Ark Academy student: I feel hopeless stuck at home

Monday 15 June 2020

An Ark Academy sixth former has expressed anxiety about the long-term impact of 12 weeks of isolation and online tuition.

Berlyn Jensen-Wallace, 16, said children have been expected to organise their days like university students, which is difficult and stressful in a noisy or distracting household.

“Online school is nowhere near as good or effective as school in a classroom,” she said. “A lot of us are falling behind.”

She said the feeling of uselessness is shared by other students, because after completing work set online by teachers there is nothing else to fill the day. 

As a result, she spends up to 11 hours a day on her phone. 

Berlyn made the comments in an essay on the website of Kiln Theatre in Kilburn. Six Ark Academy students take part in The Agency, a programme based at the theatre for young activists and entrepreneurs.

Berlyn is said her greatest fear is the impact on her A Levels and university applications in 2021.

"The sooner we get back to normal the better,” she said.

BERLYN - 12 JUNE 2020

Life without school has been confusing to say the least.

A lot of school students, especially in year 12 and year 10, have been left confused because we have no idea how the lockdown will affect our grades or education within the next couple of years.

Online school is nowhere near as good or effective as school in a classroom and means that a lot of us are falling behind.

I personally would like to go back to school but also am cautious because corona virus is still a huge issue.

Without school to occupy me and others my age, there’s this feeling of uselessness because we haven’t got anything productive to do even if we do complete all our online work.

Without having school to distract me it means I’m on my phone far more often, for up to 11 hours a day, social media has become far more addictive without school and grades to worry about. Whilst I do try to be productive and do things such as read to take me off of my phone, it only reduces the damage caused by phones by a small amount.

In my opinion, online school is just as bad as doing nothing because for most people my age there is no real incentive to do the work and barely any guidance for any confusion on any of the work.

Honestly, the sooner we get back to normal the better.

A lot of pressure is being put on young people to behave like university students, which in some ways can be useful but is also very stressful and difficult for young people, especially when you live in a noisy or distracting household.

I feel like not going to school and the pandemic as a whole feels kind of unrealistic because no one expected that anything like this could happen.

Right now I would say that my biggest concern about school at the moment is how it is going to affect my exams next year and my university applications, hopefully they will not be negatively effected too much and things will go back to normal as soon as possible.