Back to School
As many children and young people gradually return to school over the coming weeks there is one thing we can be sure of, they will all have had a unique experience of the recent period of lockdown. This experience will inform how they feel about returning to school and what support they may need to manage the transition back to learning in the classroom.
For schools, the starting point must be to listen to what the children and young people have to say. Some will be able to openly communicate their excitement or worries; others will find this more difficult and will require help to find a way to communicate how they feel or what they need. There will also be some who will not make it into school for a range of reasons. It will be vital in the weeks ahead to ensure that this group of children, young people and their families are supported and understood.
One group who may face challenges returning to school will be children and young people with medical and mental health conditions. Their conditions will be varied and many may be complex. The pandemic will have made life even more challenging than usual. What is vital for a positive start to the new school year, whether that is in school or starting with learning from home, is that we listen to understand how it has been and what they need now to continue to learn. One place to start is with a review of the Individual Health Care Plan and an understanding of the health condition itself.
This is a great place to start the conversation with the student and their family, it gives a framework and may help start a conversation about how things can be changed, improved or adapted.
For all students the foundation for successfully reengaging in learning and school will be in feeling safe, secure and mentally healthy. There are a wide range of resources available to help schools plan and embed mental health and wellbeing at the core of what they do. This really is a time to ensure that all schools are mentally healthy places for all their students and staff.
You can find links to some of the available resources here:
Information and resources focusing on a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing
A wide range of resources to plan and support student and staff mental health and wellbeing
Sign up for regular emails with information and tips on supporting wellbeing in schools
Resources developed to support a return to the classroom with a focus on individual needs and support.
Practical advice, activities and support from the Mental Health Foundation