Turn the clock back to January and with mock examinations looming and GCSE and A Levels examinations on the horizon, year 11 and 13 students around the country were looking to the middle of May as the start of study leave and to June for the light at the end-of-exams tunnel. Covid 19 has certainly put an end to all that and whilst there may have been a few brief moments of relief at the cancellations of exams, for most young people, this change of plan has been like having a rug pulled from under their feet. Now, with lessons over and lockdown continuing, this dreamt of time has lost some of its shine.

However, at Moreton Hall, new challenges have become new opportunities. Mindful that these next few weeks must feel like chasm, with lockdown providing additional challenges, the independent school near Oswestry has developed two unique programmes for the year 11 and year 13 students, both created to bridge the gap to the next stage in the girls’ educational journey.

For year 11 the programme includes time reflecting on the GCSE years with virtual team building fun to celebrate existing friendships, whilst forging new ones with the girls from around the region who will be joining Moreton Sixth in September. Then, after half term, the countdown to A Levels begins with introductions to A Level lessons, study skills sessions and a focus on an independent research project. Plenty of fun is on the agenda too with Cookery, Sport and Well-being activities. Finally, in the last week of term, the annual Moreton Sixth Induction programme begins, our one stop shop for everything the Upper Fifth need to ensure they hit the ground running when they return to Moreton Sixth in September.

For year 13, the school consulted their Old Moreton alumni and asked for their thoughts on some of the things they wish they had known as they left school to embark on university, college courses or gap year adventures. Their insights provide the framework for the year 13 Bridging the Gap programme and many of them are joining us either live on zoom or with a pre-recorded contribution from their homes around the Oswestry area and across Shropshire.

An additional thread running through the six week programme is being provided by an inspirational OM, Jo Chavasse, who left Moreton in 2009 and went on to study Economics before launching her business Freckles Childcare in May 2015. Jo’s passion lies in supporting and training nannies and young adults to be their best selves and she has brought that passion to her Bridging The Gap Challenge Programme: 12 sessions of essential life skills which the girls will certainly value in the years ahead.

Reflecting on the Bridging the Gap programmes, Moreton Hall principal, George Budd commented: ‘Both of these courses are entirely new, built from the ground up to best prepare our students for Sixth Form and life beyond Moreton. It has been truly remarkable to see them develop with input from staff, students, parents and Old Moretonians. Opportunities abound for our Upper Five and Upper Sixth in the coming weeks to develop the skills they’ll need to see them through their coming years of study.’