Back to school, back to ‘normal’

by | Sep 9, 2020

It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for isn’t it? With both anticipation and dread, parents up and down the country have been keeping everything crossed that come September, children would be able to go back to school.

Now we’re into the first week, how do you feel about it all?

From my point of view, with a 16, 13 and 11 year-old, this moment couldn’t have come soon enough. They needed some structure and routine back in their lives and above all else, to socialise with friends.

From their point of view, I can only imagine what sort of environment they’ve gone back in to (we have to imagine, because none of us are allowed anywhere near). My youngest has just started secondary school, so for him, it is a new experience on a whole other level. With restrictions of class bubbles and areas, it means it will take much longer to get to know the school, but at least he will know the other children in his form well!

Sadly, no sooner have the children returned to school than we are facing new restrictions.

The number of coronavirus cases has shot up again and this has meant the rules being tightened in terms of how many people are allowed together at any one time. Schools are exempt from this, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cause anxieties to go through the roof because of that.

At school, my daughters aren’t allowed to see each other because they are in a year-group bubble, which means they are mixing with children from other households all day, but not with someone they live with. My son has a smaller bubble, but gets on the bus with children from other years. There is absolutely no way to truly ensure the children keep away from each other and rightly or wrongly, this is something we are going to have to live with, especially if we want to keep them at school.

It’s not going to be easy for them starting back at school. Whether they’re behind or not, they’re out of the practice of the school routine and many of them are going to find these next few weeks exhausting. Add to that, the anxieties of the situation – that come from within and also from what they absorb from the adults around them – and I fear for many of them, I really do.

So let’s go easy on our kids. They have enough to contend with and so do we.

I have been working with children all through lockdown and over the summer, both in groups and individually, providing English and writing support. I know that many will struggle now they’re back at school, for all sorts of reasons – I’ve started to see a change in some of them already. For those that do need the extra support, I am here. When they’re ready. Like most people, I’ve been working effectively over Zoom and I think it’s been rather liberating for parents, not having to ferry children here, there and everywhere to do their extra-curriculum activities.

In time, I truly believe we will get back to some kind of normality, but it’s not going to happen just yet. For now, we have to contend with what we’ve got, as exhausting and frustrating as that may be, and do the best we can to keep our families safe and our children happy and educated.

I wish you good luck for this latest development in the year that is 2020 and may the transition back to school be an easy one.


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