Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, staff, teachers and everyone listening at home, welcome to this year's leavers’ service.
It has been a year like no other. The normal life of the country, of children going to school and receiving their education with their teachers as well as the normalities of work and leisure have not been affected as drastically as they have been in the last few weeks since the end of the last war. This has been a massive challenge to everyone in every walk of life right across the country and I dare say right across the world.
When you are presented with challenges of this nature there is a choice. You could throw up your hands and say I can't do this, it's impossible, woe is me, I give up. Or, you could quickly try to reassess the situation and do the best you can from the new set of options that you have. This sounds simple but in fact it requires a great deal of fortitude and resilience. Well those are the first two words I'm going to use to describe the children in this fine year group.
Fortitude means strength of purpose and strength of will. It means you can keep on going when the going gets tough. Perhaps some of you didn't think you had this quality, but I can assure you that you all do and you have all shown it not only in the last few months but in the last so many years in school.
Resilience. That is all about the ability to bounce back and not be downhearted from setbacks. Again, Y6 you have shown this in abundance and if you could pick a life skill that will see you through your life and keep a smile on your face at the same time, then I suspect that is it.
Okay so let's put those two in the bank. Fortitude and resilience.
How else should I describe this year’s leavers? You have always shown such empathy towards newcomers and care towards younger children. Does anyone know good word for empathy and care? Tricky one. I'm going to go for the obvious one - Kindness. Looking after other people, taking care of those less fortunate than yourselves and not making them feel small because of it.
It is a year group of leaders who take responsibility. You have welcomed new children without question and even when things have gone wrong you've had the courage to put them right. Not only have you shown kindness and care towards younger children you have also shown responsibility and a mature understanding of when to join in with their fun and when to remind them to be sensible. So I'm going to a add leadership to the list.
Where have we got to?
- Fortitude, you have shown great strength
- Resilience, you haven't let circumstances get the better of you
- Compassion, you care for one another and you care for others as well
- Leadership, you take responsibility and you set a great example to others
You are only part way through your time in school and when you get to be really old, let’s say 21 or something ancient like that, and you finally look back on your education it might not be your primary years that seem the most important. Yet everything that you are about to achieve and everything that you are about to build in your lives will be built on the foundations you have laid whilst you have been here with us and growing up with your families.
I hope you have learned your times tables and how to use frontal adverbials. You might have learnt that the Magna Carta changed the course of human history and that life for children in the Second World war was difficult and scary. I hope you know that animals adapt to their environments and in science that some changes can’t be reversed, like when you fry an egg, but some can like when you freeze water. If any of you were listening in my geography lessons, some of you might even know the capital city of Switzerland and the name of the longest river in Europe. Most likely you will forget some of the things that you have learned here and then learn them again later on. I know I do that all the time. At least it makes life more interesting.
But those qualities I have described are not ones you can forget. They are ones that are built into you. They are the qualities of the school promise of course and more than anything you have shown us all how to live by that promise and to be Good Friends, Good Learners and Good Citizens.
In fact, most importantly of all You have made my life easier trying to teach younger children the right way to do things because I just have to point at you and say ‘look at Y6, try and be like them.’ Some of you might be thinking I don't have those qualities, he must be talking about someone else. But the truth is you have all got them. We're not all the same but we share a common ethos and we learn from each other.
Not to beat about the bush, you have been a great Year 6. There are no two ways about it. When I first came to the school you were the class who had just been split and I know that some parents, and probably children, didn't know if it would work out. Well it did work out and that is due to all of those qualities I have described. You have really made it work and that's a great lesson for life. Where there's a will - there's a way. If you want to find reasons to make something work you can find them, if you want something to fail you can probably do that as well. So as you go I would say to you; if you want good things, if you want them for yourself and for others, if you want happiness for your family and your friends, and if you want a sustainable future for the planet then you can make those things happen – you have learnt the recipe here.