CHILDLINE ADVICE: Some pupils may be anxious about returning to school

Today, most children in England will be going back to school for the first time since before the Christmas break.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:00 am
Many children may feel anxious about returning to school.

While many will be excited at the prospect of seeing friends, getting back into a routine, or spending time away from home, others may feel anxious about returning.

At Childline, we know the reasons for this anxiety will very much depend on the young person.

One child told us: “I’m happy that we will have some normality back but I’m worried about what changes there will be because I don’t cope well with change and that’s scaring me.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Some children will be concerned about whether they’ve kept up with school work as well as their peers, and some will feel nervous about leaving the comparative safety of their home. There will be children who have suffered bereavements through the course of the pandemic, and others who will have seen an increase in family stress levels.

For those who were struggling in a school setting beforehand, because of bullying, friendship issues or other reasons, returning may not seem to be the positive prospect we all hope it would be. Of course, we want every child to be back in school, and happy and healthy and thriving. But we also need to be prepared to tell them that it’s ok if they’re struggling, or anxious, or confused about their future and the world they’re growing up in.

As adults, we need to reassure them that it’s normal to have these feelings, and that the best way of moving forward and starting to feel better is to talk about their worries with someone they trust, or to call Childline for confidential support and advice.

And some children will need more support to recover from the effects of this pandemic on their lives. That’s why we’ve called on the Government to put emotional and mental health support for all children at the heart of its plans for children returning to education, this year and in the years that follow.

Let’s start by listening to children. Young people don’t want to be the ‘COVID generation’ – they want to be the generation that thrived in the wake of the pandemic.