In Dudley, a Midlands town with a rich industrial heritage, the Link Academy was brave enough to let the cameras in to document this unprecedented time.
This new observational series documents their lives as they turn 16, and prepare to take their GCSEs and to make major decisions about their future, all in the midst of the global pandemic.
The pupils speak of their ambitions and optimism for the future, mixed with their anxiety about the potential longer-term consequences of such a turbulent year, and the natural trials and tribulations of teenage life - relationships, parties and establishing their own identities under such extraordinary circumstances.
Callum lives with his mum (Carla), dad (Adam aka Boff) and two brothers Kyle and Tyler; the Winwoods. They are a tight-knit family who are proud of their Black Country roots. Callum’s dad works for a local upholstery company and his mum is currently a stay-at-home mum.
Aaminah is the head girl at The Link Academy. She’s politically and socially aware and likes to use her voice to implement change at home and school.
Sade lives with her mum and younger brother Nye, who also attends The Link Academy. Her mum, Sam, is a single mum and part time carer who has done everything she can to instil a good work ethic into her daughter. Sade enjoys lounging at home, spending time with her family and hanging out with friends. She puts a lot of time and effort into looking good when she goes out but also has a strong work ethic and is determined to succeed in life.
Kara is Sade’s best friend and you can always rely on Kara to say it like it is. She lives with her mum, Katie, and two younger siblings Alisha (12) and Josh (7). Kara has a close relationship with her mum. Katy was only 16 when she had Kara and wants her daughter to follow a different path than she did.
Grace lives with her mum (Paula), dad (Paul) and older brother Tom. Grace is the youngest of four siblings. Grace’s dad works full time as a plant manager and her mum works part time as an accountant.#
Sixteen: The Class Of 2021 airs later this month on Channel 4.