8 Awesome Ideas to End the School Year

With the end of another unusual school year quickly approaching, students are preparing to say goodbye to teachers and friends. Whether you’re looking to plan a virtual or socially distanced class send-off, here’s how to keep the end-of-the-year celebrations alive!
8 Awesome Ideas to End the School Year
By Carli Allan
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It’s nearly 12 months since we waved off students in virtual graduation ceremonies and car parades due to school closures at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, while life may be returning to some kind of normal in many countries, restrictions still mean that leavers’ assemblies, parties, teacher pranks, shirt signings and group photos are a non-starter.

Whether your child or student is moving from primary to secondary, or finishing their A Levels or IB Diploma and heading off to university, they need some kind of closure. While they may have been robbed of some of their end-of-year fun, students can still enjoy new and creative ways of saying goodbye to teachers and friends.

To help you plan your year-end activities, the editors at WhichSchoolAdvisor have put together a list of ideas for online and live events to end the 2020-21 academic year.

Virtual Graduation Party

Host a Zoom or Google Meet graduation that all parents and students can attend from home. Create a school-themed background for everyone to use at the event, show an end of the year class slideshow, host a Kahoot quiz, and plan an awards ceremony.

Make the event feel special by asking students to dress to impress – they can even wear caps and gowns. Why not invite a guest speaker (a local celebrity) to surprise the students. And, if you have any gaming-savvy seniors, then you could try to organise a graduation ceremony in the block-building video game Minecraft, an idea started last year by a group of students in Japan.

Car Parade

Have a class graduation car parade where all families can drive past the school gates. Students can jump in the car with water shooters and blasters at the ready and soak a line-up of teachers (with extra points for the Principal!). The front of the school can be decorated with end of year banners designed by students in class time.

Balloon Pop Countdown

Here’s one for the teachers to enjoy an unusual countdown to the last day of term. For the last 10 days of school, write down a different activity (Crazy Sock Day, Pyjama Day, Movie & Popcorn Day, Extended Lunch Break Day etc) and put it inside one of 10 balloons, which are kept in the classroom. Pop a balloon every day and get the students to do the activity.

Class Time Capsule

Leaving school is the very definition of the end of an era...so why not arrange for your child to leave a something special for future generations to discover? You'll need a weather proof container, a place to bury it (make sure the school keeps a record of where!) and a plan for what to include. To make things easier, we found this brilliant time capsule kit on the teaching resources website, Twinkl.

Virtual School Trip

While the usual end of year trip may be cancelled, why not take your students or children to one of the many virtual museum or zoo trips, watch a West End Show, or experience a theme park using Virtual Reality videos. Build the excitement up until the visit by giving students a ‘what to pack’ list and giving them clues to guess the destination.

For an out of this world experience, you could go on a tour of an International Space Station. Click here for the NASA International Space Station tour. 

Click here to enjoy National Theatre stage shows with performances for schools including Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, Peter Pan and Treasure Island for younger audiences, to One Man, Two Guvnors and Frankenstein for older children.

Discover five of America’s most beautiful parks, from Kenai Fjords in Alaska to Dry Tortugas in Florida. Click here for the American National Parks tours. 

Or click here to experience Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando for a host of thrilling rollercoasters and rides.

Outdoor Prom

Where the weather allows, and where restrictions permit gatherings outdoors, take the celebrations to an outdoor venue such as the school playing field. It may be recommended that students wear face-masks (you can call it a Mask-querade Ball), and there may be limits on seating, food and dancing but children will get the chance to swap their PE kits for Prom dresses and enjoy a red carpet arrival.

Class Bubble Graduations

Schools can split up graduation ceremonies into smaller ones for class bubbles over the course of a day, and live stream the event on Zoom for parents to watch. Include pre-recorded speeches from guests and teachers, as well as performances from  student bands, dram groups etc.

The Last Pick-up

For the last-ever school run, collect your child (sniff, sniff) in a car that is decorated with balloons, stick an End of School banner on the bumper, cover the back seat in streamers, and stock up on their favourite snacks – while playing School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Celebration by Kool & the Gang, or Get the Party Started by Pink for an in-car disco.

Then, once you get home, surprise your child by hanging a Here Comes Summer or School Is Out banner across the front gate or door for them to run through – just have your phone ready to take the action shot!

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