I am writing on Friday 27 March – a week since school was closed and on day four of lockdown. Having written a letter to Y13 pupils and their parents today about how we intend to mark Y13s’ time at school with as much fun as possible when we are allowed, it got me thinking about my own last day of school.
The above photo shows me and my ‘crew’ on our last day of school in June 1990 – I am fortunate that I still see these friends on a regular basis (apart from the two who live in NY for obvious reasons). It was not long after this picture was taken that our whole year group was told to leave the school premises: if we didn’t, there would be severe consequences for us. This was not because we had misbehaved in any way, but more because the year above had ‘gone rogue’ the previous year (for understandable reasons in my then 17-year-old mind), and the school didn’t want a repeat. So, we left and that was that. No Leavers’ Day and it left a very bitter taste in the mouth for a long time.
Now, in different circumstances, our Y13s will also be feeling perhaps lost, aggrieved and lacking a sense of closure – Leavers’ Day is a rite of passage for all pupils who pass through Highgate, and to not know when it is happening is hard. However, we will do everything we can to ensure that they get their last day at school: it might be slightly different but it will happen!
Simon joined Highgate in 1999 as a French and German teacher. He was Head of School House for 5 years before joining the Senior Team, where he works as Head of Sixth Form (pastoral). He enjoys sports (football, rugby and cycling), photography, music and bumping into OCs. He can still remember his form register from when he was 12.