How teachers at Mortimer Community College are saying goodbye to Year 11 students in lockdown

Teachers at a South Shields school have created a virtual leaver’s book for those students who won't be returning in September.

Staff at Mortimer Community College have written moving messages to Year 11 pupils who won’t have a chance to say their goodbyes due to the pandemic.

At this time of year teachers would have been busy preparing students for their GCSE exams, signing year books and wishing them well for their future.

But due to the outbreak of coronavirus the school has been closed since March and staff and students won’t be able to take part in the usual traditions such as signing leaver’s books.

Teachers at Mortimer Community College (pictured before the lockdown) have created a virtual leaver's book for Year 11 students.

Instead, staff have found a different way of celebrating the pupils as they move onto the next stage of their lives.

They have created a virtual year book, which includes handwritten messages from each teacher for the pupils to download as a keepsake from their time at the school.

Deputy head Joanne Thornton said: “It's a sad time as we reach the end of what would have been the students' GCSE exams.

“Staff across Mortimer would have been preparing students for those exams and wishing them luck for the future, but this year unfortunately we haven't been able to wish them well and sign their leavers' books, as we have in previous years.

“To celebrate their transition on to the next stage of their lives we have created a virtual leavers' book, so the students can download and keep a copy.”

Mortimer Community College head teacher Simon Hignett included a poem he had written for students, while and in her message, Mrs Thornton urged them to “keep smiling” and said it had “been a pleasure” to teach them.

The staff have been supporting all year groups while the school has been closed during the lockdown, with online activities and challenges to keep them entertained at home.

Mrs Thornton added: “The leaver’s book is something that the kids really appreciate at the end of the year and we just wanted them to know that we are thinking of them. We are still here and supporting them, just from a distance.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.