Back to school

Last updated: 17/08/2021

Practical and wellbeing advice on returning to school during the coronavirus and beyond. 

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The return to school has been one of the main issues our local support services and the advisers on our Lone Parent Helpline have been asked about in recent weeks.

Lots of great sources of information and advice have been developed specifically to help with this transitional time. We’ve gathered some of these here to make them easier for you to find, along with links which could help with your and your children’s wellbeing if you’re finding things challenging.

Useful resources for parents as schools return

ParentClub is a Scottish Government resource for parents on all kinds of issues. They’ve created a section on their website on going to school with videos, tips and all the information you need on what to expect, the measures which will be in place to ensure your and other children’s safety. This includes advice on how you can support younger and older children through this time, whether they’re returning to school or starting secondary or primary.

You can also find a section with tips around nursery and childcare here.

Financial support

Returning to school can be an expensive time, and this can be difficult for lots of single parents to manage at the best of times, so it’s important that you know there is financial support available.

ParentClub has this helpful page on support and benefits available to parents with relevant links to follow. You can visit the Gov.Scot website to find out how to apply for school clothing grants and free school meals, which you can get through your local council if you’re eligible.

ParentClub also has an article on top tips for saving on school costs.

For more information on support you might be entitled to see our Your Benefits section – the school age payment of the Best Start Grant might be especially useful.

And for help with budgeting or for money and debt advice go to our Your Money pages.

Additional support for learning

For parents with children who need additional support for learning for any reason, Enquire has a helpline and lots of online advice which can help with making sure your children’s needs are being met in school.

Enquire also runs Reach, a website aimed at children and young people. This article on schools re-opening could be useful for young people who get support with their learning.

Learning at home

During lockdown there was a lot of discussion about learning at home and how parents can help. As schools return, this is still important – parents can make a big difference to their children’s education by getting involved in their learning. The ParentZone website has information about how you can do this.

Playing with your children is a big part of this. Play Scotland and Save the Children Scotland have launched a new ‘Play Well Pack’ to help parents with fun ideas to try with their children, and information on how this can make a difference to how children do in school and can help with their emotional wellbeing.

Bullying

Some children might be anxious about returning to school due to their relationships with other people in their school. If your child is being bullied, respectme has guidance for adults so you can help them through it, as well as advice for children and young people on what they can do.

Your child’s emotional wellbeing

The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a difficult experience for all of us, including children and young people. Supporting their emotional wellbeing during this time is vital.

YoungScot’s AyeFeel is aimed at young people to help them with their wellbeing: it has articles, tips and videos on lots of topics including how to talk about your feelings and cope with stress and conflict.

ParentClub has developed a new resource with advice on mental health and wellbeing for parents, children and teens.

If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has helpful guidance for parents and guardians and suggestions of who to contact for support. They also have guidance aimed at children and young people.

YoungMinds also has an A-Z of advice for parents on how to help your children with a range of mental health issues.

Your emotional wellbeing

It’s also important to support your own mental wellbeing – this will have a positive impact on your children too. Take a look at our wellbeing pages for single parents.

We also recently created a new online resource called ‘My life and me’ to help single parents with lots of tips and useful links on looking after yourself, making time for yourself, and dealing with anxiety and stress.

Asking for advice

If you feel your questions or concerns aren’t answered here, remember that the trained advisers on our Lone Parent Helpline are here to provide information and advice. You can call us on 0808 801 0323, chat to us live on our website, or email us at advice@opfs.org.uk.

You can also Ask a Question on our FAQ pages and the answer will be published there. Answers to the questions we’ve been asked already are available there, so take a look and see if anything there is relevant to you.