The Education team have been delighted to welcome over 1100 pupils to the five Leavers’ services over the last couple of weeks. Entitled ‘Stepping Forward’, each service celebrated pupils’ time at Church of England Primary and Infant schools as well as giving them the chance to reflect on what is to come as they transfer to their new schools.

Each service used a combination of drama, reflections, prayer responses and songs, all based on the account in Matthew 14 of Jesus walking on water, to enable the pupils to reflect on Jesus’ promise that he is with us always. Hosted in Scarborough, Northallerton, Beverley and Selby, the services were led by students from the four secondary Church of England Academies – All Saints, Manor, Archbishop Holgate’s and Archbishop Sentamu Academy. Students from each secondary academy were involved from the planning stage through to leading the worship and were instrumental in the content of the service.

Reflections within the services were led by the students themselves, and they helped the primary pupils think about the dramatised reading of Matthew 14 in an engaging and supportive way which was relevant to their move from one school to another. The Archbishop, Bishop Alison and Bishop Paul also attended the services and encouraged all the pupils present to look forward to what is to come with a sense of anticipation and excitement whilst at the same time giving thanks for all that has been done at their current schools.

Feedback on each service has been hugely positive from those who have attended with many saying how much their pupils had enjoyed being part of the celebration. This was especially true for our smallest, rural schools who may have only a few children in Year 6 and therefore coming to such an event allowed them to be part of something much bigger and gave them a sense of belonging to the wider family of Church schools.

Andrew Smith, Diocesan Director of Education said, ‘I would like to thank all who came to the Leavers’ services and to the students from our secondary academies for the time and preparation they put into our services. They were brilliant and a credit to themselves and their schools. Their leading of worship included imaginative drama, thoughtful reflections and fantastic singing which all added to the sense of celebration for the primary pupils. I am also very grateful to the members of the Education team for their help in organising and supporting the smooth running of each service and to the host churches for their hospitality and welcome. I really hope that we can make these services an annual event in the school year for our primary pupils.’