How homeschool, government restrictions and school safety measures have affected Fairfield’s younger generation

I’ve enjoyed going back to school and seeing all my friends and teachers, but I’m sad I can’t play with my best friend at break and lunchtime as she’s in a different bubble. Freya, Fairfield Park

I’m in a bigger school with LOTS of children and teachers. There are lots of new rules, especially at playtime, so we have to think of new games to play. Super early mornings are not good! Josh, Henlow

I missed my friends during lockdown. Going back to school felt weird, but then after a few days it felt quite normal. There are new one-way systems and it takes a long time to get to each lesson. Lily, Etonbury

There is a fence in the middle of the playground and the lunch hall. Ria,
Fairfield Park

It feels good to be back. I missed my friends. Logan, Pix Brook

It felt good going back to school after lockdown. Everything, everything you do in school I’ve missed! Brodie, Pix Brook

Lockdown for me came at the most unsuspected time. With my A-levels right round the corner, teachers had been overflowing us with work making sure we revised and achieved the grades we wanted. Then suddenly in March it was announced that the exams we had been prepping for, for two years straight, were no longer going ahead. Of course teachers told us the sensible thing was to keep revising and to try and teach ourselves the rest of the syllabus in case there was any type of turnaround. However, most of my motivation was lost. Lockdown for me consisted mostly of watching films, lots of baking, cleaning and napping.

The end of quarantine couldn’t come soon enough, it was a lot harder than I thought to keep myself  busy when you can’t really see anybody or leave the house. When 13 August came around and results were ready to be collected I was extremely nervous. That morning I received an email saying that my first choice had been rejected, so straight away I knew I hadn’t been given the grades I’d hoped for. Trying to find out what my options were was pretty inconclusive. The school didn’t know a lot more than us, but did the best they could to help. I had been told to go into clearing as my only option or retake the year. Luckily, I was offered an unconditional in Biological Sciences at my top choice university a few days later. The same day, it was announced that grades would be changed to the teacher assigned grades (changing my A-levels two grade boundaries.)

Due to coronavirus I was also unable to work as much as I’d like in order to save up for university.

Overall, it wasn’t a great experience. I think I would have achieved better doing the tests themselves but I still ended up with a good course at a great university. I’m excited to experience uni life even if it isn’t exactly like it would’ve been pre Covid!

A sixth-form leaver, Samuel Whitbread

It feels strange, exciting and overwhelming to be back because I haven’t been with many people during lockdown and shielding, so being with lots of people at school has felt overwhelming sometimes. But it’s really great to be with my friends again. I missed all the Year 4 leavers’ activities which was sad, and I have returned to school but to a completely new middle school, so the routine, people and building are all new to me. I’m gradually getting used to that and trying to stay safe from the coronavirus. It’s hard to social distance at school and that surprised me. Michael, Pix Brook

It was strange going back to start with, but I got used to it quite quickly. I was surprised how quickly we got used to the new changes. Harry, Etonbury

The no singing rule is a bit odd. I like singing – so I keep singing and then remembering that I’m not supposed to sing. Jack, Fairfield Park

It feels good to be back. I missed my teachers, my friends and playing with dinosaurs. I have to wash my hands more now. Joseph, Fairfield Park

Going back to school after lockdown feels a little bit weird because we are in the same classroom all day and we have to stay apart from each other. Lucia, Henlow

We watched in awe as Covid swept through the globe and little by little 2020 was almost wiped from existence. We traded sun hats for face masks, sun block for hand sanitiser and classrooms for zoom calls. Before we knew it, the prime minster was announcing a national lockdown and then parks were empty, schools abandoned, and we became confined to our houses. We all read The Hunger Games growing up but when Covid hit it felt like we were living it.

Education is probably one of the aspects of ‘normal life’ that has been disrupted the most by Covid. I’d say one of the hardest things about dealing with Covid as a final year student is adjusting to the new world it left behind in its wake. A new world where we can’t hug our friends, go to parties or even smile at people we meet in town or on the bus. It made returning to school very difficult, whilst everyone worked to keep everyone safe all we wanted to do was squeeze and hug every person we hadn’t seen in over six months. Returning to school felt familiar yet alien segregated from the younger years, to teachers in face visors and yellow tape stating please stand two metres apart. Another oddly familiar yet foreign aspect is navigating the university process remotely. Covid has made us all feel uncertain about our futures, even more so than we already do. How can you imagine your future somewhere through a virtual campus tour? Or Google maps? I think I can speak for all Year 13 students when I say we feel like we’ve missed out on a huge part of the process when it comes to university. We are all adjusting and doing our absolute best to keep everyone including ourselves safe whilst navigating this brave new world.

Jessica, Samuel Whitbread

It’s nice to be back at school learning with teachers again. I’ve got something to talk about with my parents. But I’ve been surprised how short lunchtime is! Evelyn, Pix Brook

I have new teachers. We have to space out in class and have bubbles and areas we can and can’t use. Nothing has surprised me other than there is not as many toys in Year 1. I am happy to be back. George, Fairfield Park

We have to sanitise our hands and wipe down our tables and we are not allowed to carry our bags around. Face coverings have to be worn on the school bus. Sophie, Henlow

It feels good being back at school as I haven’t been in a classroom since March. I missed seeing all my friends and teachers. I even missed the school routine! I’m at a new school now, with a different routine. We’re sanitising our hands a lot. Milly, Pix Brook

I missed all my friends during lockdown and I still do as they have gone off to other schools. Gracie, Etonbury