The Cenotaph came to St John Vianney Catholic Primary, when children held their own Remembrance Day service, complete with hand-made wreaths and their version of the famous London war memorial. Year 6 pupils at the West Denton primary school led the event, which was attended by around 180 fellow pupils from Years 3, 4 and 5 at the school, along with members of staff.
“As part of our history topic, ‘Conflict through Time’, Year 6 have been learning about World War I and World War II,” said Judith Black, who is one of the Year 6 teachers at St John Vianney and helped organise the occasion. “To complete the topic, they led a short Remembrance Day Service for Key Stage 2. The service followed the usual format with two minutes’ silence, members of the community laying wreaths made in class at our cardboard-box, home-made Cenotaph, and finishing with the National Anthem.”
“All eight classes attending made their own wreaths from a range of materials, including paper, tissue paper and wool, and they decorated these using coloured pens, pencils and paint.”
She continued: “I made the Cenotaph at home over half term, using cardboard boxes and the main Cenotaph in London as my guide. It’s just over 1m high, and Kathryn Davidson, Music Teacher, taught Key Stage 2 the National Anthem in preparation for the service.”
It was the first time the school, which is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, had held its own Remembrance event.
“Pre-Covid, the school had taken part in services at the local church alongside other schools or in the school hall,” added Mrs Black. “This was the first time we had organised an outdoor one with our own cenotaph. Events like these are important, as they support all of our pupils in recognising and valuing the importance of British values in our society today. It links back to the past, is part of the present, and will be part of their future.
“We have pupils whose parents and family members have served or currently serve in the armed forces, so it supports them in knowing that we all value the family sacrifice of their loved ones, and we value how much they sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to keep us all safe in the country we live in today.”
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