Manchester's education bosses have today sent a letter to all Year 11 pupils across the city as a message of support to mark what has been an unprecedented final year at high school for them.
The letter - which recognises how difficult the year has been for the youngsters during the Covid pandemic - also pays tribute to the way they have dealt with the situation, the disruption to their exams, and their leaving plans with friends.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, said: "We thought it was really important to send a personal letter to each student in our class of 2020 because we want them to know they have not been forgotten and are very much in our thoughts.
"As a city we are really proud of everything they have achieved so far during their years in school and could not let this moment of leaving high school pass without marking this and telling them. They have already accomplished so much and we know they will go on to achieve even more.
"At the same time however we know how difficult these last few months have been for them - to have had everything they were working towards in school taken away from them - their exams, their final term in school, their proms and leaving parties, as well as missing out on the chance to say proper goodbyes to their teachers, and perhaps most importantly, their friends.
"Sadly we can't make any of this right, but we do want to make sure that none of our Year 11s fall through the gap, and that they all go on to follow the plans they have made to move on to further education, an apprenticeship, or work and training.
"We also want them to know that we are here to help, as are all of their teachers, who - like us - want nothing but the very best for each and every one of them now and always."
Extract from the letter sent to the class of 2020:
To our Class of 2020,
Let us start by saying how sorry we are that your final year of high school has been disrupted in ways that no-one could have predicted as we’ve faced the Coronavirus pandemic.
This is a year that should have been filled with time with your friends, lessons at school, shared experiences, final exams for many of you and perhaps even a prom - as a build-up to what lies ahead as you move from Year 11.
We can’t change the situation the country faces at the moment. But, we can recognise the way you and your peers have faced it and tell you how proud we are of the resilience you have shown.
The city is now facing a journey as it starts to recover – just as you will also be taking the first steps to what’s next for you.
So, we want to make sure that you have the support you need to progress your plans.
We also appreciate that for many of you this period of uncertainty and change will have caused you to feel stressed or anxious - and this is very understandable in the current situation. Please take care of yourself by getting in touch with the services that are there to help you look after your emotional health and well being.
So, Class of 2020. While, this may not be the leavers’ speech we wanted to give – it’s one that pays tribute to you, your time at school, and you as individuals who have so much to offer. It is also important that even during this period of uncertainty, you continue to hold on to your dreams and ambitions and remember that you live in an amazing city where you can still achieve anything.
We wish you all the very best for your future.
Director of Education
Cllr Garry Bridges
Executive Member for Education