St Leonard’s Catholic School – COVID-19 Implications for Year 13 Cohort
Contextual information for Higher Education Providers for 2022 Entry
St Leonard’s Catholic School is an academy in the north-east of England with 125 pupils in Year 13. A typical student at St Leonard’s studies three subjects at A Level. Current Year 13 students suffered serious disruption to their teaching in Year 12 because of COVID-19.
From the start of September 2020, there were a number of students who had to self-isolate either because they had tested positive for COVID-19 or because they were deemed a close contact. This continued through the term and there were also a number of teachers over the course of the term who had to self-isolate which meant that lessons were regularly disrupted. The challenge of trying to teach both in the classroom and on TEAMS because of both student and staff absence meant that time was spent in lessons checking that students were able to access from home and also having to recap material covered. By December 2020 we had more than half of our Year 12 students out of school and this had a major impact on the ability of teachers to support students and get through the course content.
During the period of Government Lockdown between January and March Year 12, when the school was closed, students did receive lessons on TEAMS but it was very difficult to guarantee the provision for each subject and there were also issues with ensuring that students always had access to a suitable device, especially when there was more than one student in a household. While we tried to support students in this situation and provide laptops this was not always possible; this affected a number of students in our cohort and had a knock-on effect in terms of teachers having to repeat and recap lessons because of very mixed attendance in online lessons. The consequence of this is that teachers have not been able to cover the course content that they usually would have done by the beginning of Year 13.
It has clearly been a very stressful time for everyone, but I have particular sympathy for the current Year 13 cohort who have the legacy of the disruption suffered in Year 11 when they were out of school from Friday 20th March and did not return. It has been very difficult for this year group in coping with all of these issues and living with the continuing uncertainty and we have seen an increased prevalence of anxiety and mental health issues due to Lockdown and isolation.
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