September is upon us and pupils are returning to school – some after more than five months away. National Leader of Education Helen Frostick considers how we can ensure we meet the pastoral needs of our pupils post-lockdown

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented and unexpected challenges to children’s mental health and wellbeing. A majority of pupils were out of mainstream education for more than five months, meaning that children lost access to crucial support services and experienced isolation from friends, family and trusted adults.

As a direct consequence, pupils returning to school in September may be experiencing a variety of emotions and mental health challenges, such as low mood, anxiety or depression. For some pupils, returning to school will not be welcome and they will need reassurance and encouragement.

The Headteacher Update and SecEd Back to School Guide on student wellbeing outlined many of these mental health considerations and other risks, offering a wealth of advice, and is worth a read (2020).

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