Lockdown has impacted us all in many different ways. There have been health concerns, financial worries, the juggling of home schooling and working, loneliness  – and for some the slower pace of life may have been a welcome break. All children who had to adapt from regular school to home school have faced major changes, but some of those most affected were those who should have been sitting important exams or transitioning to a new school – or both – in 2020. Here in Fairfield, Year 4 is a transition year, and we caught up with a Year 4 parent to find out what missing out has meant for their child.

“For our Year 4 pupils at Fairfield Park Lower School (FPLS), lockdown happened at a pivotal time in their educational journey. Their much-anticipated three-day trip to PGL in Caythorpe Court was cancelled the day before the trip due to the government ban on non-essential travel on 16 March. PGL trips are legendary and children look forward to this overnight trip for most of the time they are at FPLS; a trip filled with lots of outdoor adventures and a chance to increase independence and have lots of fun.

“Lockdown has also meant that the many transitional activities preparing them for middle school/extended secondary which normally take place in the summer term have not been able to take place in most cases. Most pupils will move onto Etonbury, Pix Brook and Henlow so will not all be together again.

“There’s been no big ‘Year 4 leaving show’ or leaving party to enable them to say goodbye to friends and teachers. It’s been a very different experience from what was hoped for by children, parents, and teachers. Not the grand finale it normally is.

“Unfortunately, due to government guidelines it was not possible for the Year 4 pupils to return to school prior to the summer holidays. Instead, there was an alfresco goodbye on Wednesday 15 July, classes were split in two and groups of 15 pupils met on the school field for an hour to say goodbye to some of their classmates and their teachers. They received their leaving hoodies at this event. A combined zoom quiz took place for both classes on Thursday 16 July which was most enjoyable.

“On the final assembly at FPLS, the whole school will normally clap out the Year 4 pupils and wish them well for the next stage of their journey. As this couldn’t happen this year, FPLS created a beautiful moving leaving video with clips from Mrs Stone, Mrs Thanki and Miss Wase, and waves from lots of the teaching staff and a five second video clip of each leaver waving goodbye doing something they loved. This will be a wonderful memento to treasure in years to come and was a bit of a tearjerker!

“A leaving party will take place when it is safe to do so and in line with government guidance. Whilst this is not the ending we wanted for Lower School; lockdown has in many ways highlighted how resilient children are and that they have the next exciting chapter of their life ahead of them. We wish all Year 4 pupils all the best for Year 5 and beyond.”

How was lockdown for you? We’re interested to hear stories from across our community. If you would like to share your experiences, good or bad,  from this strangest of years, please email editor@fairfieldmatters.com.