Returning to school after the coronavirus lockdown

Page last reviewed: 11 September 2020

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here.

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown is an unprecedented situation in modern times. It is hard to gauge the full impact that the situation is having on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.   

Pupils’ experiences of the lockdown period will have been very varied. For some, it will mostly have been a safe and enjoyable time. For others, it will have been challenging or traumatic. Schools and teachers are used to supporting their pupils through challenges that they face in life – the current situation will amplify those situations many times over.  

This short guide aims to:

  • Outline the scale of the challenge that schools and pupils are facing.
  • Provide practical advice, activities and support.

Challenges facing schools and pupils

Includes information on navigating loss and bereavement, different home environments, inequalities, uncertainty, transition periods and friendship and bullying.


How to support pupils returning to school 

If you are a teacher, here are things to keep in mind as well as practical tools, strategies and activities.


Tips for parents and caregivers

Preparing your child to return to school.


How to support your own mental health as a teacher 

If you are a teacher, here are things you can do to look after your own mental health.


Tips for school leaders

We encourage school leaders to take steps to look after staff and pupils' mental health and wellbeing.


With thanks to our colleagues for reviewing this guidance: 

  • Andy Langford - Clinical Director, Cruse Bereavement Care

  • Medway Primary SENCO group 

  • Dover Primary Leaders' Group 

  • Terry Bennett & Darren Rubin, St John and St Paul Federation, Tower Hamlets  

  • Kevin Smart & Rebecca Smith. Leadership Advisors Medway LA 

  • Dr Robin Precey, Canterbury Christ Church University 

  • Teachers from our Peer Education Project schools