March 2020: Tears and sadness at last day of school

‘I WOULD rather be doing my GCSEs’. Those were the words of one of our Year 11 students, who left school for the last time on Friday.

With less than two days’ notice, Mr Wilson and Miss Dickinson hastily arranged a leavers’ assembly, just as we do every year, but this one was different. This time, like all other schools, we closed to students in March, apart from vulnerable students and children of key workers.

Local printing firm JSA Print rushed sample size hoodies to school so the students could select the right size before they ordered their ‘leavers hoodie’ online. These would usually have been handed out on the last day.

Beth Hartwell, 15, said: “It just doesn’t feel right. I would rather be doing my GCSEs.

“It is very sad, and everyone has reacted in a different way. It is my last day at school because I am going on to study A level biology, chemistry and PE at Xavarian College in Manchester.”

The usual buffet was not possible, but we did manage to order iced doughnuts for all the Year 11s.

Head of Year Miss Dickinson, who has been at the school for 16 years, said: “This is the third year group that I have been responsible for from Year 8 through to 11 as I have been a Head of Year for 14 years.

“It is surreal; it’s upsetting and disappointing and everything is so uncertain. They have been a very hardworking year group and they have put so much into their GCSEs but they may not get that acknowledgement.

“The last day of school is important and it is something that the students never forget. Yes, there are always tears, but they are tears of joy. This just feels like the rug has been pulled from under them.”

Students brought gifts in for staff and they took the opportunity to sign each other’s school shirts and brought books in for teachers to sign.