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Impact of Lockdown on Young People’s Future

64.8% of young people say that COVID-19 has not changed their future plans for what they want to do when they leave school. Of those leaving school, just 38.5% are feeling confident about their next steps. The majority are worried they won’t get into their chosen university / college, or are unsure what to do next.

“It will affect the job industry and work experience part because for what I want to do when I leave school, I need a lot of work experience. I’m also concerned about how it will affect my family.”

“Feel like I’m going to fail all my S4 exams and then, because it’s too hard to study at home, I will then go on to fail my S5 exams.”

What young people are telling us about changes to plans for leaving school:

“I’m starting to think I’m not good at things or that my family don’t think I can do the things I want.”

“I worry I will not achieve qualifications in school if I’m expected to use online learning so I will be disadvantaged.”

“I don’t know what qualifications I will be able to achieve in 5th and 6th year if part-time/home learning continues.”

What young people are telling us about concerns for leaving school:

“I haven’t gotten the chance to even see my university yet so I don’t know the layout. I’m worried I won’t be prepared.”

“Just wish I finished getting help from my school for applying for an apprenticeship.”

“I’m quite worried that I won’t get into my first choice for university so I have decided to do summer school for my second choice for safety but it’s quite hard.”

What young people are telling us about the long-term impact of lockdown:

“I feel that lockdown has affected how I will cope with National 5 subjects. I was already worried and now I’m even more concerned. I think that the pressure of a pandemic, going back to school and my recent home life issues, including being kicked out, will be too much stress and strain on my mental health which will lead me to not doing great on my National 5s. This means that if I don’t pass I won’t get the amount of Highers I need for college or uni.”

“Feel like I’m going to fail all my S4 exams and then, because it’s too hard to study at home, I will then go on to fail my S5 exams.”

“With the incoming recession jobs will be much harder to get and this could potentially destroy all my plans for life and might throw me into poverty depending on the continued response from the government. Also, the fact that the school year ended prematurely and without a proper farewell was demoralising.”

What young people are telling us about MCR Mentoring:

“I think MCR is a big part of how I have evolved positively in the school. I appreciate everything my coordinator has done for me and know a weight got lifted having MCR through my school years.”

“My mentor has done amazing at assigning me with activities and resources to keep me occupied. I think I just need to work on my own motivation to keep active. They have pushed me to go on more walks which I have really enjoyed and they have chatted to me a lot about university and my worries.”

“Since meeting my mentor I’ve had such a better mindset than ever before. I used to be stressed about exams all the time and I had no confidence in myself at all but my mentor has helped me realise that I need to start believing in myself and do what’s best for me instead of putting other people first. If it wasn’t for my mentor, I think this year at school would have been a lot more difficult for me.”

What young people are telling us about support needed in the next year:

“For the people still attending school I think it’s important for them to access learning equipment though their MCR coordinators to allow their brains to keep functioning through this time. I feel like I am given tonnes of support which eases my worries about leaving school so suddenly and moving on with my life.”

“I think everyone in 4th, 5th and 6th year should be given the chance to repeat the year if they want to.”

“Every week I would always be excited to see my mentor and talk about how our weeks have went. My mentor was even helping me prepare for my prelims and she made me calm and made it easier for me as she provided me with one-on-one help.”

What young people are telling us about how they are feeling overall:

“I just keep trying to move forward and be happy. It’s hard but I don’t tell anyone because I’d rather keep everyone happy. I’ve been trying to stay positive but nothing is working so I just stay up thinking about it.”

“My lockdown experience has been the hardest. I thought it would be okay but it hasn’t. My mental health has just went down one big hill. I have lost so many friendships, so it’s been a really challenging time for me.”

“I’m hoping that when we go back to school, students don’t get shouted at for not doing the work teachers give us. It’s been very hard mentally and I hope the teachers understand that. Some people get it hard at home, they don’t need it from the school.”

“I really appreciate having my mentor in this time. I think everyone should have mentors as I know without them lockdown would have been a lot more of a struggle. I think people just need someone to talk to and communicate with through times like these and be able to share their circumstances and have a laugh.”

General comments:

“I feel like this has made me want to stick with what I want to do even more. I had a talk with our school’s Careers Advisor and she asked if I had a plan B and I really didn’t want to have a plan B. I want to stick to what I want and go for it.“

“It will be harder to establish a good routine with part-time learning and I feel with the part-time learning, I may not be able to spend time with my friends because they may not be in the same days. I also feel a bit set-back on my journey towards the future and worry that next year’s prelims and exams may be affected because of all that is going on.”

“I am worried about my predicted grades and I am unsure if I will meet the entry requirements.”

“As I need specific results to get a place in college, I do not know if I have even passed. Also COVID-19 can ruin my future plans of being in the travel industry.”

“I am only going into fourth year, however I am concerned about the eventual impact this might have when I apply to university or college.”

“I think lockdown has made me realise to stick in at school and never give up on something you want to achieve or your goal.”

“I still want to follow the same career path as before, it’s just going to take me longer than planned due to expected exam results and fears.”

“I’m still completely focused on uni/college.”

“A lot of people have died and the entire world might go into another depression or due to the lack of teacher help, I might fail my exams.”

“I want to stay on till S6. I’m S4 now going into S5 and thinking about the future. Leaving school is still hard and questionable as it’s all going to change.“

“How it will affect the job industry and work experience part because for what I want to do when I leave school, I need a lot of work experience. I’m also concerned about how it will affect my family.”

“I feel like I will get more stressed and anxious about school than before. I’m also worried about how I will behave towards teachers. Being under extra pressure can make me be rude towards my teachers even in the past before lockdown.”

“I would love to see my mentor again as she has provided a lot of support and has made me feel safe and happy around her.”

“I honestly think lockdown has completely changed my mindset, but at the moment I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Knowing MCR was there and having check ups on me every now and again made me feel a lot less stressed.”

“Mentors are a good thing for young people. MCR Pathways is probably the best thing that I have got from school as I have got my Duke of Edinburgh. My coordinator has made time and effort for every single person he has worked with even now I’m leaving school this year, I will be up seeing him every so often for a catch up.”

“I would have loved to be able to meet my MCR mentor out of school. I think it would really help my mental health to get out and communicate with them as they have helped me through a lot. I also think there should be more support for school leavers as if they are like me they were nervous about university before lockdown and lockdown has made that anxiety worse.”

“I have known my mentor for my whole journey through school. I would still like to keep in touch with my mentor for as long as possible as we built a relationship over the years and would be upsetting if contact was just cut off.”

“Once in lockdown, I didn’t realise how privileged I was and how much I took for granted. I’m happy my MCR mentor is still in contact with me.”

“I have been supported by MCR Pathways and don’t know what I would do without their guidance and support.”

“I think the 6th year leavers should have a chance to be offered to come back as they might not get the grades they want due to difficulties that isn’t their doing or their fault. If they don’t want it, so be it, but I think it should at least be offered. Coming from a new 5th year as of this year, I know how stressful it can be.”

“Lockdown has been difficult and hard. I just want a normal school routine back. I’m struggling without my school routine, online class is just you sitting in your house on your phone or laptop that I do all the time and get very bored very easily.”

“My main issue is a lack of equipment. It has really stunted what I can do.”

“We must do anything to ensure this generation gets a proper education or else who will take care of the economy next?”

“I feel like this lockdown period is or has affected a lot of young people, including me, and it would be great if we had some support with internet access and online mentoring. Hope to see you all as soon as possible. It’s been a difficult time as people are passing away and I don’t have any contact with my friends so I don’t know how they are.”

“Lots of young people are struggling with mental health and don’t have any support so I think it would be good to be able to set out a support system where people can meet a mentor or MCR Pathways Coordinator face-to-face while following the rules.”

“Lockdown has made me closer with family and it has also made me argue a lot more with family as they are the only people I see really. If you’re having a bad day, they’re going to get the attitude which normally ends in an argument.”

“The struggles of day-to-day life have been difficult. Not being able to leave the house much to see friends has really affected me, but being able to stay in contact over social media has really benefited me. Along with the constant engagement with support staff from my school checking in, it has helped to reassure me that this is only temporary and things will become more ‘normal’ eventually.”

“I’ve had so much support from not only my mentor, but my Pathways Coordinator as well. Even if it’s just having a little chat once a week to see how I’m feeling, it’s made such a difference to my last year at school and also made me learn a lot about myself.”

“It feels as though the world has changed so much around me that I feel as though I’m the only one feeling empty and lost. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it’s really weird as this situation has never occurred before.”

“I really appreciate having my mentor in this time. I think everyone should have mentors.”

“I feel very lucky to have been part of this programme and if anyone gets the opportunity to take part, make sure you do, because it helps you so much knowing that if anything goes wrong or you’re struggling, you always have somebody to speak to.”

“Never thought I’d say this but I’m really missing school. Just wish I could have spent my last few months with my friends as that’s me left. I can also not thank my MCR coordinator enough for what he has done for me over the years and he’s made me a better person than I was when he first met me.”