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School is back but not everyone wants to go

Children go back to school this week. For many this will be a relief. A chance to catch up with friends. A break from home life. But for others it means something quite different. It is nerve-wracking. The change is overwhelming. Marie, one of our well-being practitioners, explains how she's helping children who are anxious about going back to the classroom. 

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School anxiety

school girl in face mask holding phone looking anxious

The big day

For a few of the young people Marie works with, going to school makes them anxious. Some are shy and find it hard to make friends. Or they get nervous when asked a question in class. Some just don’t like change. They've got used to learning from home. 

‘I’ve spoken to a couple of them [children and young people] recently and they’re not good. It’s not something they’re looking forward to.’ 

‘Their education has sort of improved in some ways. Now they’re not avoiding school because they can do it online.’ 

Back to school

I’m reintegrating them back into school.

‘It was the first thing I approached them about when the date was announced because I knew some people weren’t going too be excited. For some, their anxieties are going back up again and they worry about having to go back.’ 

Thinking differently

Thinking outside the box

Marie’s work is about adapting. She sees young people from different backgrounds and who have very different needs. 

‘The one girl I particularly think about has autism so change on the whole is not good for her.’ 

‘If she doesn’t sit next to her friend or understand something she won’t ask in class or put her hand up because it attracts attention to her.’ 

‘I’ve been emailing her mum and the school saying these are the lessons she has issues in, what can we do?’ 

I’m problem solving the stuff that we can with the school. I’m problem solving the stuff that we can with the school.

School bus

Changing rules

‘School rules keep changing because of Covid. That doesn’t help children who like to know what’s going on, who like to know where they’re at. It makes things twice as bad for them.’

‘I’ve been doing stuff around anxiety with them. There’s certain techniques and things that you can give to anyone who has panic attacks. Some of them have panic attacks on buses. Breathing techniques or using music or headphones can help.’

It’s about constantly trying to think of things you can do to help people.

Boy walks towards the school bus

Sticking to the plan 

‘My advice for anyone who is really dreading going back to school? I think for anxiety it’s having a routine, having a plan, kind of going through that plan, just those basics, just trying to put your mind at rest of how it’s going to be.’ 

‘You have to be quite changeable and flexible at the moment as a practitioner.’ 

You just do what you can to meet each person’s needs as best you can.

Practitioners like Marie are working hard to support young people through all this change. But they can’t do it without your help. Join us as we fight for young people’s hopes and ambitions. 

boy glasses hands together

Act now

As children return to school – call on the government to prioritise well-being as part of the education recovery.

Join the fight back for their futures.