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Post COVID-19 back to school

The British Psychological Society (BPS) delivers new guidance on supporting psychological needs of children as they go back to school

28 May 2020

We've published new guidance to support education professionals to meet the psychological needs of children as they plan for their return to school during the Coronavirus crisis.

 

‘Back to School: using psychological perspectives to support re-engagement and recovery’ complements the UK and national government advice on the return to school for pupils during the pandemic and offers a psychological perspective on the process of re-engaging children and young people with school. 

The guidance considers the challenges at government, community, school, family and child levels, and offers recommendations for action. 

Emphasising the need to recognise the multiple roles that schools play in the life of a child, family and community, the paper urges professionals to think of the school as part of a wider system. It highlights the importance of supporting the view that everyone in that system has their part to play, from the individual through to government departments, to help ease the transition back to school-based learning.

Vivian Hill, programme director of professional educational psychology training at the UCL Institute of Education and chair of the BPS division of educational and child psychology, said:

“Covid-19 has forced us all to face big, unexpected transitions in our everyday lives, not least for children who haven’t been to school during the pandemic. Heading back to school as lockdown eases is a key transition that needs to be carefully considered for all involved in the process, with children’s needs and wellbeing placed at its heart.

 “Understandably, any child returning to school may experience a range of emotions, from feeling happy, excited and relieved to be back, to feeling anxious, afraid or angry. In most cases a whole community response aimed at promoting positive reintegration and building resilience will help to resolve their difficulties. For others, the use of school-based social emotional and mental health resources and expertise may be needed. 

“We hope our guidance offers professionals the psychological insights and key recommendations they need as they plan for children’s return to school and that they can use them to help reduce the stresses this transition could pose to create positive new beginnings.” 

Read the full guidance on supporting the psychological needs of children and young people as they go back to school.

  

The purpose of the ‘My Journey…walking the path together’ journal, is to give children and young people the opportunity to reflect and share some of the often, overwhelming emotions and experiences they will have had whilst in lockdown, and may continue to experience once back at school.

The booklet also aims to encourage children and young people in upper KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5 to reflect and identify times of strength and resulting growth, and consider how these strengths may be positively used in the future.

The discussion and resulting activities, will give the children and young people and opportunity to share and understand the commonality of many of the emotions. This sharing and reflecting, will help them to identify emotions and the resulting feelings and behaviours. By understanding the emotions, it may help them to deal with them and move forwards in a positive way. To understand many of their emotions are normal.

Each activity can be supported with more in depth curriculum input - depending on the time available.

Click here for the supporting notes to accompany this booklet.

We have also tailored this booklet to make it suitable for KS1. Click here to view.

Pandemic measurement survey

 

Anna Freud: Schools in Mind

Schools in Mind is a free network for school staff and allied professionals which shares practical, academic and clinical expertise regarding the wellbeing and mental health issues that affect schools. Click here to see their COVID19 resources.

 

British Red Cross

A history of kindness study plan

Living together with kindness study plan

Messages of kindness study plan

 

GHLL - Back to school

General advice, managing transition back to school, governors and staff support, setting up a post COVID action plan to support children and build on the curriculum.

Back to school.

 

Education Support

Sometimes work (or just life) can be tough. Print this poster for your staffroom from Education Support.

They offer a 24-hour free and confidential helpline for people working in education.

 

Year 6 to Year 7 secondary school transition: Ideas for schools

The summer term is traditionally the time of year when schools plan a raft of activities and events to support pupils moving from one phase of their education to the next. This year transition will inevitably look different and present a challenge on many levels.

Pupils will be dealing with significant loss as the rites of passage that are normally associated with this transition have been taken away. Here are some specific ideas and tips to help support pupils in managing this time when the usual transition arrangements will not be in place. In addition to this, activities and suggestions targeted for the whole school will be relevant.