The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of GCSE and A-level exams, throwing summer plans of youngsters and their teachers into chaos. Here, Abbeyfield School Year 11 pupil BRADLEY BECK writes about the uncertainty clouding grades and further education for a group of teens calling themselves the 'Class of Covid'...

If you had told me at the start of Year 11 that I would be leaving in March I would not have believed you.

The recent school closures and the resulting GCSE exam cancellations have seemingly cut short an end goal that I have had my eyes on since the start of my education.

At the time of announcement last week, mixed emotions dispersed across social media. While some were overjoyed with the prospect of freedom and a loss of stress, many were left with a clear uncertainty about their academic future. This coincides with the potential lack of assurance provided by the idea of predicted grades – which as of now are nothing more than an abstract concept.

In my opinion, predicted grades are the best possible option – provided that there is a leniency based upon these strange circumstances. Nevertheless, the idea of being rewarded for informal work will take away a certain sense of achievement when we receive our grades.

The likelihood of school closures began to escalate during a two-week period of mock exams at Abbeyfield. With these exams now likely to be a key component of our final grade, I am grateful for the perseverance of my teachers to keep my year group staffed – allowing us to finish every exam until a closure last Friday.

Moreover, I am extremely thankful for the flexibility of Abbeyfield’s teachers in allowing us the opportunity to have a leavers’ celebration on the final day – an experience that many Year 11s and 13s across the country may have been denied. This gave everyone the chance to have a true send-off, bridging the gap between the social structure of school and weeks of isolation.

While this occurs, the fate of our eagerly-anticipated summer holiday hangs in the balance – with the longevity of the virus still unknown. The closure is guaranteed to provide an opportunity for relaxation; but nothing would match the prospect of an extended holiday with complete freedom.

Until then, a state of confused boredom is likely to be assumed by those without the routine school provides. This is further combined with the fact that our learning is “over” as we know it until the beginning of Year 12.

Thankfully, my teachers are doing their best to make sure it is quite the opposite. Emailing has now become a key point of contact between tutors and students, ensuring there is always someone to discuss your plans with.

In addition, teachers have already started to compile resources for those studying A-levels at Abbeyfield – including the opportunity to start work on an Extended Project Qualification early.

All of this support is likely to make this uncertain phase more rewarding, allowing students to refocus and set our sights on the next end goal, when all of us hope this current crisis will be firmly in the past.