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Coronavirus - transition back to school guidance for pupils

We hope that the information below will help answer some of the questions that you may want to ask before you return to school, and help you to understand what you can expect when you go back.


Schools have not been 'shut'

Most teachers and support staff have been working either in school running 'childcare hubs' or preparing work for pupils from their homes. Your school may have been used to provide childcare for children whose parents are key workers and have needed to work during the lockdown.

During the lockdown, you may have attended childcare in a different school to the school you normally go to. After 29 June you will go to your usual school.

School will be different

Because we will have to keep to social distancing which means we need to stay at least 2m away from each other at all times, schools will be organised differently to allow this to happen.

Schools are all different - but we are all working together

Schools are all different. Some are bigger, some have large numbers of pupils. Some schools have lots of pupils who do not live nearby and need taxis or buses to help them get to school. This means that schools will have different challenges to consider before they open.

The number of staff who are able to return to work may mean that extra services like breakfast clubs/after school clubs may not be able to run. Your school will let you know what they will be able to offer.

In order to keep everyone safe, schools will need to limit the number of visitors. This may mean that parents will not be able to enter schools in the same way that they did before. It may also mean that you will need to enter and leave school through different entrances.

The school environment

Because we have to keep 2m apart at all times, the school will look very different.

You will not be able to sit close to others. Tables and chairs will be 2m apart, so some furniture will have been removed to make space for the pupils to sit 2m apart.

There may be one-way systems in your school, meaning you have to walk in a certain direction. You may not be able to go to certain parts of the school.

You will not be able to use resources like you did before, and some things will be put away as we will need to make sure that everything is clean.

You will be asked to wash your hands regularly.

All of us will have to follow these rules to keep everyone safe.

The school day

The school day will look different to how it used to. The days that you go to school and the times that you start and go home may be different. Your school will update you on this as soon as they have completed their planning.

You will be taught in a smaller group when you go back, and may be taught in a different class or area of the school. You may be taught by different teachers. Your school will let you know about this once they know the staff and pupils who will be returning to school.

Lunch and break times will be different as everyone will need to stay 2m apart at all times. You may not even stay in school for lunch.

You will not be able to meet in large groups.

Preparing for the 'new normal'

You may have mixed emotions about returning to school. Some pupils will be excited to meet up with their friends, and some may feel nervous about returning. Things will be different when you return - but the staff in your school will understand how you feel and be there to help you.

To keep everyone safe, the usual timetable for the day will be different. You will not be able to move around the school like you used to. This may be confusing for lots of us - including the staff. If you are worried talk to someone about it.

We need to be kind to ourselves and others as we get used to working in this new way.

Supporting pupils

School staff already have lots of skills and expertise in supporting pupils through changes. They will be able to use these skills to help and support you in returning back to school.

Re-establishing routines and expectations

We need to be aware that everyone will be getting used to all of the changes and we will all need to be patient and kind to each other.

Your school will work hard to put in place new routines and systems to help you get used to working in this new way. They will make sure that you know what is expected when you return.

Differences in learning experiences

Thank you for the work that you have done at home. This will help you hugely in the future! However, we all know that learning at home is not the same as learning at school. Some pupils will have found it easier than others. The staff in your school will work with you to understand what the next steps in your learning are. In the future, you will still be expected to do some of the work at home, but you will also be able to come to school for some of your teaching and learning.

Learning experiences on return to school

At first, the most important priority for your school will be to make sure that you feel okay. Your wellbeing is important!

For all pupils, staff will work with you to find out what you have done at home and what you need to learn next. For pupils in Year 10 and 12, in addition to the above, staff will focus on supporting you in readiness for work towards future examinations.

Keeping everyone safe

You may be worried about coming to school and the coronavirus. All schools have developed careful plans and new routines to keep everyone safe. 

These will include:

  • social distancing measures
  • hand cleaning routines
  • regular cleaning of areas that are touched often
  • use of tissues to catch coughs and sneezes
  • everyone behaving in a way that keeps us all safe
  • use of PPE (eg. gloves/masks/aprons) where appropriate.

Everyone will need to follow these rules to make sure that the school stays a safe place.

Keeping everyone healthy

It is extremely important that you do not come to school if anyone in your house has the coronavirus.

If you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, you must not come to school for 14 days, and must stay at home in line with government guidanceOpens new window.

Children and staff who develop symptoms must not come to school. If any children or staff show signs of symptoms of coronavirus when they are at school, they will be asked to go home immediately. While they are waiting for someone to collect them, they will need to wait in a room away from everyone.

Staff and children who are shielding

If you have had a letter from your doctor telling you that you need to stay at home (shield), you should not return to school.

If you are living with a family member who has had a letter telling them that they need to shield, you do not have to return to school.

You will not be in trouble if you are unable to come to school.

Coping with loss

Some pupils may have had friends or family members or know about someone who has died as a result of being ill after catching the virus. Everyone reacts differently when they are grieving. We need to be kind and thoughtful.

There will be staff in your school who can help you or others if you are feeling sad or upset about the death of someone that you cared about.

Social anxieties

Some pupils will be looking forward to returning to school. However, because we have had to stay in our own homes as part of the social distancing measures, some pupils may not have spent much time with other people outside of their family for several weeks. As a result, they may feel anxious about returning to school.

Staff will be sensitive to this and will provide support where needed.


If you are due to move to a new phase or to a new school or to college, you may be worried that you have not had a chance to prepare for this move.

Schools and colleges will work together to support all pupils who are due to move to a new phase. Remember, some schools may already have undertaken many of their transition activities.


The staff in your school are there to help and support you. If you have any questions or concerns, just ask a member of staff.

Nearly all schools have a website, this will have lots of useful information that can help you get ready to return to school: List of school contact details

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