Returning To School

As some children and young people return to school and/or prepare to return following lockdown, many children will be looking forward to seeing their friends and teachers again but others may feel unsure about another big change, particularly with schools being set up differently in order to allow for social distancing. Some may feel worried, concerned and/or confused about this transition and changes to the normal structure and routine of school.

For children with an acquired brain injury (ABI), this may be even more challenging, as they may have additional difficulties in understanding, processing or managing the changes at school and the transition back to school-based-education after being at home for a long period of time. Even for children who may have been attending school, the changes in the school environment as more children return may be unsettling and difficult to understand. Some children with an ABI may have difficulty in interpreting, expressing, and talking about their thoughts and feelings relating to their anxieties or concerns, and may present in a change in behaviour.  

Below you can find links to a number of resources that may be helpful to you in supporting a child/young person when returning to school. You can also access our own guide to the EHCP process here.

It is important to note that the links and information below are general resources, and all schools and education settings will have their own plans regarding children returning and any ongoing support. It is therefore important to liaise directly with your child’s own school and local education authority regarding their own specific plans and what local support is available in your area.  

  • Government webpage with information and guidance regarding education and re-opening of schools following lockdown

  • Government guidance on supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

  • Mentally Healthy Schools – Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – They provide a number of toolkits and resources to support children and young people’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic including:
    • Top Ten Tips for Coping with Change
    • Toolkits focussed on mental health and wellbeing, building resilience, managing transitions

  • Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak including resources for supporting children and young people

  • Place 2 Be Coronavirus: updates, advice and support  

  • Young Minds – Tips, advice and guidance on where young people can get support for their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

British Psychological Society (BPS) Resources – these resources have been developed to support professionals and parents/carers in supporting young people in education during the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to school.

  • British Psychological Society (BPS) – A resilience and coping framework for supporting transitions back to school

  • British Psychological Society (BPS) – Back to school: Using psychological perspectives to support re-engagement and recovery.

  • British Psychological Society (BPS) – The Psychology of Play: The Division of Educational Psychology has produced this video to provide advice for parents and carers on the psychology behind playtime and how it helps children and young people manage their emotions.

Information written and provided by Dr Emily Talbot, Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Paediatric Neuropsychology