23 Jul

The last four months have changed the world, and they’ve certainly changed the lives of families up and down the country. We’ve gone from a society that largely took our freedom, healthcare, education and loved ones for granted to a society filled with upset, uncertainty and loss in the blink of an eye. I know I’ve been fortunate because all of my loved ones are safe and I still have a job that I love, even though I’ve had to arguably adapt my role, but I genuinely can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Year 11 or 13 learner and have lost any sense of control over my final grades. News reports are mixed: one minute grades will be down and the next they’re going to play into the favour of most students. Either way, these year groups were not blessed with a sense of control and closure that others have had in the past. That’s hard to comprehend. And as we move forward, into the next academic year, there is a shadow of uncertainty looming over the new generation of Year 11s and 13s. Will courses be streamlined? Will more options be provided on papers? Will teacher grades be used again, at least in part? We have an idea of what is likely to happen, but the truth is that we can't confirm it with any level of certainty; we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best. There may be localised lockdowns and pockets of school or college closures across the country, and it's true that we are bombarding students with the message that they cannot rest on their laurels because now more than ever it’s important to keep focus and use the time left at school or college wisely. Yet we have to also consider the mental health of students. These are unprecedented times, that’s for certain, and we all need a big dollop of self-care now more than ever. It’s time to rest, reflect and refocus, and some may find this easier than others. I know we have to build ourselves up for whatever the future may bring. Yes, I appreciate this. But now is truly the time to work alongside one another and protect our futures, too. It’s time to come together, love the world a little more and care for one another.

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