Returning to school after lockdown

Page last reviewed: 04 March 2021

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 (COVID-19) pandemic and the continued levels of restrictions in place across the UK, is an unprecedented situation that continues to affect our lives. It will be hard to gauge the full impact the situation is having on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing until we emerge from it.   

Pupils’ experiences of the pandemic will be very varied. Some, despite restrictions, will feel safe and mostly enjoy their time. For others, it will be challenging or even 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 guide aims to:

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

The challenges facing schools and pupils

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


Tips for teachers

As you support your pupils’ transition back to class-based learning, here are things to keep in mind as well as practical tools, strategies and activities.


Tips for parents and caregivers

Supporting your child with their mental health and wellbeing as they prepare 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