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School leavers say farewell at cathedral service
HUNDREDS of 11-year-olds from church schools across our diocese said farewell to their primary education with a special service in our cathedral.
The Year 6 pupils from 22 different schools across our diocese came to take part in a series of workshops and a service on one of four days from June 27-30. Each of those pupils will be moving on to a new secondary school in September.
The 11-year-olds were given the chance to make Lego creations, create prayer pyramids, re-enact the Coronation of HM the King, and take part in singing workshops. Teachers were able to give their pupils guided tours of the cathedral, helping their pupils to make note of various historical points of interest.
They then ate lunch outside our cathedral before a special act of worship that helped them to reflect on their time at a C of E primary school. It was based on the theme of ‘Everyday Ubuntu’ – an African concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people.
The Rev Mike Griffiths, rector of East Winchester, led some drumming during the service, inviting pupils from each school to contribute a beat they had developed, showcasing how different drumbeats could work together. And Bishop Jonathan spoke about the importance of teamwork, helping the children to recognise that the highlights of their time in primary school had usually involved many other people being involved.
The day was organised by our diocese’s education team, working alongside staff and volunteers from our cathedral.
The Lego challenge involved pairs of pupils creating items - one pupil had the instructions, but couldn't see the Lego pieces, while the other pupil could put together the Lego, but had no instructions. This aimed to encourage teamwork. The Coronation activity also involved pupils designing a medal they'd like to present to those who have done great community work.
Amelia-Rose Tindal, aged 11, from Newtown C of E Primary School in Gosport, said: “I really enjoyed the Coronation and drawing a picture of a medal. And it was intriguing to watch them recreate the Coronation. I also got to hold a real British Empire Medal. My favourite thing was making the prayer pyramids with stained-glass windows, which was very arty.”
And Stanley Hathaway, 11, from the same school, said: “I liked doing the Lego – me and my partner found it really fun. It was also good to learn the singing, and the person who led that activity was really good. I do think the cathedral is a beautiful place and the activities were great.”
Emily Osgood, 10, from Liphook C of E Junior School, said: “I liked drawing the medal. It was fun because it was creative and inspiring. I think the cathedral is awesome and cool, and it's great to see different things here.”
Ewa Szalankiewicz, 10, also from Liphook Junior, said: “I liked it that everyone helped each other with the Coronation crowns we made. I do like the cathedral because it’s got great history, and you can see how long different bits of the building have been there.”
And Dylan Leslie, 11, from the same school, said: “It’s really interesting to see what happened and when in the cathedral.”
Older pupils from the Bay C of E School, in Sandown, were also on hand, alongside cathedral volunteers and diocesan staff, to help the 11-year-olds to complete their tasks. Pupils from the Bay School also read from the Bible during the service itself.
Mason Stewart, aged 15, said: “The workshops were good because the children could develop their leadership skills and work out how to follow instructions to make things.”
And Miya Jackson, 15, said: “I was doing the music for the acting out of the Coronation. I enjoyed it, as it was interesting to see different people being the Royal Family. The cathedral is great because it is spacious, and there are lots of older bits that are interesting.”
Our education team organises Leavers' Services for thousands of Year 6 pupils across Portsmouth and Winchester dioceses, which take place in Portsmouth Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral each year. Click here for details of last year's event.