Leavers services run by Guildford Diocesan Board of Education for pupils at the end of their primary education have earned interest from other dioceses in the UK – and even in Australia.
Both Durham and Brisbane dioceses have already adopted Guildford’s format whereby Year 6 pupils of CofE schools attend an end-of-year cathedral service structured around prayer spaces to help them reflect and pray about the transition to secondary school. The diocese of Ely has also expressed interest.
The leavers service held recently at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane – the first of its type in Australia – received a very positive response from the staff and pupils who took part. One teacher commented:
“The service encouraged students to reflect and think about their time in primary school as they transition into high school.
“The children really enjoyed all the stations, especially the Sorry and Togetherness activities. It was lovely for their teachers to have some discussion and feedback about their students’ Wow moment as they were quite overwhelmed when they realised how impactful it was with their students.”
“We look forward to being involved in more wonderful opportunities such as this successful and moving day.”
Jane Whittington, Guildford's diocesan schools officer, organises the services each year and compiled the Prayer Spaces in Schools resources pack that the other dioceses have adapted. She commented:
“I’m so pleased that other dioceses have been able to replicate the prayer spaces in their own cathedrals. For the Diocesan Board of Education our main goal within the diocesan vision Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is often ‘nurturing education’ but examples like this also speak to ‘sharing expertise’ – it makes so much sense for good practice to be shared and for other to benefit from our experience and resources.”
“I hope this recognition also serves to encourage the many volunteers and cathedral team who have put in so much time and energy over the last three years.”