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School Life After Lockdown

When schools reopen in September, there will be many changes to students’ daily routines that will seem very different to their previous experiences of school life before the pandemic. Schools will be guided by Government safety guidelines which will now form the basis of many of the changes implemented, however, how these apply to each individual school will depend on a number of things such as: numbers of students on the roll, space available, staff numbers just to name a few. What is important to remember is that it won’t just be the hygiene and safety aspects of school life that will change.

Many parents may be anxious that their child has “fallen behind” their peers in terms of their academic progression but schools must be careful not to apply added pressure in this respect until they have focussed on restoring their students’ mental and emotional wellbeing. Lockdown may have exposed children to more difficult circumstances than they have ever experienced before depending on how they spent their time and what their home life was like during that testing period. A number of children will have experienced illness themselves or have had to deal with a bereavement within their family directly related to the pandemic. Most children will have been exposed to the inevitable stress and strain that their caregivers have felt regardless of steps taken to protect them from this exposure.

Schools shape more than just a child’s academic learning journey. At a primary level, schools teach children manners, social skills and core values such as: resilience, perseverance, patience, co-operation skills and communication. Being out of this environment will have had a negative effect on some children and many parents will have noticed changes in behaviour, mood and attitudes to learning. Lockdown will have been a never ending holiday for some students, spent in front of a TV or a tablet in hand, to keep them entertained; a study carried out by University College London (UCL), found that nearly 2 million students in the UK had done no school work or managed less than one hour a day.

Teachers will be mindful of this when students return and will have a lot of hard work to do to ensure that the classroom is a respectable and pleasant environment for every student to learn in. The sooner children get back into their school routine to build up their confidence in social situations again, the further along they will be on their path to restoring their academic attainment.

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