In their own words - How students coped with a year of restrictions

Parents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as some pupils begin to return.

Parents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as some pupils begin to return. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

One of the major shake-ups caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been changes in how schools and universities operate.

Students have had to adapt to online lessons, and get used to learning from home.

We asked children from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey, Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Martham, Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston and a University of East Anglia (UEA) student on how the outbreak affected their lives and what their hopes were for next year.

Emma Lubon, nine, from Queen's Hill primary:

Emma Lubon, nine, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey.

Emma Lubon, nine, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey. - Credit: Queen's Hill Primary School

"It was pretty hard because part of my family got coronavirus and we couldn't see any of our friends.

"But we made our own vegetable garden so we wouldn't have to go to the stores. Next year I'm hoping I can go to Poland to see my family and the cinemas, theme parks and pools will open."

Manha Uddin, eight, from Queen's Hill primary:

Manha Uddin, eight, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey.

Manha Uddin, eight, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey. - Credit: Queen's Hill Primary School

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"2020 was difficult because my dad wasn't at home. He was at work and my mum stayed at home.

"We did learning from home - it was difficult. I liked the pictures I made for the NHS and we went on walks to see other people's pictures.

"Next year I want more activities, fun and time with family."

Ollie Hagg, six, from Queen's Hill primary:

Ollie Hagg, six, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey.

Ollie Hagg, six, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey. - Credit: Queen's Hill Primary School

"This year I played Lego with my dad all the time and it was fun. I also got quite a lot of learning done.

"We didn't get to spend time with family. Next year I hope we can spend more time with people.

"I'm looking forward to going into people's houses."

Jake Miller, 10, from Queen's Hill primary:

Jake Miller, 10, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey.

Jake Miller, 10, from Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey. - Credit: Queen's Hill Primary School

"The lockdown wasn't overwhelming as I knew there was going to be a big outbreak. It didn't affect my family as much as it did for other families as my parents are key workers so my two siblings and I stayed at school.

"We have learnt that family is really important and you need to spend as much time as you can with yours.

"My hope is that by the end of the summer we will be almost back to normal and people will be vaccinated."

Bethany Kemp, Year 11 student from Flegg high:

Bethany Kemp, a Year 11 student at Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Martham.

Bethany Kemp, a Year 11 student at Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Martham. - Credit: Ormiston Academies Trust

"It’s been a strange experience. It was daunting enough to be in Year 11 but even more worrying to be in the middle of a pandemic learning from home. Luckily with the work set from every teacher home schooling worked amazingly.

"We would love to experience results day with our friends and family. We would love to have a prom and be able to look back at these strange times and be proud of what we achieved."

Shakeel Al-Said, a Year 9 student from Flegg high:

Shakeel Al-Said, who is a Year 9 student at Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Martham.

Shakeel Al-Said, who is a Year 9 student at Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Martham. - Credit: Ormiston Academies Trust

"Online learning during lockdown was no substitute for physical teaching and I hadn’t seen my friends since March.

"On the other hand, I live with my mother and vulnerable grandmother. Despite my scepticism I decided to give the return to physical schooling a try.

"There was a strict one-way system around the school, among other measures. This gave me the confidence to feel safe.

"I’m positive about what the new year will bring."

Year 9 kindness ambassador team from Cliff Park academy:

Students from the Year 9 kindness ambassador team at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston.

Students Lily Bull, Alfie Yallop, Jessica Bensley, Chantelle Cooper, Charlie Houghton, Gracie Campion, Vinnie Goldman, Somma Clarke, Shauna Overton, Francisco Cruz, Nicholas Prudlak, Ben Read, Oliver Sutton and Nathan Trett who are members of the Year 9 kindness ambassador team at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston. - Credit: Ormiston Academies Trust

"By being in close contact with those they live with, a lot of people have become more understanding with their families and tolerance between them has grown.

"It has been a good time for us to become grateful for the little things. 2020 has given us a good opportunity to reflect, including our strengths, weaknesses, the positives and negatives in our lives.

"It has taught us to value liberty instead of taking it for granted."

Emily Kelly, 21, from Wiltshire, who is a third year culture, literature and politics student at the UEA as well as a shop worker for Iceland supermarket:

Emily Kelly, 21, who is a third year culture, literature and politics student at the University of East Anglia.

Emily Kelly, 21, who is a third year culture, literature and politics student at the University of East Anglia. - Credit: Emily Kelly

"Lockdown first time round had a more significant impact as I travelled home and stayed there for three months.

"University lectures were done online. I'm on a couple of student societies and it is hard to get people to engage online in the same way they would in person. 2020 has taught me how the little things don't matter."


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