Pupils celebrate 200 years of Church Schools

A banner designed by two pupils from Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School was used at the service at Westminster Abbey.

A banner designed by two pupils from Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School in Warrington was used in a service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate 200 years of Church schools.

The banner, designed by year ten students Nathan Weaver and Louis Blanchard, was made by Julia Allison and was used to represent the Diocese of Liverpool at the celebratory service, which was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service commemorated the founding of the Church of England's National Society in 1811 offering education to the poor in every parish - 50 years before the state joined in.

Pupils and staff from eight schools also represented the Diocese of Liverpool at the service. They were Aspull CE/Methodist Primary School (Wigan), Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School (Warrington), St Barnabas CE Primary School (Warrington), St Peter’s Hindley CE Primary School, (Wigan), Holy Trinity Southport CE Primary School (Sefton), Lathom St James CE Primary School (Lancs), St John’s Waterloo CE Primary School (Sefton) and St Nicholas’ CE Primary School (Sefton).

The service included dance, dramatic readings, singing and intercessions led by school representatives from various dioceses as well as music from the Abbey choir. Guests at the service included The Archbishop of Wales, Lord Hill (representing the government) as well as teachers and church and education leaders.

Preaching to a packed Westminster Abbey congregation the Archbishop of Canterbury said that whether pupils were of the Christian faith or not church schools provided a vision for them "to see the biggest possible picture of humanity and the world they live in."

John Sharples, Headteacher of Sir Thomas Boteler, praised Nathan and Louis for their understanding of the values the school believes in. “We only became a Church of England School in 2002, but we’ve come a long way in a short time. It’s a great honour for the boys to represent the Diocese in this way.”

Nathan and Louis also met the Dean of Westminster - the first person to greet Kate Middleton when she arrived for the Royal wedding.

Jon Richardson, Director of Education for the Diocese of Liverpool, said, “Two hundred years ago the Church of England's National Society began offering education to the poor in every parish. Times have changed but we still stay true to the vision of providing quality education for all, an education that balances academic and practical learning with a strong emphasis on spiritual development. The pupils that represented the Diocese at the service were a credit to themselves and their schools.”