Over 600 children and young people from military families in 32 North Yorkshire schools will gather at Ripon Cathedral at 1pm on Friday (Nov 10th) for the 5th annual Service of Remembrance.

Over 3,000 Service pupils of school-age live in North Yorkshire, one of the largest groups in the country, and the Service of Remembrance has become a highlight of the year, providing a chance for these children and young people to celebrate their contribution to enriching the life of the county.

The theme of this year’s service is ‘Growing Together’ and will include contributions from school choirs and bands, readings and poetry and large scale artwork will be on display.  .

“Service children make a great contribution to their schools and communities” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, who will be attending the remembrance service.  “They share their experiences of moving from place to place and their resilience in spending prolonged periods apart from loved ones.  Changes in schools, friends and often countries are part of their normal lives.

“We are hugely proud of their contribution and we do everything we can at the county council with our wider partners to support Service children in their family life and through high standards of teaching and learning as well as pastoral support in schools.”

Senior figures from the military, civic and education communities will also be in attendance at Ripon.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson said: “The Cathedral takes great pleasure in working with North Yorkshire County Council in organising this great annual service for military pupils across the region.

“These children know about the impact of military life on personnel families from the inside. It is great to see them gathering in this ancient cathedral in such large numbers for an act of remembrance in which they celebrate in worship the enduring benefits of our armed forces. By gathering together they both give and receive encouragement.”

The county council has been maintaining its significant support for the children of military families in the county’s schools at a time of continued change for the armed forces. A high degree of troop mobility is taking place throughout this year.

The county council has expanded several of the county’s primary schools in recent times – Dishforth Airfield Primary School which has tripled in size and a number of primaries in Catterick which continues to be developed as Europe’s largest super garrison.

The county council has also received extended funding from the Ministry of Defence for its two Service Pupil Champion posts which it created over three years ago. The two champions, who are both members of Service families, operate in the areas of the county where there is a concentration of Service personnel – Ripon, Dishforth, Catterick and Richmond and Bedale.

The role of the champions is to provide bespoke support to families and to develop a peer support network for children. They also provide training for school staff to raise awareness of the particular challenges that come with a Service lifestyle.

Together with Matt Blyton, the council’s strategic lead for Service pupils, they are planning a national conference for professionals at Harrogate in February to share good practice.

The Service Pupil Champions role has recently been shortlisted for a county council innovation award in the category of ‘Improving the Customer Experience’. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony in Northallerton on the 7th December,

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