‘I experienced to educate myself my GCSEs although shielding at dwelling to defend my clinically vulnerable mother’


A teenager claims she has been compelled to teach herself her GCSEs even though shielding to shield her susceptible mother mainly because her faculty has not delivered sufficient means.

Lana Collie-James, 16, started sitting down her GCSE examinations this 7 days, like lots of young persons her age. But contrary to her classmates, she has not been in faculty for nearly two yrs, as she doesn’t want to jeopardise the life of her mother, Anna, who has several health problems.

Lana, who life in Bournemouth and is a pupil at Glenmoor Academy, suggests she has been denied obtain to remote instruction from her university, which hasn’t recognised just how complicated it is for young individuals in her placement.

“The last couple several years have been horrendously tough,” she instructed i. “It’s been so really hard trying to retain up with perform when I have not been at university. I discover it so irritating that the university can’t or will not recognise just how hard it has been for younger people like me.

“I just could not threat bringing Covid residence to my mum. I’ve carried out my best trying to discover on my personal and I know which is all I can do. But if Covid experienced not occurred, or the faculty had helped, I know for certain I would be in a a lot greater put now to choose my examinations. It will make me fret so significantly for the long term and how my grades will have an effect on my lifestyle.”

Lana Collie-James, 16, who is now sitting down her GCSEs, claims she has put in practically two a long time attempting to instruct herself all nine of her GCSEs (Photograph: Anna James)

Anna James, Lana’s mom, has a weakened immune program because of to using immunosuppressants for a persistent lung issue. She also has bronchial asthma, diabetes and ongoing coronary heart issues.

Anna explained to i that all Lana has wanted to do given that the start off of the pandemic is to keep her mom harmless. She says her daughter has been “massively let down” by the school and the education and learning program.

“Lana has been denied the instruction she justifies,” she mentioned. “She has used practically two decades striving to educate herself all nine of her GCSEs.

“Ever due to the fact the pandemic started, all we wished was to hold secure. Lana didn’t want to hazard losing her mum and couldn’t possibility bringing Covid household.”

Lana did return to school for a handful of weeks after her mom was vaccinated and though protections these types of as deal with masks and bubbles have been in area during the summertime of 2021.

Nevertheless, when Covid cases shot up next the withdrawal of measures, Lana states she experienced little option but to return to property discovering.

Lana Collie-James, 16, says she couldn’t hazard her clinically susceptible mum’s lifestyle (Photo: Anna James)

“It is an impossible choice because schooling is very essential,” said Anna. “All Lana is striving to do is protect her mum and I really feel a good deal of parental guilt.”

Anna states the greatest time for Lana was “during the worst time for anyone else”, when whole Covid lockdowns intended she had remote accessibility to each and every class and all her friends ended up on line with her.

Considering the fact that then, Anna suggests Lana has experienced minimal entry to assets. When the family members questioned if Lana could join lessons remotely from dwelling, the college said it would not perform as if they available her this facility, other youngsters would ask for it as properly.

“I have been threatened with prosecution and fines for Lana not attending faculty,” she stated. “At a single point, the faculty recommended I acquire Lana off the school sign-up until finally the pandemic was around.

“But I didn’t want to do this and to consider Lana out of the process so shut to GCSEs and my particular see was that the school just needed to make their attendance figures search improved.”

Anna says Lana has been making an attempt her very best to instruct herself her GCSEs with what she can locate on the internet. She has experienced obtain to homework applications for each subject and a several academics have despatched her some sources.

The university offered Lana a small amount of a single-to-a single revision classes but the loved ones eventually employed a tutor to aid with 1 of Lana’s trickier topics, maths.

Lana is at this time sitting her GCSEs at faculty in a separate area with one or two other college students and an invigilator.

“I was not in a position to household university Lana, as there are a lot of fees and you have to pay out privately for GCSEs and methods,” claimed Ms James. “I have previously experienced to pay for some things like the maths tutor and some text publications.

“We did request if Lana could fall a pair of GCSE topics, but the faculty was not eager on that.

“This has all had a enormous influence on Lana. She is an intelligent woman and wants to be in schooling and if the pandemic hadn’t took place, she would be in a good posture.

“Instead, she is stressing about her grades and the effects on her future and how all this will influence her lifestyle odds.”

Lana’s mum Anna James has many wellness conditions which would make her more susceptible to Covid (Picture: Anna James)

Lara Wong, spokesperson for the Clinically Vulnerable People assistance group, advised i that little ones in vulnerable households who have shielded and isolated to guard cherished kinds have missed out on confront-to-deal with instruction and, even now, are becoming denied discovering and lifestyle probabilities.

“While test adjustments have been produced for the 2022 cohort as a whole due to lockdown disruptions, individuals weeks of on line finding out had been the greatest months of discovering provided to some of our youngsters,” she said.

“Children who have shielded and isolated the most have been overlooked. The demands of children in large possibility clinically vulnerable family members have been totally disregarded.

“We have been explained to to return to lecture rooms which we all know are breeding grounds for Covid infections.

“According to Section for Education and learning advice, little ones are not even authorized to exam for any signs unless a medical skilled has advised them to do so.

“Consequently, young children like Lana have been excluded from schooling and the Federal government is now calling them ‘ghost children’ – a distasteful expression for a little one whose everyday living is at hazard or who could turn out to be a Covid orphan.”

Clinically Vulnerable Households explained to i that according to estimates, 124,000 young children are seriously absent from school, which includes those people who are clinically susceptible on their own or individuals who have a superior danger member in their household.

“We are concerned that there is a deficiency of excellent granulated facts on these little ones specifically when you contemplate the serious impacts to understanding and everyday living prospects for individuals excluded from the schooling system because of to a professional medical ailment,” explained Ms Wong.

A spokesperson for Glenmoor Academy claimed: “We would hardly ever encourage a dad or mum in the direction of elective house instruction as we think youngsters discover most effective in university.

“During the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we worked really hard to produce a total remote curriculum for our pupils and we have been very proud of their dedication, as well as that of employees, through what have been complicated instances for lots of.

“As educators, however, we do not feel that remote schooling can ever change the positive aspects of staying in university not just in conditions of students’ tutorial progress but in the social interactions they have skipped out on during durations of lockdown.

“The Government’s direction in March 2021 was that all kids of compulsory school age ought to return to college unless of course isolating from a constructive check, or a near call, and we have since observed the constructive influence that returning to in-human being finding out has had on our young people.

“In welcoming pupils and staff members back again, we adopted the Government’s assistance and pointers at all situations and preserved in depth Covid hygiene and safety measures.

“We have of course labored with specific pupils and their families to deal with any particular problems they have faced with receiving again to faculty, such as in some conditions featuring help this sort of as further tuition and alternate entry arrangements.

“In all instances, nonetheless, any pupils not attending school would obtain at the very least weekly contact from university workers and guidance with revision and catch-up as we seek to permit them to return to faculty full time.”

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A Department for Education and learning spokesperson stated: “The very best place for a boy or girl to find out is in the classroom with inspirational instructors, and we know that the better a child’s achievement, the better their school attendance is very likely to have been.

“As we understand to dwell with Covid, thanks to the results of the vaccination programme, there is no longer information for vulnerable people to protect and it is suitable that small children attend faculty entire time as the most effective position for their advancement and wellbeing.

“We recognise younger people sitting down tests have faced disruption, which is why we have worked with Ofqual to place in position a vary of variations – like advance details on some test content material – to maximise fairness and aid learners.”