Helping children back to school
It’s been a challenging year for children and young people which is why it’s so important that we do what we can to help support their mental health and wellbeing as they return to the classroom. On this page we have provided a range of useful resources for parents, carers, teachers, children and young people. Some of these include links to the latest government guidance, tips on how to get back into a routine, important information on potential changes to the school setting and advice on dealing with anxiety.
From 8 March all children and students should return to school or college and attendance will be mandatory. Secondary school pupils may be admitted on a phased basis, to enable all pupils to be offered COVID-19 lateral flow tests.
Existing protective measures in schools, colleges and universities have been strengthened with adults and students in year 7 and above advised to wear face coverings in all indoor settings where social distancing cannot be maintained, including classrooms as an extra temporary precaution.
Pupils not undergoing testing should attend school in line with the school’s phased return arrangements. If you are a parent of a child who is vulnerable or if you are a critical worker, your child should continue to be able to attend school throughout, unless they receive a positive test result.
We know some parents will be feeling anxious about their children returning to school or college. If you have concerns about your child attending, you should discuss these with your school or college.
Latest government guidance for parents on early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19
Information on rapid lateral flow testing for secondary school pupils and staff
Order a home test kit if you do not have symptoms
Visit a test site if you do not have symptoms
Get a free NHS test if you have symptoms
Help and advice videos
Back to School video
We've created a video for primary and secondary school students, talking about what they can expect when they return to school. We've also provided tips to help them along the way.
Zones of regulation workshop for teachers
Emotion coaching workshop for parents and teachers
Anxiety and Wellbeing Workshop for Young People
A workshop for young people on managing anxiety as they transition back to school in September. Delivered by Children and Young People Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, Katerina Stavraka and Maria Valdrighi.
Worry and Wellbeing Workshop for Young People
A workshop for young people on school who will be transitioning from primary to secondary school. Delivered by Children and Young People Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, Miah Zubeda and Maria Valdrighi.
Anxiety and parenting workshop
A workshop for parents on how to best manage their children's anxiety. Delivered by Children and Young People's Wellbeing Practitioners, Ana Duarte and Ruth Cooper.
Every Mind Matters: A message for parents, children and young people
Davina McCall, Marvin Humes, Sean Fletcher, Katie Piper and Edith Bowman, read extracts from best-selling author Charlie Mackesy’s book, "The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse" to help inspire parents, children and young people to speak more openly about their mental health and to ask for help when they need it. Mental health support and advice
Connecting well: We answer your COVID lockdown parenting questions
Even with the best intentions, parenting can be testing at times. COVID-19 has added an extra layer of complexity that hasn’t been easy to navigate.
Child psychotherapist Laverne Antrobus answers some of parents question and others:
• as a parent, how do you get “me” time during lockdown?
• has your kids’ sibling rivalry taken on serious tones during lockdown?
• how do you support your outgoing child during this period of isolation?
Coping well: we answer your COVID lockdown parenting questions
- parents, how are you coping under social isolation measures? If you’re like most, you’re encountering new parenting challenges, sometimes on a daily basis
- this video offers support for parents through the tricky bits; finding routine, managing screen time and getting good rest during lockdown
- COVID-19 has brought death a closer reality for many of us. As a parent, how do you support your child through the grief?
Useful resources and guidance to support parents, carers and teachers
Back to school guide for parents, carers and guardians
A booklet providing hints, tips and methods to help manage your child's anxiety, fix disrupted sleep patterns and build their resilience.
Vulnerable and specialist children’s services toolkit
A helpful guide of resources for teaching staff, parents and carers of vulnerable children. This includes links to courses, workshops, videos and links to websites to support vulnerable children going back to school.
Back to school presentation for primary school children
A child-friendly presentation for primary school children to help support their mental wellbeing as they return to school.
Back to school presentation for primary and secondary school pupils
A presentation for primary and secondary school pupils, to help support their mental wellbeing as they return to school.
Mental health and wellbeing
Wellbeing - It's Good for Your Mental Health podcast
A new podcast series called to support resident’s wellbeing, brought to you by Barnet Integrated Clinical Service (BICS).
These free podcasts will cover a variety of themes and helpful psychological strategies you can use whilst moving out of lockdown.
BICS offers mild to moderate mental health support for social, emotional and behavioural issues to children, young people and families within Barnet, both in schools and out in the community.
1 . Wellbeing - It's good for your Mental Health podcast
The theme of this episode is about caring for yourselves and your families whilst living and transitioning out of lockdown.
2. Staying well in Barnet - managing relationship challenges
In this episode, we will be talking about managing relationship challenges in the family as part of adapting to the gradual lifting of lockdown.
View the exercise featured in our podcast:
3. Exam Results - Staying well in Barnet
This episode explores what emotions young people may experience due to the release of exam results for A-Levels and GCSEs.
4. Ability over Disability - Staying well in Barnet
Talking about how lockdown has been for those parents whose children present with neurodevelopmental conditions such as ASD or ADHD.
View advice from a mum of a child with Autism:
5.What does mental health mean to you: Staying well in Barnet
In this episode, we will be talking about mental health and wellbeing and what this means to us personally and as professionals. We will share our experiences of coping over the second lockdown and invite you to think about yours.
6.Emotions & Anxiety – Staying Well in Barnet podcast
In this episode we talk about the role of emotions during this unprecedented time and how this can influence our wellbeing and anxiety. We share 4 elements - empowerment, appreciation, support and health - that you can use to nurture your life and to relieve and manage anxiety.
Where to listen to our podcast
The audio for each episode will be available on several podcast platforms. Search for BICS Wellbeing - It's Good for Your Mental Health in your podcast app and download the audio to your device.
Visit our Anchor podcast page to find out more.
The podcast is available on other platforms:
Staying Well in Barnet - Managing Relationship Challenges
In this episode, we will be talking about managing relationship challenges in the family as part of adapting to the gradual lifting of lockdown. You will find useful tips on:
- how to manage relationships in this period
- developing an understanding of feelings and how we can acknowledge them
- developing communication skills.
In this episode, we will be talking about exam results. We will discuss how young people might feel when receiving their grades given the current circumstances. We will also give you tips and strategies on:
- what young people can do when they receive their grades
- managing their stress and anxiety
- finding alternatives to the events they have missed out.
Watch the videos below to help with stress and anxiety:
Parent/Teacher support for helping primary school children with anxiety as they return to school
Nip in the Bud charity have produced a short 8-minute film for parents and teachers on how to deal with any anxiety their children may be experiencing as they return to school.
Other help and advice
Spring 2021 mental health and wellbeing workshops for parents, children and young people
Articles featured in Barnet Times newspaper: July 2020 edition, focused on children and young people's mental health and wellbeing
Articles include advice for parents, reflections from a young person during lockdown and information on wellbeing workshops and mental health services.
Top NHS doctor issues advice for children going back to school
NHS England’s top doctor for children and young people’s mental health has urged parents to be alert to signs that children could be experiencing anxiety, distress or low mood as some pupils return to school.
New clinical advice for parents, guardians and carers
Advice on helping and supporting a child or young person with mental ill health, suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviours has been published on the NHS website
Return To School article by Dr Anindita Sarkar: Published in June 2020
Dr Anindita Sarkar (Clinical Lead for Barnet Integrated Clinical service) provides her thoughts on what the return to school might look like for children and what parents can do to help.