The school year is almost at an end and as we approach the summer holidays many primary seven pupils are preparing to transition to secondary school.
The move from primary to secondary school can be daunting for pupils and there is a great deal of uncertainty as rumours of what it will or won’t be like spread like wild fire. They will move from being the oldest pupils in a smaller school to being the youngest pupils in a much larger school, from having one teacher to having many and from the comfort of a building and classroom that they know, to having to navigate their way through a maze of classrooms and corridors several times a day.
This move has long been recognised as one of great importance to young people and as a result schools have designed (and continue to develop) programmes of transition in which both primary schools and high schools work together in partnership to help pupils transition as smoothly and comfortably as possible.
In 2001 SU England and Wales created an amazing resource called It’s Your Move, which has been distributed to over one million pupils across the UK. It’s Your move is designed to support pupils as they transition to high school and over the last nineteen years, assemblies and lesson plans have been developed that enable chaplains and youth workers to work in partnership with primary schools to deliver fun and engaging sessions that can add to the school’s transition programme.
For the last couple of years I, and local chaplains, have had the privilege of being able to deliver assemblies to pupils in several of our local primary schools and I am pleased to report that we are planning to run assemblies in at least six schools this year.
The assembly allows pupils to consider the differences between primary and secondary school, to think about what they are excited about, what they might need to pack in their school bag (an activity that involves me wearing a toilet seat around my neck) and also uses the Biblical example of Daniel to encourage pupils to consider the way they might behave in a variety of situations that they will face in high school. We also provide pupils with the opportunity to “ask a teacher” questions that they have, revealing to them at the end of the session that I am a high school teacher, in the hope that it might help to eliminate any fears of high school teachers being “scary”.
Feedback from schools has always been very positive and I am looking forward to delivering more sessions this year than I have previously, with the help of the local chaplains to the schools.
If you would like to find out more about It’s Your Move, you can visit:
This year our Easter assemblies are encouraging pupils to think about what gives them hope. Hope is an incredibly powerful and important thing to us all. Hope can give us courage and can help us to carry on when things are hard. This year we wanted to look at the power of hope and the living hope that we have in Jesus’ resurrection.
To introduce the theme of hope we are looking at the Global Goals for Sustainable Development that were launched by the United Nations four years ago. In 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to a series of seventeen goals created to make our world a better place, to help end poverty, fight inequality and to stop climate change. These goals seek to shine light into dark places and dark situations and they exist to bring hope that by the year 2030 our world can be a better place than it is today.
Before exploring the Easter story and the living hope we have in Jesus’ resurrection (1 Peter 1:3) we are also introducing pupils to the band Switchfoot as the lead singer, Jon Foreman has stated that “Hope deserves an anthem” and that he believes “Hope waits in the shadows and it shines brightest in the dark and broken places, in restless pursuit of the lonely and forgotten.” We explain to pupils that we believe there is no situation so dark that hope cannot shine through, and we’re using this as our link to the Easter story.
Before finishing our time we want, as we often do, to show faith in action. Following on from our Valentine’s assembly where we introduced pupils to the organisation Tearfund, we are focusing on the fact that the motivation behind Tearfund’s work is found in their faith in Jesus and his resurrection. The hope that they have, motivates them to bring hope to millions around the world in very practical ways and they “won’t stop until poverty stops.”
As I finish this post, I will end by asking you to think about the questions we are encouraging pupils to consider. What brings you hope? And what can you do to bring hope to others?
Happy Easter – The Lord Has Risen!
Welcome to the new GROW Blog (and our new look website). There is a lot going on with GROW at the moment and loads to look forward over the coming weeks and months, including a series of film nights, the continuation of Gener8 (our new intergenerational project) and a couple of different residential weekends with Scripture Union, at Lendrick Muir.
Coming up in the not so distant future is the Perth, Kinross & Fife Secondary Schools weekend at Lendrick Muir (2-4 November). The weekend promises to be loads of fun as young people from across the region are able to join together to discover more of what it means to follow Jesus today and enjoy an action packed weekend including archery, crafts, trail biking, Ice Skating & Swimming and a glow stick party! For more information or to book online please visit www.suholidays.org.uk/wnlm7
Are you in S4-S6? Looking for some great Bible Teaching, Worship and Fellowship with other young people who want to live for Jesus? Then why not come and join us at Lendrick Muir for the GO Conference (12-15 October). The Go Conference is SU Scotland’s national youth conference for S4-S6 pupils who want to grow in their relationship with God and understand how the Bible shapes all areas of life… home, school and church. For more information please visit https://www.suscotland.org.uk/events/go-conference-2018/
We are hoping to run another Gener8 course towards the end of the year and if you are aged 60+ and/or retired, own a bus pass or are a member of SAGA, and you would like to be involved in a project that has already proving to be exciting, fun and dynamic then please get in touch.
As a result of Gener8, I took some time towards the end of the year to reflect on what it means to be a “youth worker” for GROW,. In one week I worked with children as young as five, to adults who were considerably older than five, and a lot of young people and adults who sat in between.
The amazing thing about Jesus and the message of the gospel is that it can transform and shape lives no matter what age a person is and it is such a great joy for me to be able to work with such a diverse group of people (whether young or old) because of my faith in Jesus.
As I mentioned above there is a lot to look forward to over the coming weeks and months and if you would like to get involved or find out more please get in touch.