Nearly 2,500 Year 6 pupils from Church of England schools across our diocese gathered together at Leavers’ Services last week to reflect on their primary school achievements and celebrate their transition to their next stage of education.
The six services, which were spread over four days at the ‘Canvas Cathedral’, involved a combination of practical activities and a structured service.
Pupils reflected on their time at primary school by celebrating ‘wow’ moments, creating prayer hands, crafting ‘thank you’ people from pipe cleaners, and laying ‘sorry stones’. A teacher from St Mary’s, Chessington, commented: “The simplicity of the themes and activities was perfect for the short space of time and accessible for all pupils.”
Over the course of the week’s events, Bishops Andrew and Jo, and Dean Dianna Gwilliams each led services, speaking to the leavers about the exciting transition to secondary school and the new opportunities ahead of them.
See our Flickr album for more photos.
As well as sung worship, prayers and reflections written by the attending schools, pupils were treated to a new element for this year – a performance by actors from Wintershall, who enacted a short scene around a character’s encounter with Jesus.
Jane Whittington, Diocesan Education Officer, commented: “This added a different and thought provoking element to the service. The children were fully engaged watching the actors and several teachers said that the scene generated much discussion back at school.”
Each school was also presented with candles representing the light of Christ. These were taken back to the schools and given to the current Year 5 cohort. A teacher from The Weald School said: “The candle is a good idea in terms of the continuity aspect, moving from one year to the next, passing the baton onto the next group of Year 6 children.”
Jane added: “It was wonderful to join with so many Year 6 pupils and their teachers to mark their transition from primary to secondary education. This service with its mixture of reflection, celebration and affirmation for the future demonstrates what is so special about being part of a church school.
“This style of service would not be possible without the work of so many volunteers form the churches and parishes connected with the schools. I am very grateful for their time and energy.”