Disclaimer: all quotes in this article are direct opinions and statements from students from Colchester and the surrounding areas aged 15-18. All statistics are from controlled surveys of students from Colchester and surrounding areas, and part of primary research conducted by the author. Names have been changed for anonymity.

As COVID-19 continues to twist and warp our lives, many aspects we are accustomed to still continue, despite the challenges. A significant area of life that has been changed dramatically, is education. Throughout the first lockdown, when schools were closed (with only few exceptions), a massive majority of the student population had to partake in remote or online learning. This, although completely unavoidable, has an impact on the overall education on students, who may struggle or be left with gaps in their knowledge that they would otherwise not have.

                When asked in a survey, 78% of students said they felt they don't learn as much with remote learning, and they doubt their performance in exams more than they would if they were in the classroom. Evie from Colchester said "technical difficulties and teachers not being fully trained to deal with remote lessons can be a big disruption". This raises issues many students deal with; internet connection is not always 100% reliable, and teachers may not be completely confident in delivering lessons virtually. This then reflects on students, leading to lack of confidence and understanding in their education- this could be costly when it comes to their exams. In places, virtual learning is something that desperately needs improvement; students believe it has potential if efficiently executed.

                While schools are open currently, and cell biologist Dr Jennifer Rohn at UCL believes this something that should continue, some students still partake in online learning. For example, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who have been in contact with others who have tested postive. A GCSE student from Braintree shared her opinion; "for me, I need that human contact in order to really understand a topic. With remote learning I easily get confused- yes, I can email my teacher for help, but they won't answer instantly which doesn't help me. I'm not getting the most of my education and it's really showing in my grades". With GCSEs looming, this student, and many of their peers' futures are at risk. Wales and Scotland have both cancelled 2021 exams, however England hasn't yet done the same. Can we really let down a generation of young people? Their futures are not expendable- surely they deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.

              Obviously, remote learning is an essential facet we need to adopt, but it demands consideration and improvement. Leniency, thought and support is required to allow these students to achieve their full potential. We can't forget about our young people.