HELEN BACH COLUMN: Exam students need support in this Covid era

Happy New Year to you all and welcome to my first column of 2022.  I hope you had a happy and peaceful Christmas, writes Helen Bach.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 2:08 pm
Students have had a tough time in the build-up to their exams

So, New Year’s Resolutions... does anyone still make them? I tend not to, no point setting yourself up for heartbreak and disappointment when they get broken by around this point in January!

There is something I’m hoping to achieve this year though, however it’s not a personal ambition.

I just want to safely navigate my daughter through her A-levels and then on to university. In previous years this would have seemed a straightforward request wouldn’t it? But not now, in these Covid years.

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For her year group are the original ‘Corona Kids’, as written about by the then 16- year-old Caitlin in her weekly column for this paper during the first lockdown.

It’s these kids who are doing their A-level exams in May and June, the first externally-marked exams that they will have sat in their academic lives. Seems remarkable doesn’t it? Most of them are 18, nearly 19 in some cases.

What these young people have been through in the last three years has severely tested their mettle and resolve.

Yes, I appreciate it’s hardly the same as those who lived through World War Two, but I think we can all agree that they’ve had it tough.

Their GCSEs were cancelled at the last minute; schools shut with very little notice; proms and presentation evenings cancelled and never rescheduled; back to school then home schooling again; in and out of school like yo-yos, with fellow pupils and teachers self-isolating.

You get the picture.

So finally this is their chance to show the examiners of what they are capable, to get their offers through via UCAS, make their uni selections, do their exams and then nervously await the results. Lest we forget, behind each of these kids is an equally anxious family and support network, each hoping that the pandemic hasn’t irrevocably damaged their young people’s futures.

Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, we get back to some sort of normality as quickly as possible and all kids can continue their education with minimal disruption.