FIFTH-year secondary school students from Vale of Leven Academy have shared the anxieties and fears experienced over lockdown as classrooms were abandoned and pupils forced to work from home.

As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country back in March, workplaces and educations centres up and down the country were left behind in order to stop the growth of the virus.

Children from P1 to adults in post-graduate classes at University were forced to carry on with their studies in the relative safety of their own homes – something that’s much easier said than done for a lot of pupils.

And now, pupils from Alexandria’s Vale of Leven (VOL) Academy have told the Reporter about how they felt when they were told not to return to school in a traditional sense, their lack of higher exams and getting to see their pals again.

School Captains Gemma Russell, Rowan Murdoch, Jack Anderson and Eilidh Watters are star students at Vale of Leven.

Jack said: “When I found out about the school closing, I was really stressed because I didn’t know what they were going to do.” Rowan added: “Yeah I was worried on how working and learning for school would work, as I was still to finish some of my courses and was scared how that would affect my exam results as at this point they were still meant to be going on.”

As school leaders began to get a grip of how home schooling could be done, things began to ease in the pupil’s minds.

Eilidh told the Reporter: “Teachers and pupil support leaders regularly contacted us keeping us updated with the circumstances at the time and how this affect our school life. I frequently received emails from my teachers asking how I was doing, keeping an interest in my health and wellbeing and was often reminded of the help and support available.”

Gemma reciprocated this message of support: “They ensure we were all able to use Google Classroom as this would be our main educational resource for handling work in and asking questions, our school also ensured we were all familiar with any helplines we may have needed in regards to our mental health.”

The thought of attending school from home might have excited a few of us when we were younger – no longer having to trudge into the classroom on a dreich February morning, however the Vale of Leven pupils disagree.

Rowan said: “In my opinion I would rather be in a physical school environment as there are a lot less distractions and it is a lot easier to communicate with a teacher when you are struggling.” Jack backs up these claims: “I would rather be in school to do work, there are too many distractions around me in my house and I just think you feel more motivated sitting in a classroom to get the work done.”

And what of their future? Exams were cancelled as the pandemic ravaged on, so grades had to be based on work done by pupils throughout the year. With 6th year looming, it is soon the grand learning theatre of University that awaits. But for now, the teenagers can’t wait to get back and see their friends at school for one more year.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing everyone again and getting into a proper school routine.” Eilidh said, while Gemma added: “Even if we have to go back to school part-time that’s still something I’m sure a lot of students will look forward to.”

“I did not realise how much I missed being in school until we couldn't go.” Rowan admitted, while Jack can’t wait for everything to go back to normal.

Scottish schools are set to return to the classrooms full-time, as normal, from August.