A year locked down in the words of some of the children we support

A year locked down in the words of some of the children we support

News article from March 16, 2021

To mark a year since the UK went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked some of the school children we’ve been helping in Croydon to write a little bit about what the past year has looked and felt like for them…

The children supported here are part of a Croydon-based project, Achieving More, led by Reedham Children’s Trust, in partnership with School-Home Support and youth charity Reaching Higher

The project supports vulnerable children and young people aged four to 16 by providing practical and emotional support through schools and communities. The aim is to reduce the obstacles faced by vulnerable children and young people to enable them to gain the education, stability, resilience, skills and self-belief to fulfil their potential. 

Sarah Smart, CEO of Reedham Children’s Trust, said: “This past year has provided different challenges for all of us, but for those we support, these challenges have been significantly worse. Thanks to our Achieving More partnership with School-Home Support, we have been able to provide vital practical and emotional support to help vulnerable children and families in Croydon.”

Abeni (10)

My life has changed since the first lockdown. Staying at home all the time, trying to do my work without being in my classroom, not seeing my friends. 

At first Coronavirus was just a little thing I had hardly heard about, but soon the disease grew, the news was now mostly focused on the new arrival of the disease. Before I knew it, shops closed and we are now staying at home, trying to survive.

Usually I would see this in movies. This time in lockdown [the third lockdown announced in January] has had an impact on me and changed my point of view of the world. 

My family, (grandpas, grandmas, cousins, aunties and uncles) are on a different continent, so we can only see each other on Facetime or other things so that has not really changed. Since the lockdown I have been getting to know my family and myself a whole lot better and I have been improving my talents like drums and piano and a whole lot of other things.

Although I am coping well in lockdown one of the hardest challenges is learning. The last time I saw my teachers and classmates face to face was probably near about last year in December, a few weeks before Christmas, and even then we had to stay in our bubbles. 

Remote learning is a bit hard for me. Being in Year 6, especially in these unprecedented times. Except for this I have had quite a good time learning and relaxing. I have not been watching the news much since I want to keep my hopes up. 

I am very excited to go back to school and when this pandemic ends for good It will be the best year ever!

Fatima (10)

During lockdown I was worried and scared that I wouldn’t go back to school to see my friends again and to learn. I feared that myself or one of my family members would get COVID-19 and die from it.

I have learnt a lot about myself and my family because of being closed indoors together for months. I got used to staying indoors and learning from home using my iPad. I have learnt that I can adapt to changes and I appreciated my life more and I’m grateful for my family.

The challenges that I face when it comes to learning include not being able to communicate face to face with my teacher and my friends and not being able to sort out problems with my iPad when I got stuck. I got very tired eyes from looking at the screen for so long.

I hope that everything will go back to normal once COVID is over. The school has helped by supporting my learning from home throughout the pandemic.

Even though we were not able to go to school most of last year and beginning of this year, we got to learn as much as we could.

Penny (10)

My life this year in 2020-2021 was not how I visualised it due to Coronavirus. Coronavirus has stopped me from going to places and seeing my friends. Socialising away from some of my friends is very devastating, as it is my last year in primary school. But also being at home has helped me a lot because I am safe and I still get to school. 

Being at home is not easy though. Work has been getting harder and teachers are expecting a lot from us because we are Year 6 going into Year 7. No one likes wearing masks or staying at home but we have to so we can keep ourselves safe.

School has helped me a lot. It has made me smarter, more focused and very confident in everything that I do. In this year I have learnt that now I can be very patient in lockdown and other stuff. 

No one knows when COVID-19 will stop for good. In fact, when will Coronavirus finish? My plans after Coronavirus are to relax, go out with my family and have the best time of my life since COVID has been done. In this pandemic, which is happening all over the world, I have to wear this terrible mask which I can not breathe in.

Aamina (10)

The first lockdown was crazy mad – I hated it. If anyone was caught out of their house for no reason they would have to pay £100 or £200 I think.

My life is different because I can’t see my family and friends or my cousins in a different country. I have to wear a face mask and it is not comfortable. When it warms up in spring I would go to the beach but now I can’t and I love swimming. I can’t go to the beach, park, church, family’s houses, fun fair, water park, ice skating and more stuff. 

I have to speak to friends across the phone and text them. We can’t mix bubbles which is annoying because what if somebody died or was injured –  you can’t see them or help but you can kinda help. In school we had to have our own chair, table, pen, pencil – you get it.

I have learned that online school is not better than when you come into school, because when you are stuck on a question you would normally ask the teacher for help but sometimes they can’t. 

I learnt Spanish sometimes online but it was way more fun in school because some people knew how to talk Spanish in school. This isn’t part of this but I miss seeing my teachers.

My hopes are that I’ll get to spend time with my family and friends. Go to some countries and spend more time with family and family’s friends. Everything can go back to normal. No more staying inside or wearing face masks and social distancing from everyone. Be able to meet up with friends, go to water parks and enjoy the rest of their lives. 

I would hope that some horrible things like murder and killing yourself and racism to black and white people would stop. Also police killing people for no reason. 

People can be excited to go eat out and have a birthday party. I hope that when I go into high school it will be fun and not like last year. I want for this world to be peaceful and not full of chaos. 

Jasmine (10)

Birthdays aren’t as fun because you can’t have them with your family, it’s just you to celebrate. Every year in July we have a big family barbecue, but last year we couldn’t because of COVID and it has been a long time since I have seen them. Although we Facetime nearly every day, it will still be good to see them in real life. Hopefully this year will be better.

Jennifer (10)

My parents are separating and that has had a big impact on me and other members of my family, but sometimes it happens and you just need to move, but it is sad though.

My life is different because I feel more lazy with my work and I don’t understand lots more stuff and if you go to school I think you’re actually really lucky. I think if you get a chance to get out well get out because there might be another lock down.

I learnt that I really like cooking and have a passion for gardening. I realised that COVID is helpful in the way of finding a passion that you like to do, and I enjoy playing games and doing gymnastics.

School has helped a lot because I have had the support I need and if I was not a key worker’s child I would have struggled a lot and they have been a big help and I am thankful for it and now I realise how much school is important and they all want us to see the world.

Tim (10)

The things that have changed in my life during lockdown are that I have been moving to a lot of different foster homes and I have had to get to know new people. I have also changed school twice within the last year also. 

What I have learnt this year about myself is that you just have to protect yourself as then you will protect everybody else. 

The challenges I face when it comes to learning whilst being out of school for so long is that I feel lost and get easily distracted. Towards the end I was lucky enough to be able to come into school whilst everyone else was off and we worked in smaller classes. Now coming back to school and being back in a class of 30 has made it much harder to remain focused.

My Practitioner has helped me get through things I tend to struggle with. She has been very helpful with making me feel comfortable within my new environments. When I am upset she allows me to throw a bean bag around the room in order for me to let out my frustration and calm down, as past stuff triggers me. 

I cannot wait for COVID-19 to be over as i can play with my friends and go out to the cinema and do lots of fun things. 

How can you help?

Over the latest lockdown our key workers have, day in, day out worked tirelessly with children struggling to learn because of: hunger, lack of space to learn, or being cold because the family cannot afford to put the heating on. The COVID-19 pandemic and the numerous lockdowns has widened the disadvantage gap for children and young people. Department for Education data suggests the attainment gap could be as much as 75% between disadvantaged pupils and their better off peers once the COVID-19 crisis recedes.

What we are seeing is a crisis – a pandemic within a pandemic; of poverty increasing and children’s chances of escaping that in the future reducing. Children who are growing up in poverty deserve a fair chance to build a better life after this pandemic – and the key to doing this is through being able to learn. If you agree please consider donating here



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