Limping over the finish line

A running track with the number 2021 in one lane.

Another school year is almost over and there’s definitely a strong sense of limping over the finish line. Last week, my three kids had their respective transition sessions with their teachers for next year, followed by their sports days this week.

Ordinarily, this is a time of excitement but, this time around, things have been noticeably different. And not just because parents couldn’t be involved due to social distancing measures.

I think this is because the whole school year has permanently felt subject to change. At any time, we’ve been one positive case in their classes away from self-isolation.

There has also been a prolonged spell of remote learning. And, on top of all this, it’s oldest’s last year at primary school and youngest’s first. Plus I lost my job to the pandemic and have since started a new one all within the same academic year. Never mind transition week, this has been a transition year for many of us.

As a result, all three of my kids seem unsure of themselves and we’re feeling that way too. I don’t think we’re alone in that either.

On the school run, everyone seems worn down by the last year or so. With Covid cases on the rise again, it’s no surprise to hear mumblings hoping kids will have the chance to finish the year properly.

I feel so desperately sad for children in particular. What an awful year or so it has been – particularly for the youngest members of society. Childhood is fleeting so to miss out on such a sizeable chunk of it seems really cruel.

And it feels like there’s even more instability on the horizon. The Government’s questionable decision to imminently remove the majority of existing restrictions will almost certainly result in recent history repeating itself.

More infections, more new variants, more lockdowns and even more lost opportunities for kids. You only need to look at how other island nations have responded to see how avoidable this all is.

As far as I’m concerned, thinking in the short term is sadly all we can do. I want my kids to get to the end of term with a proper sense of closure. This is particularly important for oldest who is sad enough about leaving primary and starting secondary.

I want them to have a happy, carefree summer. And I want them to have a straightforward start in September. How depressing that aspirations must be so low for the foreseeable future.

I may not have been able to participate in a dads’ race this year but I’m limping over the finish line of the school year. Sad for children and angry with those responsible for running the country.

But, to end on a positive note, I’m so proud of my kids. They’ve responded brilliantly to challenging times, excelled in all areas and all got amazing school reports.

The Prime Minister should take note.


  1. John Adams

    Oh Tom, a great blog post that sums up exactly how I felt at the end of the academic year. Here’s to a better start to this academic year. it will be better, right???

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