Return to School Guidance
We know that emotional well-being and mental health are key priorities in ensuring a successful transition for both students and staff returning to school. Kent’s Specialist Teaching and Learning Service and Kent’s Education Psychology Service have developed new resources with partner agencies within Kent specifically for reintegration, which can be used with children and young people to support both classroom and virtual delivery.
You’ll find these resources and guidance within chapter 7 of Kent’s Return to School Guidance, designed to support schools in making decisions on how best to support their community’s emotional well-being, as well as knowing what to do if a member of the school community requires extra support. The resources have been coordinated and developed based on the current evidence base and national guidance, as well as expertise from Educational and Mental Health Specialists across Kent.
It is recognised that much of the advice and many of these resources will be of use to services who support young people and families outside of school or remotely. They are designed to complement existing resources and to dip into as and when needed. Each strand includes different levels of response according to an individual’s level of need. The information is not designed to be sent out directly to children, young people, and parents and carers, rather to provide you with guidance and resources to support your conversations with them. The information below provides a summary of each section:
CYP Kent Emotional Wellbeing flow chart - This directs staff to the most appropriate support for their students when faced with concerns about their emotional wellbeing or mental health. The flow chart includes reference to the Resilience Conversation Tool, which facilitates conversations with young people to listen to their experiences and can enable solutions to be found.
Emotional Wellbeing in Schools; including universal and transition support - Many schools are already providing safe, stable, and nurturing environments for their children and are rich in resources to promote wellbeing. This section contains bespoke resources for universal emotional wellbeing support, transition wellbeing and Early Years, if required. They include specific support for reintegration through checklists, toolkits, guidance and practical classroom resources.
Staff Wellbeing - Reintegrating back to school life can be a challenge at any time but that demand is even higher during the current climate of uncertainty and change. Here you’ll find information, resources, and services that should support you and your colleagues in this process.
Emotional Wellbeing – Young People - This section highlights support available for young people to access independently, in addition or instead of support sought from school staff, carers, or friends. It includes a variety of means of support, for example, web-based guidance, online counselling, text support, phone calls, conversation tools, etc. These are known to encourage many young people to share how they are feeling and to reassure that it is normal to feel anxious at this time.
Emotional Wellbeing Support for Primary School Aged Children - Here you’ll find paramount support options for primary-aged children and their parents/carers. The resources are predominantly focused on activities, mindfulness exercises, and supporting the understanding of the COVID-19 changes. The services referenced focus on The School Public Health Service and the CYP Kent Emotional Wellbeing services.
Practical Resources for Parents and Carers - The guidance in this section reflects the central role parents and carers play in developing their knowledge and skills to support the emotional wellbeing of their child as well as themselves.
Practical and Emotional Wellbeing Support Following Bereavement - The extensive information, resources and services included in this section will provide support to practitioners to enable them to help children and young people following bereavement. The guidance can help to foster new networks of support and highlights a school’s role in providing routine and consistency when other aspects of life are disrupted.
Emotional Wellbeing for Vulnerable Pupils - This is a new resource developed by STLS and KEPS, focusing on vulnerable students. The information included here features an additional google drive with checklists, activities and resources to use with children and young people in all settings.
Emotional Wellbeing – Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - Some students will need support in all areas of the curriculum due to a level of learning need. As these children and young people return to school following Covid19 the resources in this section will be able to direct staff to appropriate support. This section is also supported by a google drive containing practical resources, links to services and risk assessments.
Emotional Wellbeing – Highly Anxious Students - Here you’ll find additional resources developed by STLS and KEPS providing initial guidance to meet the immediate challenges for highly anxious students who are perhaps not attending school. The google drive includes an introductory brief guide to anxiety, tools to ‘measure’ anxiety and create a back to school plan, resources for interventions, whole school good practice, tools for managing anxiety during (and after) the Covid-19 pandemic, recommended reading and further suggested resources.