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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.”

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