A Reflection on the Academic Year So Far

Time to read: 4min 5 Aug 2020

“They cannot stop me. I will get my education, if it’s in the home, school or anyplace”

Malala Yousafzai

As the 19/20 academic year has drawn to a close, with schools around the UK having already finished the summer term, we reflect on a year that has finished in a very different place to where it began.

What started as a normal school year with the background noise of Brexit negotiations and prorogation of Parliament has finished with an 18,000-word guidance document from the Department for Education on safely enabling 8.82 million school children to return to fulltime education in August and September. This was not a test anyone was able to revise for.

There is no doubt that the return of pupils to the classroom has been and will continue to be a difficult journey. Emotional, scary and politicised for those involved, but to all our schools we would like to quote the man who came to symbolise just what can be achieved one step at a time…

“For all those finding it difficult: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away”
Captain Tom Moore

In the midst of these rapidly changing times, we wanted to take a moment to hear from some of the small voices that have already taken those first steps back to school…

Max, Reception

I’ve enjoyed playing with my friends on the trikes, I can’t have my normal school meal at the moment, but I like my packed lunch!

When I’m doing my chalk drawing outside there’s a line that I can’t go across. I have my own desk with my Lego and things on and no one else can touch them.”

Isla, Year 6

“Being off school was good at the start but I missed my friends and my teacher. Doing lessons at home was difficult, it is more fun to do them in class. I am glad that I got to go back before I move school. It’s only for a couple of days but it’s good to see everyone again, even though things are a bit different now.”

Ellie, Year 10

“I felt anxious and excited to get back into a more normal routine but also felt a pang of guilt that my little brother was still at home. I wasn’t scared of the virus; I was more worried about what friendship groups would form in the newly created “bubbles” or if my friends had done greater amounts of home learning than me. I didn’t get much sleep at all the night before my 2 days per week return.

It’s been reassuring to have temperature checks and hand sanitizer at the school gates. I have felt safe and secure and it’s been more enjoyable than I expected it to be, but also a sense of sadness knowing I wasn’t able to hug my friends. It’s quite a bizarre feeling how eerie the corridors now feel.

I’ve been grateful to have the opportunity to return to school to catch up on my studies and re-focus. With my GCSE’s looming next year, I know my school is the best place for me to be, both from a social and wellbeing point of view, but also to keep me on track with my work. Overall, it’s good to be back!”

The positive experience of these children will echo throughout the country, which we hope will lend strength, as schools continue the preparations over the summer for their September return.

At ParentPay, we too will be working hard to help our schools provide the safest cashless environment, paperless parental engagement and socially distanced meal selection. It’s not too late to become a cashless school in time for the new academic year!

For help and advice on how your school can go cashless, or information about any other services we offer, please get in touch.

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