State leaders, education departments, principals, schools and teachers have scrambled to deal with the spate of lockdowns caused by the Delta strain of Covid-19. Measures have been put in place and have been publicly commented on by every man and his dog. Yet, one key group is being overlooked—the senior students themselves.
A whopping 86 per cent of Year 11 students think they were more disadvantaged than Year 11s from previous years, and 76 per cent are very worried about the threat of more lockdowns, potentially resulting in school closures during their final year. When asked how Covid-19 has affected their schooling, exams and/or confidence, the feedback was mixed but nonetheless concerning:
Jennifer, a Year 11 Student we surveyed said, “It’s been quite a roller coaster and I’m incredibly nervous for the future. Covid has definitely changed the way we learn and has impacted our mental state greatly. Many of us year 11s are afraid of having to enter our HSC year online.”
The majority of year 11 students surveyed feel the same, with 74 per cent of them stating that they are nervous about year 12.
Georgie, another student, said, “I feel like Covid-19 has set me back in my learning so much, and as a current Year 11 student I am feeling so underprepared for Year 12. It is so difficult to be productive with online learning, and I am incredibly worried that the setbacks from this year are going to negatively impact my HSC year.”
70 per cent of Year 11 Students agree with Georgie, feeling that Covid-19 has negatively impacted their learning progress.
Not all students seem to be suffering under an online model, however. Year 11 student, Harper, is a fan. “Online learning has actually benefited me, there’s no distractions from other students and I have all the time in the world to work on homework and assignments. If anything I’m getting them done quicker,” she said.
Dr Selina Samuels, Chief Learning Officer at Cluey Learning, empathises with senior students. “In what is now our second year of disrupted schooling, I am not surprised that our Year 11 students are anxious and stressed as they progress into their final year. With school closures, it is difficult for them to get the practice and feedback that establish strong foundations for their final year. Educators across the country are concerned that they may be disadvantaged and may require extra learning support such as tutoring to achieve the results they have been aiming for,” she said.
Many of the students surveyed stated their engagement and confidence have also taken a beating from Covid-19. As Wayne, another Year 11 student put it: “Honestly, Covid-19 has been quite beneficial as it has increased my productivity. However, the disadvantages remain greater than the benefits you receive, to me at least. No socialising, no immediate help from teachers, very bored at home.”