assemblies for schools in Wales in future.

Who produces Big Start Assemblies?

Big Start Assemblies has been created by Essential Christian. Essential Christian resource and inspire Christians and local churches through events, holidays, books, music and professional services. Big Start began at Spring Harvest – Essential Christian’s premier family event which happens each Easter. Many of the same people who contribute to Spring Harvest also contribute to Big Start assemblies including leading creatives, filmmakers, writers and storytellers.

What are the Minimum technical requirements for using Big Start Assemblies?

We have tried to ensure our resources work across the maximum number of computers and systems possible. With the huge variance in school IT systems we cannot guarantee technical compatibility with every computer. Our minimum recommended specifications are:

Windows: Operating System – Windows 7 or above. We recommend Microsoft Office 2013 or above. You can run the materials on Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010, but you will need to install Quicktime Player for Windows or VLC For Windows in order for the videos to play. You will probably need to speak to your IT support team to install Quicktime player or VLC. 

Mac: Operating System – OSX 10.7 Lion or above. Microsoft Office 2008 or above. Please note that opening PowerPoint or Word Documents in iWork may result in formatting changes and unexpected results.

Please note that users of Internet Explorer may occasionally encounter issues with the website and downloading. If you experience this, please try using an alternative internet browser.

Is there a recommended order or calendar for using the assemblies?

So many great assemblies, not sure where to start?

We have produced two simple calendars to help you quickly plan and use our assemblies. These are entirely optional and you are free to mix and match as you like.

The Series-Based Assembly Calendar, helps spread out the values over the whole year, whilst allowing continuity as you follow a series of assemblies. This calendar also takes account of annual festivals or special days. There are three full academic cycles available – Cycle A, B and C– which can be downloaded here.

Alternatively, you might like to use, the Value-Based 3-Year Plan. With this plan, we have reshuffled all three years’ worth of assemblies, and reordered them so that you can fill a whole term, focusing on just one (occasionally two) values. You can download this plan here.

Free Trial

What’s included in the free trial?

The free trial gives you access to a couple of our packaged assemblies. You get a login, which allows you to peruse the full library, but you are only able to download the free assemblies. You are allowed to use these in your school, or to show others. To access all the assemblies you will need to upgrade.

How long is the free trial?

The free trial is unlimited. It will never run out and you will always have access to the free assemblies available at the time. These may occasionally be refreshed but to access all the assemblies you will need to upgrade.

Will I be automatically upgraded/billed?

We don’t automatically upgrade you or send you an invoice. When you sign up for the free trial we take only the minimum amount of information needed to setup your account. We don’t take any billing details and there is no obligation to upgrade. We may occasionally contact you explaining the benefits of upgrading, but you can opt out of these at any time.

How do I upgrade?

If you already have a free trial you can upgrade by clicking on the “Upgrade Now” button in the pink bar at the top of the page when you are logged in. Your upgrade will keep the same username so if you need to create a new username using your school’s information, then you can always start the sign up process from scratch here.

Licences, Subscriptions & Billing

What is a subscription/licence and how does it effect me?

A subscription is when a school signs up to be a Big Start Assemblies member for a year. When you are a paid subscriber you have access to the full library of resources which you can view of download.

A licence is the permission to use resources in your school. Active members (schools who are subscribed for that academic year) are automatically licenced to use the resources in their school.

If a subscription is ended or lapses, your licence to use Big Start Assemblies materials also comes to an end. This means that even if you have pre-downloaded assemblies on your computer, you are not allowed to use them. Using resources without a licence is in breach of copyright law.

The one exception in the case of Big Start Assemblies is in the use of songs. Big Start Assemblies includes lots of songs, mp3s, lyric videos and sheet music. At all times, whether an active or lapsed member, using a song in you classroom or assembly will require you to record its use with CCLI (see “What’s CCLI and why is it important?”). You can keep singing the same songs in your assemblies even after ending a Big Start Assemblies subscription, as long as you continue to complete your CCLI record and include any songs used.

What does a Big Start Assemblies membership/licence cover?

A Big Start Assemblies membership allows you to access and download the full library of resources on the Big Start Assembly website. This includes all videos, songs, documents and other assets packaged in the assemblies. You are then permitted to use these in your school community for as long as your subscription remains active.

Where am I licenced to use Big Start Assemblies?

The licence allows you to use these with your school community. This will generally be on your school site, but if you hold assemblies/Collective Worship on different premises this is also included. It does not allow use of the resources in other schools, local churches (unless this is the location of school assemblies) or other venues.

Can I keep using the resources if we stop our subscription?

If you decide to stop your subscription or allow your subscription to lapse by not paying the invoice then you should cease using Big Start Assemblies resources. The only exception is the assemblies included in the free trial (your account will revert to the free trial account).

You may also continue to sing songs that your school has learned whilst using Big Start Assemblies but need to ensure you record their usage on your CCLI licence. (see “What’s CCLI and why is it important?”)

Who can access/lead Big Start Assemblies resources?

Each school has a login which they can share with staff or others who lead assemblies.

Anyone operating on behalf of and with permission of a school with an active subscription may use Big Start Assemblies resources to prepare or lead Collective Worship, assemblies, classroom reflections or other sessions directly linked with the life of the school and with the pupils of the school. This may include teachers and staff as well as visiting clergy, speakers or schools workers.

What’s CCLI and why is it important?

Permission is required to produce song sheets, copy sheet music or project song words onto a big screen for pupils to sing. CCLI’s licences provide that permission on behalf of many of the publishers whose songs are commonly used in assemblies, easing the cost and administrative burden of copyright on schools.

Many schools are not aware that the Schools Printed Music Licence (SPML) currently provided by the CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) does not cover the use of songs in assemblies and during times of Collective Worship. CCLI’s licences fill this gap, permitting the fair and legal use of songs in this context whilst ensuring songwriters and rights holders are fairly paid for the use of their work. The law is clear on copyright. CCLI helps ensure your school is too.

Can I licence more than one school? / What is a multi-license?

If you are part of a network of schools, a multi-academy trust, or a diocese and wish to licence a number of schools simultaneously then you may wish to consider a multi-licence. Multi-licences allow for the combined central payment of multiple licences. It also offers special discounts depending on the number of licences you are purchasing. For every additional school you earn 5% off the total price of all schools (e.g. 5% off two schools, 10% off three schools, 15% off four schools, etc.). The maximum multi-licence discount available is 50% off for 11 or more schools. This can offer a substantial saving. You can choose a multi-licence option when going through the sign up process. Please note, this type of licence may take longer to setup while we confirm details of the schools being licenced.

If you are licencing 100 or more schools then a bespoke licence will be arranged. Please contact support@bigstartassemblies.org.

Can I license a church/other organisation?

See “What if I am not a school?”

When will I be billed?

Your invoices are automatically generated and emailed to you. They are also viewable in your account when logged in.

Memberships work on academic cycles. If you are signing up for the first time you will need to choose whether to licence your school immediately or for the next academic cycle. If you opted for immediately, you will receive an invoice straight away. Upon the clearing of your payment, your account will automatically go live and run until 31st July. If you opted for the next academic cycle you have until 31st July to pay your invoice, your account will then automatically go live on 31st July and remain active for a whole year.

For renewals, all accounts renew on 31st July (regardless of when you initially signed up). You should therefore pay your invoice before this date to ensure your account remains live.

How do I end my subscription?

You can email support@bigstartassemblies.org to cancel your subscription at any time. Alternatively, if you fail to pay an invoice ahead of your next renewal, your account will be downgraded on 31st July and return to a free trial. To delete an account entirely please email us.

What happens when my subscription ends?

If you decide not to renew, or wish to end your subscription, your account will be automatically downgraded to the free trial on 31st July.

Why does your ‘academic cycle’ start on 31st July?

Big Start Assemblies subscriptions work to academic cycles rather than from the date you sign up (see “When will I be billed?”)

Our cycle runs from 31st July for one year. Shortly after 31st July we will upload and make available the new assemblies and content for that year. We chose this date to counteract the variety of dates in September that schools start back on, and to allow teachers the ability to login, download and plan assemblies over the summer should they so wish.

Website

How do I login?

Click the pink “log in” box in the top right corner of the website. If you don’t have an account you will need to create one first (see, “How do I sign up?”).

What’s the signup process?

See, “How do I sign up?”

I have forgotten/want to change my password.

If you have forgotten your password then, after making an incorrect password attempt, a link will appear allowing you to email a newly generated password to the account primary contact. If you are logged in, you can change you password by going to the pink “My Account” button the top right hand side of the page. If you scroll to the bottom you will see a link to “Change Password”.

How do I update my account/contact details?

Login and go to the pink “My Account” button the top right hand side of the page. From here you can update all your account and contact details.

What are user accounts?

If you are a paid school subscriber, it is possible to create user accounts. These are linked to your schools membership but can be created for individual members of staff, or for general school use. These user accounts have all the download and viewing privileges of the main account, but prevent people accessing the billing and primary contact information. User accounts are not available to multi-licence schools or free trials. When an account lapses or renews, all the user accounts will do likewise.

I can’t download an assembly/resource.

Make sure you are logged in. If you are only on the free trial you will only be able to download the free assemblies.

You can download resources by finding them in the resources library and clicking onto the name of the resource or “view” button. When you are viewing the assembly/resource page you will see a pink bar beneath the picture which triggers the download.

Downloaded Resources

What’s inside a packaged assembly?

Each assembly package contains all you need to prepare and lead that assembly. This is primarily through the PowerPoint file and the walkthrough Word document. The walkthrough guides you through each section of the assembly with tips, scripts and information about how to run each section. The walkthrough matches up to the pre-prepared PowerPoint presentation. All the videos and animations in the assembly are already embedded and set to play automatically as you run through. All you need to do is cut out any sections you didn’t want to use and go!

The packaged folder may also contain some additional assets for the assembly. Often this will include a backing track version of any songs used, the sheet music and possibly any illustrations or how-to videos.

How long is each assembly?

We provide a generous amount of content for each assembly. For many you could potentially have in excess of 45 minutes worth of content. This is because we expect teachers to remove some sections or choose the bits they want to use.

It’s downloaded as a .zip file – what do I do?

A .zip file is how your files will initially be downloaded. This is a packaged file that includes all the files and assets for the assembly in one download. Most computers will automatically ‘unzip’ the folder and allow you to access what’s inside. On some PCs however you might need a specific programme like WinZip. If in doubt speak to your school’s IT support and they should be able to advise you.

Some computers will not open files from directly inside an unzipped folder. If you are experiencing trouble, you might need to drag and drop the files onto your desktop or somewhere else on your computer.

My documents won’t open?

If your folder is still ‘zipped’, you may need to unzip it first before you can access the documents. (Read, “It’s downloaded as a .zip file – what do I do?”

 Check that you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer if trying to open PowerPoint presentations or Word documents.

Some computers will not open files from directly inside an unzipped folder. If you are experiencing trouble, you might need to drag and drop the files onto your desktop or somewhere else on your computer.

What are the Minimum technical requirements for using Big Start Assemblies?

We have tried to ensure our resources work across the maximum number of computers and systems possible. With the huge variance in school IT systems we cannot guarantee technical compatibility with every computer. Our minimum recommended specifications are:

Windows: Operating System – Windows 7 or above. We recommend Microsoft Office 2013 or above. You can run the materials on Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010, but you will need to install Quicktime Player for Windows or VLC For Windows in order for the videos to play. You will probably need to speak to your IT support team to install Quicktime player or VLC. 

Mac: Operating System – OSX 10.7 Lion or above. Microsoft Office 2008 or above. Please note that opening PowerPoint or Word Documents in iWork may result in formatting changes and unexpected results.

Please note that users of Internet Explorer may occasionally encounter issues with the website and downloading. If you experience this, please try using an alternative internet browser.

Can I adapt the downloaded resources?

We encourage teachers and those using the resources to adapt and make their own changes to the assembly resources. You know your school, pupils and leading style best so feel free to chop, change and make it your own. We have even included some extra assets at the end of the assembly to help you create your own assemblies or slides.

You are not permitted to redistribute or repackage assemblies even after adaption for use by others outside of your school. We would however love to hear about your changes on our Facebook page or on the respective assembly’s download page in the comments section.

I don’t want the songs to include the lead singer – are there backing tracks?

Wherever we can, we try to include backing track versions of songs. Often these are not available anywhere else and are used with special permission of the record label/artists. As standard versions embedded in the PowerPoint include a lead singer, but in your downloaded folder you should find other versions of the song and any sheet music. If you wanted to use the backing track version, all you need to do is remove the default song video from the PowerPoint slide and drop in the backing track version.

The formatting of Word or PowerPoint documents looks wrong.

Due to the huge variety of computers, systems and software that schools use, we cannot guarantee that resources will always appear as they should. We have worked hard to ensure as great compatibility as we can but occasionally different versions of operating systems or software like Microsoft Office can cause things to appear slightly differently. We recommend that you check through each assembly before using to ensure it all appears as expected. You may need to tweak things if they don’t look right.

See, “What are the technical requirements for using Big Start Assemblies?”

Can I take sections of downloaded resources to use elsewhere?

Assemblies/Collective Worship can be very short. We recognise that we provide a lot of material and you probably won’t be able to use it all. We would therefore encourage you to take sections from assemblies and use them at other places in school life. This could be by stretching an assembly out over a couple of days, or emailing around a section for teachers to use as a classroom reflection.

As long as it is used by the school community only (e.g. not sent for use by another school/organisation) then you can use the materials as you wish!

Trainers & Contributors

What is a Big Start Trainer?

Occasionally we recruit particularly proactive, experienced or prolific ambassadors to be a part of our much smaller Big Start Trainer team. This brings with it an increased commission benefit (15% recurring) and specific training to lead regional training days for teachers and schools in leading Big Start Assemblies. These training days are paid and you would be working on behalf of Big Start Assemblies in delivering these sessions.

I’m interested in contributing to Big Start Assemblies.

If you are interested in writing or producing content for Big Start Assemblies please get in touch with us at support@bigstartassemblies.org outlining your experience, expertise and area that you are interested in contributing to. We work with a network of freelancers and organisations who help create our content and resources and are always looking for fresh ideas and talent.