The day of the long goodbye

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
Skipping the goodbyes? I work, perhaps, in an unusual school - one in which Year 11 continued lessons right up until their last day on May 25. Far from the "goodbyes equal upset" syndrome which Victoria Neumark describes in "They took our last day away from us" (TES, June 8) our 310-strong cohort enjoyed a memorable and very pleasant last day.

Our semi-rural comprehensive is high-achieving but caters for a full range of abilities and comes from a traditional standpoint. On their last day, our Year 11 students did not want to write on their clothes. They come "dressed in their best" and all attend (and join in) a church servce. They are then treated to a buffet lunch with live music.

The afternoon is spent with an entertaining speaker, everyone receives a certificate marking the end of Year 11 and plenty of photographs are taken. Students leave the school feeling happy and rather special - and certainly in the right frame of mind for the examinations that are to come. Yes, we do work hard to get it right - such events are managed, they do not just happen - but the payoff for our efforts is tremendous.

Gillian Gee

Deputy headteacher

Thomas Alleyne's High School



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