So that’s it, we’ve reached the end of our Primary School journey which began in September 2013 when my son started in the Nursery class at his school. He had his peg in the cloakroom, wellies in the rack and wore school trousers and school shoes for the first time.
So began the morning walk to school with my reluctant scholar. There were many days with many tears that fell as we walked that walk. Tears when we sat you down on the Nursery class rug. Often times there were tears as I walked home alone. I longed for you to feel happy to be left without me, I had no idea that two years later we’d still have this daily routine. You just preferred to be with me, but I always knew that you needed those hours in school, with your peers, with other adult influences.
By the end of your Nursery class year, you’d cemented your friendship with G, the little boy you’d met the year before at pre-school. I will always remember our first parents evening where the Nursery lead told us about this special friendship. A friendship that has endured, grown and been treasured ever since. We experienced Sport’s Day for the first time, and another emotional rollercoaster began.
In September 2014 you joined Reception and moved from being a Caterpillar to a Butterfly, your first experience of a class move, changing teacher and your wellies moved to a new room.
You loved your Reception class teacher and we were all sad when she left to get married and move to Spain. In those days you would actually pick up a book and read to me fairly willingly, although neither of us would ever warm to Biff, Chip and Kipper.
You weren’t a fan of her replacement and her part in your school journey was sealed when she recommended that you and your best friend were separated when you moved to Year One.
Year One and the first teacher who really understood you and your uniqueness. Miss P got you sussed so quickly, and she had you in her class without tears and dramas with a manoeuvre that will stay with me forever.
I knew at the moment that the next year would be ok, even if you weren’t with your bestie all the time. Although you were in different mixed Year One/Two classes you still had English and Maths together, and no one was ever going to be able to keep the two of you apart at break time. It taught you a valuable lesson and you had to talk to other children and widen your very small friendship circle. As for Miss P, you adored her, and your confidence grew so much with her help.
We’d reached the reluctant reading and writing stage by the end of Year One but learning that you’d be with Miss P again in Year Two and that your bestie would be back in your class again, helped with your next transition.
You have always done everything at your own pace, on your own terms. You’ve never worried about being different and ticking boxes has certainly not been your thing at all. In Year Two we knew you’d have to take your first SATS test and when Miss P offered to give you some extra one on one tuition we jumped at the chance.
You weren’t so keen on the idea until you realised you had her all to yourself. For us, it wasn’t about getting through the test as much as just making the most of extra help. You were so gutted when you had to leave her class and move from Key Stage One to Key Stage Two.
Year Three saw you start the year with one teacher who you weren’t too sure about but it all worked out in the end. Your class was joined by a university student who was about to pass her final teaching degree. There was an opening in the school for her and she became your teacher from the first half term. You were thrilled.
You thrived with Miss B, it was clear that you trusted her and it was so lovely to watch your confidence grow. She even found a reading book for you – a reference book all about trains. A book you would actually read, almost willingly!
I think Year Three was one of your happiest at Primary school, you loved the topics and trips and just had the best of times.
Year Four brought a new experience as you had your first male teacher. I wasn’t sure how a sensitive, quiet boy was going to cope with Mr S, and I think your Year Three teacher had concerns too.
But you surprised us all, you might have been a bit wary to start with, but you warmed to your new teacher. He actually addressed a few issues to do with your handwriting and making life easier for you at your desk and you knuckled down and got on well with your work.
You went on your first school residential for four nights to a farm in Devon and you absolutely loved it. I still treasure the photo of you holding a chicken! The boy who wouldn’t even stroke a bunny on previous fam visits. Who knew that you wouldn’t get to go on another residential at Primary school.
I hope that Mr S’s words of wisdom come to fruition when he said that you will come into your own at Secondary School. He could see that you loved to make things and were creative. That’s only got stronger, so fingers crossed that he’s right.
Year Five and the move upstairs to Upper Key Stage Two and another male teacher, the NQT Mr M. When you started in his class we had no idea what was around the corner.
Mr M was really pleased with you, your Maths was better than he’d been led to believe and you tried really hard with your English. Your handwriting was still a challenge, but you tried hard. Who could ever have dreamt that you’d come home poorly with a cough and high temperature in early March 2020 and would never go back to his Year Five class again. Coronavirus hit, the school closed and we all had to stay at home. The ‘joy’ of school at home began and the novelty wore off very quickly. But you completed your English and Maths every day. Much to your annoyance at times. You’ve been in a mixed year class all the way through school and it was so sad that you never got to say goodbye to the Year Six children, in your class.
We both agreed that you couldn’t end the school year without your traditional end of year shot, we were lucky that your uniform just about still fit, unlike the shoes!
Year Six, and you were meant to finish the end of our Primary School journey with the same teacher in your last mixed Year Five/Six class. Back to school with masks and social distancing and bubbles, not of the blowing variety. A new, unknown world, but school at school, at least.
But just as you were getting into the swing of things your class bubble burst and you were all sent home, this time to have live online English and Maths lessons via Teams. Your class were the guinea pigs for if a future lockdown came about. The new virtual lessons worked well and you had a full timetable of activities to complete over the two week period. You went back to school in December but everything changed again when the country went back into lockdown and the decision was made that Year Six would be taught virtually by Miss W and Mr M would look after the Year Five children. It made sense, you were all expected to sit your SATS tests in May, she was more experienced. But we always thought you’d end up back with Mr M once school reopened. But come March, and even though SATS had been scrapped (thank the lord!) it became clear that you would be going back as a much larger year class and staying with Miss W in school.
You started to walk home from school with your best friend and now you’ve been walking home too. It’s been a strange feeling for me but so wonderful to know how much you’ve grown up.
You have amazed me with your resilience and how you’ve adapted to everything that’s been thrown at you. You’ve just got on with it. You weren’t keen on Miss W when you started virtual lessons but it’s clear that you’ve come to really enjoy being in her class and you have come on in leaps and bounds. We are so very proud of you and the young man you’re becoming.
The end of our Primary School journey is here and you are far more ready for today than I am. I still see that little boy who had to be peeled off me every morning. I see the child who would run out into my arms at the end of every day, as you loved up through the school. I see the reluctant angel in his first nativity play, the boy who hid behind his friend to sing Christmas carols, the boy who played the violin or tried at least. The boy who waved to me from the coach as he went on his school residential, full of smiles. The boy who enjoyed school swimming lessons so much more than the private ones we’d tried before. The boy who went from hating Sports Day to loving it, and winning his races.
The end of our Primary School journey is here. It’s time to say goodbye to a school you’ve spent eight years of your life at. To say goodbye to the familiar faces, buildings and classmates, many of whom you may not come across again. Come September you will be heading in a different direction, with new challenges and adventures. Thankfully you’ll start that journey with your best friend by your side. It may not be plain sailing but I think you’re better equipped for it than we’d previously thought. I hope you’ll look back on your Primary school days with many happy memories and I apologise now for the tears I’ll be shedding this afternoon. My little boy is not quite so little anymore.