GCSE pupils get ‘shirty’ as Morpeth School prepares for graduations

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 May 2015

Putting their backs into it

Putting their backs into it

Morpeth Secondary

What happens when teenagers in London’s East End break up from school for the half-term in the middle of taking their GCSEs before graduation? They sign each other’s shirts!

Mums are banned from washing these school shirts!Mums are banned from washing these school shirts!

That’s what 230 Year-11 pupils at Bethnal Green’s Morpeth School did when they took part in a mass-signing of school shirts, marking the beginning of the countdown to their graduation.

The pupils, who are mid-way through taking their exams, took a break to sign their farewells on friends’ shirts at lunchtime yesterday.

“Shirt signing is a rite of passage that’s very much part of school culture,” Headteacher Jemima Reilly explained.

“Fortunately we have the space for all pupils to come together in one place, to write their messages and share their memories.

Pupils get shirty over graduationPupils get shirty over graduation

“It’s a touching experience, and we were lucky it turned out to be a gloriously sunny afternoon for the mass-signing to take place outside.”

Her pupils officially leave when their exams are over—so it was almost a last chance for the 16-year-olds to put their markers on their pals’ shirts as a momento.

Most were quite emotional, like Khalid who said: “I’m not going to see the friends anymore that I’ve known for four or five years. I’m going to keep my shirt and frame it.”

Classmate Zannatul said: “It’s so sad—I’ve had these friends for five years. I’ll also miss my teachers.

Arresting sight... getting your collar feltArresting sight... getting your collar felt

“I’m going to put my shirt with the rest of my uniform away in a cupboard.”

Another, Naseem, added ruefully: “I’ll miss everyone here—I’m going to hang my shirt on the wall.”

Morpeth’s official Friday graduation ceremony is on June 19.

And what of ‘the great unwashed’? No word yet from mums about the teenagers storing the unwashed shirts in their bedroom.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser