A Resource for Churches and Schools
Keeping in touch with Young People after their Primary Schools say Goodbye…
Many of you will have been at tearful Leavers’ Services when the Year 6 children are moving on from their old, safe, small primary school and moving onto bigger and scarier things.
A lot of churches [] have strong relationships with their local Primary schools, whether church schools or not; with whole families, parents and children, as they grow up from the tiny dots in Reception to “tweenagers” on the cusp of adolescence in Year 6. In many places clergy or school visitors know the year 6’s by name – or the Year 6’s certainly know the clergy and vistors by name. They are used to assemblies, trips to the church for Christmas, Easter, RE lessons – and then the Leavers’ service…. when it’s time for Goodbye’s all round.
Or that’s how it can feel. It can seem as if they are not only turning from their old school, they are saying good-bye to Church too, before they fly off to secondary schools all over the place and we never see them again.
Here’s a simple idea and some resources to help you carry it out that might just help you to keep hold of those kids.
Use a Leavers’ Service and a Golden Ticket tucked inside a gift to invite the Year 6’s to a special Reunion Party after the Summer, and from there you will hopefully have links, relationships and good will to help you to begin some regular youth work. And each year you could add to it with a fresh Year 6.
 In my first year as Youth Missioner in Northampton Archdeaconry, I asked questions and researched the current situation regarding youth/children’s work in our Parishes, and a key question came up regarding school links. Whilst only a small handful have meaningful links with Secondary Schools( if they have one in their Parish at all), many members of the clergy that I spoke to had at least one Primary School in their Parish and they had good links or the potential for links to be developed between school and church.
So, here’s a step-by-step guide:
Click on the links to unpack each step…
- PRAY Before you do anything else: Pray!! pre pre planning – pray! And keep on praying….
- TALK Start talking to the Year 6’s early about future plans; build the hype and excitement
- GIFT Choose a good gift for your Leavers – include some food, chocolate/sweets, if you’re giving a Bible, make it a young people friendly edition
- TICKET Insert your Golden Ticket, preferably in a bar of chocolate for extra excitement! Include a form to collect contact information and permissions
- PARTY Plan a great party or event at the end of the Summer or beginning of the September term
- WHAT NEXT? Plan something to invite them to next, whether it’s a regular club, or another one off, perhaps at Christmas or New Year. Make sure they don’t leave the party without an invite to something else – use the party to find out what kind of things they like to do and plan something they’ll like for the future.
- HEART Keep a Christian heart to everything you do – the young people all know that you’re from the Church and what you’re all about, as they’ve been brought up with you.
For this Project to be a success – the most important thing is that Christ is at it’s Heart.
When you are welcoming young people in Jesus’ name, with a heart to see God’s Kingdom come, He will bless your work.
By making an effort to re-connect and keep the communication open we hope and pray that you won’t be saying “Good-bye” on Leavers Service day, but “See you soon”!
Appendix (clickable links below)
- Market Research – Party Ideas Photocopiable Worksheet
- Customisable Printable Poster
- Customisable Golden Ticket Template, including permission form on reverse
- List of suitable board games for on tables (towards the bottom of the page)
- List of suitable group games/icebreakers for transition age young people