As schools closed last Friday, pupils, students and staff entered a new and strange chapter. Here's how it felt at Settle College...

IT was really a strange day on Friday 20th March 2020.

Although you could say the title race for the English Premier league was surprisingly over in March, it was surreal to speak to our Year 13 and tell them their academic year was over too.

There was a mixture of sadness, relief, disbelief and a million questions. Not all these questions could be answered and so we focused on making sure the year group got together one final time to say goodbye.

The class of 2020 was a very sociable and friendly year group who were a real pleasure to work with and see develop. The made a fantastic contribution to the life of the school and local community from organising a Year 7 disco to holding an inaugural Spring fair. They raised over £2,500 for their chosen charities, Young Minds and Candlelighters. Such as shame the year ended so soon as more activities were planned.

Their UCAS applications showed an amazing range of activities that they had been involved in, dreams and aspirations they wanted to follow and a fantastic scope for what they wanted to go on and study. A place at Oxford was offered to one student after a rigorous interview and selection process, which came on the back of the support we put in place for them at Settle College. Others were looking to go to Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool and Warwick to name a few.

Whether it was an apprenticeship, GAP year or university, they all have the capacity for anything they set their minds to.

As a year group, we finished with a picnic and speeches overlooking Penyghent. The weather was gloriously sunny, and it felt like the end of June, but the wind chill told us it was still March!

Enrolment for Sixth Form is scheduled for Thursday 20th August from 9am. We hope to see new students there.

- Mr S Murphy, Head of Sixth Form

2020 is a year we will not forget, faced with the news that schools were going to close imminently and exams were cancelled for the summer.

After the initial shock and confusion of what was happening, we were drawn to the fact that Friday could be the last day for our Year 11 and 13 students. Starting on Thursday when we were greeted with questions and confusion from our students, we decided we had less than 48 hours to plan and execute leavers day celebrations.

On Thursday we set about implementing the plan, buying what we could to make their special day memorable. Staff and students came together sending celebration slides and photos for the Year 11s' final assembly. Friday arrived and Year 11s were excited but apprehensive about the possibility of it being their last day.

The sun was shining, and it almost felt like a Leavers Day in July. Students were out taking photos and enjoying what could be their last few hours at Settle College.

The leavers assembly had an overwhelming response from students and staff, with 100 celebration slides from staff and over 300 photographs from the students in the short 24 hours we had. We were all determined to make what could be their last day a success. Students relished their assembly and all the effort was worth it to see their enjoyment and celebrations.

As the assembly and the day came to an end the laughter turned into tears as reality hit them. As the hugs, tears and laughter filled the room, the worry and stress of the last 48 hours was clear.

Although we are not sure what the future will hold we can reflect and have a satisfaction that the class of 2020 went out on a high. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with these students and all staff at Settle College wish them the best of luck for their next chapter.

- Mrs A Coulson, Head of Year 11