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‘We will miss them’ - Schools’ emotional farewell to students leaving early after coronavirus outbreak

Year-11 students from Chantry Academy gathered for a final photo with staff as they said farewell to the school. Picture: CHANTRY ACADEMY

Year-11 students from Chantry Academy gathered for a final photo with staff as they said farewell to the school. Picture: CHANTRY ACADEMY

Archant

They had hoped to dress up in glitzy prom gowns and dresses to say an emotional and memorable farewell that would live with them forever.

Year-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATIONYear-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATION

Yet while these goodbyes from year-11 students to the schools that have nurtured them was not the one they had hoped for, they were just as heartwarming.

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Secondaries across the county had already put in place plans for proms, awards and celebration evenings when prime minister Boris Johnson announced last week that all schools in the UK would need to close by Friday - except to the children of some key workers.

While schools welcomed the move to keep both staff and children safe, many teachers expressed sadness they were not getting to say goodbye in the way they had wanted.

Year-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATIONYear-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATION

However the impromptu farewells they organised in their place on Friday were no less moving.

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Chantry Academy, in Ipswich, held a leavers’ assembly which executive headteacher Craig D’Cunha said “was an opportunity to celebrate the last five years that these students have been part of this community”.

He added: “This group have seen the largest amount of change within their school career.

Year-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATIONYear-11s at Ixworth School say farewell after its early closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATION

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“They are the definition of resilient. It is sad that we do not get the opportunity to finish the final steps of their journey with them.

“Whilst they leave us prematurely they have the skills, determination and the values instilled within them to be successful.

“We will not lose contact with them, we will still be supporting them but now together have an opportunity to prepare them for their next stage of their education.”

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At Ixworth School, a special assembly was held before students signed each others’ shirts.

Headteacher Mark Barrow said: “We are so immensely proud of this year group. They have given so much to our community and are destined for great things.

“When we met with year-11 for their final assembly, I reminded them that they will be awarded their qualifications and that their futures are secure.

“It was exceptionally moving when the entire school gave them an impromptu round of applause.

“During this period of uncertainty, they have all managed themselves with great maturity.

“We will miss them.”

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