With things being put on hold due to Covid 19, not only are pupils having to adapt to school life at home and not having the social interaction of friends as they normally would do at school, but they also have to cope with other losses of school life.
School trips have been postponed or cancelled, for many children especially in special schools it is something that the pupils very much look forward to, it gives them the opportunity to be independent without their parents and also gives the parents the respite break that they need.
I know pupils from Fox Hollies were excitedly talking about a woodland retreat that they would be going on and all the things that they would be doing there before everything closed down, and it looks like this will be another year when such trips won’t be possible. It is small things like trips that give excitement to school life. A week or weekend away with your classmates gives pupils a chance to socialise with their friends outside school. That’s something many people would take for granted, but children in special schools are not always able to do it. Most of them travel into school on buses and don’t live close to where there friends are. This year, they have even been denied the opportunities to go on days trips to experience museums, theatres or other cultural venues.
School trips can be day trips, weekend or week trips, but they can also be challenging, taking the children out of their comfort zones. An example of this would be when the children to work towards an award/certificate such as the Duke of Edinburgh award. I know with the Duke of Edinburgh you get Bronze, silver and gold and you work your way up to each stage/certificate. There are various things you have to do, such as camping outside and learning survival skills. Pupils also have to walk a certain distance and work together as a team, map reading, putting up a tent, cooking on a camp stove and many more activities that they wouldn’t normally do in Birmingham.
As well as the school trips, summer holidays, half term, Easter and Christmas have all been postponed. People haven’t been able to go away during the holidays. Some children with special needs place great importance on routine in their lives, so this has just added to the confusion of the last year.
Hopefully, there will be a new normal and we will once again be able to meet in cafés and restaurants, go on trips and holidays. One thing the coronavirus has taught us is to not take life for granted. You don’t realise how much you rely or miss something until it is not there anymore. I hope the kids whose lives have been so disrupted in school will be able to take trips again soon to enrich their lives and keep learning new things.