‘One More Step Along the World We Go’
Every year we invite all the Year 6 children and their teachers from our Church Schools to come to the Cathedral to take part in a special Leavers’ Service. This normally takes place over 4 days with 6 services and over 900 children per day!
The aim of the services is to mark and celebrate the children’s time at primary school and their transition to their new secondary schools.
When they arrive, the children are invited to engage with four prayer stations set out around the cathedral: Regret, Wow, Thank You and Please before they sit in the nave for the formal service. At the beginning of the service the children bring their special school ‘standards’ (their school logos on a special banner) to the front of the cathedral.
Seeing the children walk to the front of the cathedral with a mixture of pride and in trepidation is one of my favourite parts of the service – the enormity and scale of the cathedral can be daunting for some of them but they all want to come and represent their Church school!
The Leavers’ Services are the highlight of the Education team’s calendar and we know that for many of our Church schools, this rite of passage, is also a memorable and special event which marks the beginning of the end of their time at primary school.
There is something very special about seeing so many children and teachers arriving at the steps of the cathedral in their coaches at the beginning of the day. Many of the children will not have stepped foot inside the cathedral and you can often hear them say ‘Wow!’ when they walk through the door and look upwards to the ceiling and the Chancel.
This year because of the pandemic, we are not able to welcome the children to the Leavers’ Services. Instead we have adapted the prayer activities and the other parts of the main service so they can be delivered in school or at home with social distancing measures in place. This year’s theme is based on the ‘Road to Emmaus’ and explores the journey of the disciples as they walk with Jesus as they travel. Bishop Jo will be talking to the children as part of special video recorded for the services.
The Leavers’ Services resources and videos are available here: www.cofeguildford.org.uk/education/christian-distinctiveness/religious-education/leavers-services if you would like to watch them or refer to them in your own Church services as the school term draws to a close. There are resources for Year 2 children leaving infant schools as well as for Year 6 pupils. Some colleagues use the ideas in community schools and independent schools, please do encourage your local schools to use them.
I commend them to you and would like to thank all those that involved in preparing them.
We look forward to being back in the Cathedral and being able to sing ‘One More Step Along the World I Go’ as the children walk down the main aisle of the cathedral with beaming smiles on their faces!
Yours in Christ,
Alex Tear, Diocesan Director of Education