'It was sad when I couldn't hug my daddy': children across the UK on lockdown life

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Youngsters across the UK reveal how their lives changed for better or worse this spring, speaking to Kasia Delgado

Friday, 5th June 2020, 7:00 am Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 7:02 am Aarish lives in Glasgow with his parents, the neighbour has been teaching him over the fence how to grow plants

We spoke to children and teenagers about how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to in this strange time.

‘I have more time to do baking and go to the BMX track’

i’s education newsletter: latest schooling news

i’s education newsletter: latest schooling news

Sophie Hope, 10, from Dorking in Surrey, is in Year 6. “I was upset when they cancelled my Sats because I’d worked hard for them.

“At home school I’m really bad at doing things without them being explained first by the teacher. Mum tries to be helpful but sometimes I just don’t understand. “Sometimes I call the boys and girls in my class and we sit and do work together on Whatsapp video.

Lockdown meant I got a phone earlier than I would have been allowed, so I can stay in touch. It’s hard because when I’m doing work my two younger brothers come into my room asking to play trucks and badminton, but once everyone’s finished work we all play board games together. “We’re not being sent homework so I have more time to do baking and go to the BMX track and do long family walks.

When I heard we might be able to go back to school I thought, ‘Yes!’, but my mum didn’t feel right doing it, because there wouldn’t be enough space for the key worker children. I was like, ‘All right, yeah that does seem sensible.’ “I’ve been quite calm about the virus.

My mum tells me anything important, so I don’t have a shock listening to the news.”

‘I couldn’t hug daddy’

Aarish Gulhane is six, lives in Glasgow and is in Primary 2 at school.

His parents are both doctors but his mother is on -maternity leave. “When I heard I had to stop going to school, I felt two feelings: sad and a little bit happy. Sad because I was not going to see my friends and also not getting to spend time with my really nice teacher.

Happy because I was staying home and having more fun. “One thing that’s really sad is that it’s my birthday soon and I can’t see all my friends. Normally I’d have a party but because of lockdown, I am asking my friends to give the money for my presents to a charity for animals.

“This week, I’m seeing my only best friend, who is my girlfriend, and we are going to ride our bikes two metres apart. “It was also really sad because for a while I couldn’t hug daddy when he came home from work because he is a doctor. “I feel sad about the virus but I know I’m safe.

I’m worried about my grandad and my aunty because they’re old and they’re also working. My gran came to the driveway so we could see her and I was far away from her, inside my house. She dropped us off some nice Indian food.

We made banana bread for her. “I’ve been learning gardening from our neighbour. She’s been gently tossing a plant plot over the fence and then she passes me some soil and she tells me how to do it.

Now I know how to grow a plant.”

‘They split my class in half’

Izzy Gourd, 11, from Cambridge, is in Year 6 and went back to school last week.

“It was weird getting up and going to school on my first day back. I was really excited as I couldn’t wait to see my friends. We did lots of video calls but it definitely felt better to see them in real life.

“School felt a bit strange because all the teachers were two metres away, all the desks were two metres apart and at play time we had all separate areas. They split my class in half so now it’s much smaller.”At the beginning of lockdown, when they said I couldn’t go to school, I was shocked because it was all quite sudden. But it has been nice to spend time with my family.

“Now I’m back at school, I kind of miss being in a normal school environment. Before I used to go up to the teacher but now they’re trying to look at your work from a distance. But as long as we stick to what school says, we’re going to be fine.”

‘I got my mum to dye my hair purple’

Lewis Compton, 18, from Telford in Shropshire, was studying A-levels in geography, sociology and politics. “I went from having A-levels to work towards to having nothing.

I was expecting an emotional last day of college in June but I ended up going home unexpectedly before my last geography lesson. Once college announced how our grades would be awarded, I was quite relieved as I’d had fairly high predicted grades. “For people not planning on university, their entire formal education career just stopped.

I’m going to university in September and so far they’ve been accommodating and honest, from what I can tell, but it’s almost certain that some lectures will be online and I won’t fully get to experience it all as I’d hoped. “I was planning on working throughout the summer holidays but that’s been disrupted. I also turned 18 in the middle of lockdown and I got my mum to dye my hair purple.

It beat spending the day revising for my A-levels. One of my best friends also designed me a tattoo, and I’m looking forward to having that done once tattooists are open. “I’ve been trying to help my friends as much as I can in terms of just making sure they’re okay.”

‘The thing I’ve really lost is Nandos’

Sister and brother Zahra Furness, 13, and Aadam, eight, live in Blyth, Northumberland. “I’ve liked doing my taekwondo sessions over Zoom – we had a session with a world champion,” says Aadam. “I get bored of school work pretty fast and I’ve not been doing much.

I could never get bored in lockdown with other things because I have a laptop and Minecraft. “My friends and I communicate by letters – I got sent two! Me and my family do nearly two-hour walks every day.

Me and my daddy throw the frisbee all the way to the park. “We’ve done some chores; I pair the socks, but I don’t mind wearing odd socks. The thing I’ve really lost is Nandos.

We can’t go to it. As soon as it opens I’ll ask can we go, even if it’s nine in the morning.” “We get loads of work set every couple of days and I work through it all with a friend while we listen to music, and it’s quite fun,” says Zahra.

I’d like to get back to school because it can be boring at home doing the work. It will be nice to mix with everyone. We miss seeing our grandparents in Doncaster – we usually go there during half-term.”

‘I’m Aladdin and I’m in a lot of songs’

Dylan Harding, 11, from Penarth in South Wales, is in Year 7. “People won’t stop going on about the virus and it gets on my nerves.

Why can’t we talk about something nicer? “It’s been sad in lockdown not going to my drama classes at Talent Shack, because that’s the thing I look forward to on the weekend. We’ve been doing it over Zoom, rehearsing our scripts for Peter Pan and Aladdin.

I don’t have a big part in Peter Pan as I’m only a pirate, but in Aladdin, I’m Aladdin and I’m in a lot of songs so that’s much nicer. “I have good friends at school but my Talent Shack friends are more into the same things as me. When I first heard about lockdown I thought, “YES, no more school!” and then I realised we would be sent loads of work anyway and I’d have to home school, which is even worse.

They sent us way more work than we actually do in school. “I actually like real school more. It takes me a long time to do work, I find it quite hard and I work better in a group with my friends in the real classroom.

“I talk to my friends at weekends on my Xbox; we all play together. Lockdown has been boring me because we’re all with each other 24/7. It’s better now because now we’re allowed in other people’s gardens.

We’ve also seen nain [grandmother] two metres away in the front garden.

‘I miss my best friend’

Elsie Devereux, five, from -Maudseley in Lancashire, has been at school in her reception class, because she lives with her mother who is a key worker.

“School has felt different. My class is now smaller, there are seven people. I miss my best friend, Phoebe – she’s at home.

It was weird when she was at home but I had Jess, my other best friend at school, so that was nice. “We don’t need to stand far away from our teacher in reception. I’m really excited about my other friends coming back to school.

After school with mummy, we go in the paddling pool and do barbecues.”

‘Being sporty is a blessing’

Serena Grace, 17, from Norfolk, is in Year 12 studying A-levels in psychology, sociology & PE.

“A couple of weeks into lockdown I realised this would have a massive effect on my future. “When I found out my A-level mocks were cancelled, I was shocked. It means we can’t get the ‘feel’ of what it’s like.

I’ve had to teach myself the A-level content and do online lessons which can get confusing. “I’m a national sprinter and was meant to represent Great Britain in Germany this July, but that’s cancelled which is for the best. Being sporty is a blessing because it’s most definitely one of the things keeping me in a positive mindset.

“My main worry is exams, as no one knows exactly what’s going to happen.

Not being able to visit any university open days means I’m still unsure which university I want to go to next year.

“I am so excited to get back to training and go out with my friends again once it’s safe.”

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