Bishop saddened at low aspirations of North-East’s young people

The North-East’s most senior churchman says he is disturbed at the decline in young people’s hopes and aspirations as they move to secondary school.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, said children in the North-East had lower aspirations than anywhere else in the country and hopes and aspirations “decline greatly” with the move from primary to secondary education.

The Bishop used his Easter message to demand more be done to help North-East children achieve their dreams.

“Unfortunately, as some children get older, their hopes and aspirations tend to reduce,” he said.

“The difficult truth is that the North-East of England has the lowest levels of aspirations among young people in the whole country, which is a sad statistic and one that should be hard to accept for all of us.

“Disturbingly hopes and aspirations decline greatly with the move from primary to secondary education.

“This is something we need to change. We all need to give our children and young people a sense of hope that their aspirations can be met rather than a sense that they will fail to achieve their dreams.

 “We need also to help them have sensible hopes; not everyone can become a famous celebrity. Good hopes and aspirations are about being people who help others and contribute well to our whole society.”

Bishop Butler is the Church of England’s lead bishop for children and young people and made youngsters one of his top three priorities upon getting the job last year.

He has regularly spoken out on issues affecting children, including raising concerns over calls to teach sex education in primary schools.

His Easter message was prompted by a visit to Evenwood CofE Primary School, in Teesdale, where he said children did a brilliant job of retelling the Easter story using drama, song and video and it was a huge delight to be alongside the terrific staff and many proud parents, grandparents and carers.

He said urged Christians to encourage young people and show them Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, can be a time for hope.

Source – Durham Times,  02 Apr 2015

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