The challenge facing schools and pupils
Page last reviewed: 04 March 2021
This section of our guide on returning to school after the coronavirus lockdown breaks down a range of challenges for schools and pupils.
Loss and bereavement
- Our piece on change, loss and bereavement, provides some advice for managing difficult feelings
Young Minds have a piece which addresses loss and grief specifically from a young person’s perspective.
Cruse Bereavement Care have a range of resources for schools that may be helpful for supporting pupils who have been bereaved.
Cruse also has information and advice for parents and guardians.
Challenging experiences at home
Many children and young people already experience challenging home environments. These challenging circumstances will likely have been amplified by the measures in place to control the pandemic. Others will be facing challenging home experiences for the first time. These might include, but are not limited to:
Abuse or neglect
Financial concerns, e.g. loss of employment for parents and guardians
Worry about relatives who are key workers and continuing to work
Caring responsibilities for family members
Hunger and lack of nutrition
Insecure housing, e.g. those living in residential care, hostels, or refuges.
The scale of the challenge isn’t yet clear, but with domestic violence charity Refuge reporting a 700% increase in calls to their helpline, it is likely that significantly increased pastoral care resources will be required well beyond the pandemic.
As pupils’ education continues to be affected by the pandemic, with various restrictions in place, the usual preparation that would be done with pupils transitioning to the next school term or year will be lacking. This will be particularly challenging for those moving from primary to secondary school, those moving into exams years and those preparing to leave school.
Friendships and bullying
Safer at home
For some children and young people, unfortunately, school does not feel like a safe place to be and closures of schools may have been a welcome measure. For these pupils, the challenge of returning will not be what has happened whilst school was closed but the prospect of coming back. This may particularly be the case for pupils with physical and learning difficulties, whose needs may be more easily met at home.