THE new Bishop of Durham has voted schoolchildren in South Tyneside top of the class.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler visited St Oswald’s Church of England Primary School, Hebburn, just days after his inauguration ceremony at Durham Cathedral.
Bishop Butler joined pupils and staff at a special religious ceremony at the school, where children sang, said prayers and staged drama performances for their VIP guest.
Speaking after the ceremony, Bishop Butler said: “I’m planning to visit as many schools as possible in my role as advocate for children.
“I found the children at St Oswald’s really confident and open, and I thought their attitude was absolutely fantastic.”
During his inauguration ceremony as the 74th Bishop of Durham, Bishop Butler identified his priorities as helping to tackle poverty, growing the church and engaging with children and young people. Bishop Butler, previously Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, also spent time visiting individual classes at St Oswald’s, including asking pupils in Class 5 if they found maths difficult – and if they liked their teacher.
Newly-appointed headteacher Helen Smith said: “It was a great privilege to have the Bishop of Durham visit our school.
“I attended his inauguration ceremony at Durham Cathedral and found out he was planning to visit schools in the area.
“The Bishop’s visit was a great thrill for the children and our staff.”
The Venerable Stuart Bain, the Archdeacon of Sunderland, who helped arrange the visit, said: “The Bishop is very keen to see as many schools in the area as possible and St Oswald’s was part of his first, whistle-stop tour of the area.”