Nothing about this year has been normal has it? I would normally have written a post at the start of a new school year but this year I was ill and we were lucky to get the first-day photo, anything else just wasn’t going to happen. So here we are, four weeks into Year Six, the last year of Primary School and it’s all a bit strange.
I was a little concerned about how my son would cope going back to school after almost six months away, but he’s done really well overall. I wonder if it helped that I was ill and wasn’t taking him to school or picking him up. He wouldn’t mess his Dad around or his best friend’s mum for one thing. But actually, he’s just taken it all in his stride.
We have a different entrance to use for school, it’s closer to where his best friend lives so we walk around to their house and the boys can walk into school together. I think that’s been good for both of them. The school have asked for all parents and children (KS1/2) to wear masks as they approach the school grounds and I think that that’s a great idea, especially when it’s not always easy to social distance. My son already had masks and as he turns eleven in a few months anyway I have no issue with him wearing them now to keep others safe. It’s a shame that quite a few parents and their children aren’t following this request but we try to steer clear of them all.
Four weeks into Year Six and it seems that school are easing the kids back into homework which again I think is a good thing. Just building the routine up gradually is really helping here. We’re back into spelling lists and we’ve done some maths, but nothing more than that so far. It’s certainly helped keep things less stressful when my son comes home from school.
He’s tired and I bet most children are right now. Getting back into the school routine is a bit of a shock to the system for all of us, isn’t it?
As with other schools, he has one PE day a week where he wears his PE kit to school rather than his uniform. I’ve already checked and thankfully his school photo day this year isn’t a PE day.
My son had already told me that he didn’t want school dinners in Year Six and as much as I’d like him to have a hot meal for lunch as things get colder, looking at the reduced menu on offer until Christmas, we’d have gone to packed lunches anyway. The menu is poor in comparison to other years.
Four weeks into Year Six and my son is spending time in his class bubble. He misses moving around the school for assembly and some lessons but generally, it’s been ok. Until his best friend was off school for a couple of days. Then we had the wobble, that I knew would come at some point. My son doesn’t make friends easily and is probably too reliant on his best friend really. They did have a friendship group last year but most of the other boys were in the year above them. Friends who had been in their mixed year class forever. Friends they never got to say goodbye to. He’s not keen on the boys that have joined his class as Year Five’s and other children he might have played with in different times are in different classes and therefore, different bubbles. He spent two lunchtimes alone, just talking to himself. That’s quite heartbreaking for a mother to hear. He didn’t want to go to school on the second day his friend was off sick. I literally had to drag him to school, he tried to run home twice and I had all the tears. Getting an almost eleven-year-old boy to school when he doesn’t want to is challenging to say the least. The teacher couldn’t manoeuvre in under current restrictions either. He went in eventually and I burst into tears in front of a teacher. Not the best of days. But obviously, at the end of the day, he came out full of smiles and all was well with the world again when I told him his best friend would be back at school the next day.
As you start Year Six you are thrust straight into the decision-making process of applying for a Secondary School place. Applications have to be submitted online by the end of October. In a normal year, you’d have the opportunity to visit the school as a family to help you decide. These are normally evening appointments, rather chaotic due to the number of people and rather staged if I’m honest. I’m so thankful that we did actually visit two schools last year on the advice of a couple of friends. It gave us some idea of what lies ahead and my plan had been to visit both schools in this Spring term during a normal school day so I could see the ‘real’ schools. But obviously, that didn’t happen. We have a third school in town now that is fully opening this month, I watched an online presentation last night and will be visited for a tour in a few weeks. Only one person per household can attend so it’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing. We still have a firm opinion of where we want him to go, it’s just not our catchment school. I could rant all day about how ridiculous it is that your nearest school isn’t your catchment school, but I’ll save that for March, if and when we have to start the appeal process. How anyone can make a fair decision with only a virtual tour I just don’t know. This is the new normal, this is the hardest thing about being four weeks into Year Six if I’m frank. But it will all work itself out in the end.
Of course, we also have SATS to look forward to in May, but I hope the school don’t make a big thing about that, the children have enough to cope with in my opinion. I also need to start thinking about when I’m going to start letting my son walk to and from school by himself. That needs to happen at some point during Year Six. I’m not sure either of us is ready for that just yet. I was walking back from school this morning and it suddenly dawned on me that I’ve been walking my son to school and back for eight years and that that is coming to an end soon. It’s a strange feeling. This school year will see us both going through a lot of ‘lasts’, with everything else that’s going on, I hope that we can hold on to some special memories this year.
For now, we will just concentrate on getting through the next few weeks until half term. How is the return to school working out for you?