As their seven years at primary school come to an end, Year Six pupils preparing to make the move to secondary school all attended one of three special services for school leavers at Winchester Cathedral.
Almost 1,600 children from across Hampshire were invited to attend special celebrations as they looked forward to the next step in their education at secondary school in September.
The children joined the Bishop of Basingstoke in what was an energetic and highly active celebration as the enthusiastic pupils gave thanks for their seven years in primary school.
The Rt Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, said:
“These celebrations were a great opportunity for us to thank God for our wonderful schools and their dedicated staff, as well as our exceptional young people and the opportunities ahead of them.
“The end of Year Six is a key moment in a child’s life as they prepare to move on to secondary school, but it can also be quite intimidating as they venture into the unknown. The Church has been a focus throughout these children’s primary education, and it’s important that they know the Church is there to support them as they prepare to move on.
“It’s a great joy to meet with these children at such a significant stage of their lives. Not only can we share the excitement of moving on to secondary school, but we can also reinforce the fact that they are not alone. In the service we reminded each child that God travels with them wherever they go, and that his love supports them through every experience.”
Each pupil played a full part in the service by parading banners they had made to represent their school, leading prayers, giving readings, leading the singing and, at the end, receiving a candle from Bishop David to take back to their individual schools.
Among those taking part were children from Ropley Church of England Primary School who sang Can you hear my voice?, accompanying the words with sign language actions and a montage of images from their time at the school. Two of the Ropley pupils, Ted and Abbi, said after the service: “We feel as though we’re part of a big group of children who all value the Church and God. The leavers’ service was a great way to mark our time at school and to think about on where we will be next year. We are nervous but also excited and happy about moving to our new school. Some of our friends will be going somewhere different but we will all make new friends too.”