Class of Covid: What next for the lockdown students now coronavirus restrictions have eased

ITV News Senior Correspondent John Ray catches up with the 'Class of Covid'

While July has been dominated by the lifting of restrictions, there is one group of people thinking less about so-called "freedom" - and more about their uncertain futures.

ITV News' Class of Covid series follows 12 young people, aged five to 25, whose lives have been disrupted during the pandemic.

Faiza, Thyra and Brandan are all at turning points in their lives - either freshly graduated or awaiting their results to head to the next stage.

Finishing one step of education should be a time of celebration, but for them there's also fear and anxiety.

'You don't realise how much fun you have until it's taken away from you'

Faiza, 15, is in a hurry to make up for time lost and memories missed thanks to the pandemic.

Alongside GCSE students across the country, she wasn't able to sit her exams so her grade will be determined by teacher assessment. The worry of Covid on top of that has made for a difficult year and half.

"It was quite frightening because you never know - am I going to get it? Am I going to survive it?"

For her it's more than whatever number she gets on a piece of paper, it's about everything else she's missed.

'You don't realise how much fun you have with your mates until it's taken away from you,' says Faiza. Credit: ITV News

"The biggest impact was isolation, obviously, the isolation from the outside world.

"You don't realise how much fun you have with your mates until it's taken away from you - and then you feel like there's no hope left."

Faiza heads to college in September, but the delay in lockdown easing means she's yet to even visit the place.

All of which has knocked her confidence.

"I missed out on all those months of learning, so it's just knocked me back a bit," she says.

But has hope: "Good things can come even if you're struggling - it's not always dark and misery."

"There's an element of fear that it is still something - and it is in its peak"

For A-level student Thyra, the fear of Covid continues to overshadow the end of her academic year - even as restrictions end.

"A lot of my friends are self-isolating or have Covid," Thyra says.

"I know more people now that have it than I did at the start of the pandemic."

Awaiting results is the only tradition her two years of Sixth Form will deliver on.

Everything else - the proms, the end of term rituals, the 18th birthday parties - have been cancelled. Even now, with restrictions eased, the rising number of cases has disrupted the summer months.

Thyra still doesn't feel safe, even if England's restrictions are easing. Credit: ITV News

Despite lockdown easing in England, she's been left with little to look forward to in the next step.

Thyra is hoping to head to Manchester Metropolitan University to study law and she's looked at plans to move to the city.

But if lectures are all online, as the university has signalled they could be, she may stay put at home to save on the cash.

"Is it worth paying for student accommodation if I'm going to be sat in a small room all day on a computer?"

Thyra says she can't understand why nightclubs are being reopened, but not lecture halls.

"It will just show that we are such a resilient society."

For Brandan, results day was the only celebration he's had in his final year of university.

He's left with a First but his last year of study was spent locked inside - no end of year celebrations, no partying, no group study, and campus left like a ghost town.

"I lived quite close to my university and it was so empty, it was quite eerie.

"It was a bit strange a bit sad because there's lots of people that I've just not seen again."

Even his graduation looks uncertain.

Some parts of life have returned to normal for the graduating students, after a year of lockdowns. Credit: ITV News

He'd hoped that the next stage in life might be easier, but finding a job proved tricky.

"You were seeing applications and there were literally thousands of people - and it was for any job."

Instead, he's signed on for a Masters degree - and hopes his year of study may be different this time around.

"It will just show that we are such a resilient society."