As the pandemic continues, we face the third academic year to have disrupted GCSEs. For the current YR 11, their first experience of disrupted learning started when they were in year 9. Many aspects of their lives have been affected and they face continued uncertainties as unpredicted Covid events impact the government’s, school heads’ and examining boards’ decision-making processes, sometimes at very short notice. So here is a reminder for all our secondary school supply teachers of how the current YR 11s may be feeling.
They have missed a lot of teaching since they were in YR 9 due to the pandemic, they are currently the most affected year group to sit their GCSEs.
They have missed out school trips and holidays that would normally enrich their learning e.g. Geography students visiting Iceland; History students visiting the battlefields and WWI graves of France/Belgium; Language students experiencing ‘real life’ in their chosen foreign language country; and the list goes on.
They have missed out on social development and social experiences.
They may be experiencing mental health problems that you are unaware of (eating disorder, self-harm, stress, and depression have all seen increased numbers, even trebling in some cases).
They may have suffered one or several bereavements due to the pandemic.
Their family may have financial worries due to loss of earnings and jobs through the pandemic.
Many of their teachers have been absent through Covid for weeks at a time on more than one occasion due to isolation as well as illness over the last 18 months
Many have missed parents evening as teachers are off sick.
They feel unprepared for exams due to loss of learning time and remote learning as well as a lack of clarity from examining boards.
They are worried as their future seems uncertain.