Middleagedmum.com: Schools out forever

last day at primary school

The last day at primary school

After months  of stress, starting with AS levels, followed by visiting and applying for university, revising and doing A Levels, teen daughter has finally done her last exam and finished school forever.

We can ALL breath a sigh of relief as she throws away the piles of revision cards, bins the grey marl leisure wear she has lived in for the last four months, opens her curtains, tidies her bedroom and gets out and about to enjoy life. M.A.D has plans to for the spare room that has served as an art room for the past two years and I can’t wait to see my pale, worried, usually fun loving girl, laugh again.

Up until sixth form, I felt really lucky that both my kids had got through school with relatively little stress. Their cosy, slightly hippy (very hippy actually, I sometimes forget I live in Hackney) primary school was a loving, inclusive place that embraced all cultures and taught them to be emotionally intelligent as well as to read and write.

Their secondary school was at first a bit scary and opened all of our eyes to what people have to endure in life – an inner city comprehensive can be challenging for pupils and staff –  but they enjoyed their time there and came out with good exam results and a group of friends that they will most certainly know for the rest of their lives.

Sixth form turned out to be something to be endured rather enjoyed, as a hectic social life conflicted with intense workloads and part time jobs. As a parent, sixth form can be challenging – try telling your 18 year old (adult?) to do their homework/revision/sketch book – but there is part of me that is sad I no longer have children at school.

As children grow up our contact with school decreases and as the cosy chats with other parents, play dates, school trips, sports days, plays and concerts disappear, there is a sense of loss, as there are fewer opportunities to meet their friends and be in touch with their daily lives.

School days are special times that inform who we are as adults and how we fit in to society. And it’s not just our children who learn and change. I developed an increased sense of community, more informed political views and a desire to give back as a result of my children’s time at school.

As I look back I’m glad I was able to go on all those school trips, organise year six camping trips (which I am informed still happen), become a school governor and attend all those small, but important landmarks in my kids lives. They were special times and we had lots of laughs and made great friends along the way.

So today as my daughter wakes up with a monumental hangover and a feeling of relief that it’s all over, I feel both happy and sad. Today is the first day of the rest of her life and we are free from the tyranny of term times and exams forever –  but a tiny little bit of me is mourning the end of her childhood.

It seems like only yesterday I was welling up at the thought of leaving her in reception, but I have no doubt she will be fine, just as she was on that first day at school when she looked up from the sandpit and said to me confidently “you can go now mummy”.


  • Julia says:

    I have a lump in my throat and will make the most of No 3 child’s last few years at school!

  • steffi says:

    Amazing. Well done to Flo. X

  • Nicola says:

    You have taken the words out of my mouth. No 2 son had his final biology A2 today. We’re now done with school and I am experiencing the contradictory thoughts of ‘ thank god that’s over’ and, wow, where have those years gone. We’ll raise a glass to the end of school days, the end of first year at uni for no 1 son and I will shed a slight tear or two for the passing of my boys’ childhoods. I’m so done with schools though – the relentlessness of the exam factory that is sixth form has been a real strain for everyone. Bring back the days when in the lower sixth at least, you could kick up your heels a bit, grow, develop and then knuckle down for the last year. I

  • Osnat says:

    Omg Jane that lovely photo brings back so many beautiful memories from my kids days at William Patten which was my favorite part of their childhood. You couldn’t have summed it up better. With the youngest of my two already a year out of high school….it really is a different world. For us there is sadness mixed with joy, worry mixed with hope. They are officially adults now and it’s up to them to carve their own way in the world. All we can do is stand by and watch and offer our support when it’s needed.

  • Tiffany says:

    My oldest will finish high school this time next year, and I’m already wondering how it went so fast – it doesn’t seem that long ago that he started primary school … We’re gearing up for the stressful year ahead.

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