Farewell, but not goodbye, to year 11

Farewell, but not goodbye, to year 11

It wasn’t the way it was meant to be of course, but Friday March 20th was the last day of school for our year 11s – and indeed everyone else.

After two days to come to terms with the understandable decision to cancel GCSE exams in 2020, students were invited in for an impromptu ‘leavers’ lunch’, put together by our fantastic support staff, led by the amazing Jayne Palmer, our canteen manager, without whose drive and passion this could not have happened.

A highlight was the speech from the stage by year 11 student Thomas Lyons, in which he praised this fine group of young people. This was preceded by the reading of messages from Mr Millican, Head of Year, and Mr Jones, Pastoral Support Assistant, reproduced below.

It wasn’t quite a prom – when we come out the other side of all of this, organising one will be a priority task. Nonetheless, it was a fitting way to mark the end of GCSE year for these young people who have won so many admirers as the strange week unfolded. A group of people who, however disappointed they may be, know that in the end their sacrifices this summer will have saved lives.

So now stay safe, and heed the advice of all of those working in the NHS: keep your social distance and help slow the spread of the virus.

Mr Millican’s message

Apologies for not being there today, I am self-isolating but please spare a thought for my poor wife and child who are currently quarantined with me.

I feel sincerely sorry for you all at this unprecedented time, who on earth would ever have predicted that this would happen? You have worked so hard to put yourself in an excellent position for the summer and should feel proud of your hard work and dedication. 

I echo Mr de Souza’s comments from our last assembly – “you are our priority and we will do everything we possibly can to support you”. With this in mind I am currently working on re-arranging the prom.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you this year. You are an outstanding year group; full of fun, energy and a willingness to support each other unconditionally. I have no doubt you will take this current situation in your stride and come out stronger on the other side.

Look after yourselves and your families, keep in contact and I look forward to seeing you in school as soon as this situation rectifies itself and certainly in the Sixth Form.

Mr Jones had this to say

I am so upset that I cannot be there this morning to say farewell to my wonderful cohort.

I cannot believe where those five years have gone. Those annoying Year 7s have grown into fine young adults. I have a huge amount of pride in this group. They feel like they are all my children and I am distraught that this terrible disease has stopped their chance of showing the world how incredible they are.

This will not stop them though. They have been brilliantly educated at Sackville. They are determined and they will go on to make a huge impact in their own and other people’s lives.

Would you please, please pass on the message from me that they have been amazing during these five years? They have brought me an enormous amount of pride and I know they will achieve great things. I will see some of them again, I know, but please tell them to keep safe, keep studying and try not annoy your parents.

Thank you from a very emotional year assistant to my amazing cohort.