Kettering charity finds more than half of Northants children feel 'negative' about returning to school

Children are most looking forward to seeing their friends at school

By Phoebe Radford
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 11:38 am
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 11:44 am
Students will be returning to school next week
Students will be returning to school next week

A Kettering-based charity has found that more than half of Northamptonshire students feel "negative" about their return to school.

Youth Works is a charity that offers alternative education, youth and community project work, and counselling and emotional support and it surveyed 969 young people aged 11 to 18 about lockdown and returning to school.

It found that 51 per cent of respondents said they felt "negative" or "very negative" about returning to school as the start of term gets closer.

The survey was open to children from across the county but the majority of respondents came from Kettering Science Academy, Lodge Park Academy, Latimer Arts College, Sponne School and Weavers Academy.

Despite the apprehension about returning to class, 87 per cent said they were most looking forward to "socialising with peers" once they get back to school.

When it came to how they had coped with lockdown, a quarter said they had found the time difficult and a third said their well-being had got worse or much worse.

When asked to rate their anxiety, over a quarter said they had high levels of anxiety.

Dr Siobhan Currie, an educational psychologist who helped with the survey, said: "This result shows much higher levels of anxiety than we are used to dealing with.

"Schools and services must take a targeted approach and identify those that need more help. Some will have had a very difficult and stressful time with possible bereavements."

However, some students said their well-being had improved by being at home, one said: "Can we just not go back? I’ve been so much happier since we’ve been off, like you have no idea."

Respondents were asked about how they had coped in lockdown, with "video entertainment" proving to be the most popular pastime.

Others said they enjoyed creative hobbies like baking and gardening. A student said: "I have enjoyed learning from home and being independent and in control, giving myself free time to do new things and having more time to do the things I enjoy (that are educational and worthwhile)."

Youth Works' CEO and headteacher, Cindy Wrighting, said: "It would be great if schools encouraged young people to continue to use these coping strategies as they help build resilience and maintain good mental health.

"The positive comments about different ways of learning during lockdown are also something we should take note of."

Youth Works' report recommends that schools focus on relationships when students return next week, as this is what young people have missed the most.

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