Going back to school

School is a big part of life, so it’s important to feel happy there. If you’re scared or anxious about going back to school, there are things you can do to make it better.

Back to school

Going back to school can bring up lots of feelings. You might be happy to go back, wish you were still at home or want to be somewhere else completely. If you’re going back after being off from the holidays or for any other reason, you might be worried about:

  • what the school will be like when you go back
  • catching up with work and how you're going to be assessed
  • seeing friends again
  • being bullied
  • starting a new routine, or coping away from home
  • keeping safe.

You might also be worried about problems at home getting worse by you returning to school. Whatever’s worrying you about school, we can help.

Tips for going back to school

School might be very different when you go back, and how you feel about it might have changed too. Whatever’s happening, there are things that can help you prepare:

Homework and exam stress

Going back to school can be scary if you’re worried about keeping up with the work. Or that you won’t be able to get back into the school routine.

There can be a lot of pressure to do well in your exams and get all of your work done. But there are things you can do when you first go back to school to make it easier:

Remember: Exams are important but they’re not the only way to a successful future. To help you do your best, check out our top tips for revising.


Building your confidence can take time. But there are lots of things you can try to help you feel more confident in any situation.

Being bullied

Bullying can make you feel alone and helpless. And it can make you scared to go back to school. But bullying is never your fault. No one has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad.

You should always feel able to go to school without being bullied. If you’re worried about going back to school, or don’t want to go back to school because of bullying, we can help.

What to do if you think you might get bullied:

  • talk to your parents, carers or a teacher about it so that they can support you
  • plan what you want to do at break or lunch times, having a safe place you can go with a teacher there can help you to feel calmer
  • think about what you want to do if someone does try to bully you, knowing that you can ignore them or be assertive can help you to feel more confident.

If you're worried about being bullied at school, Bullying UK has lots of advice and support.

Returning after an illness or time out

There are lots of reasons you might have taken time out of school, and going back can bring up lots of feelings. You might worry about:

  • people asking questions
  • catching up with work or keeping up
  • getting back into the routine of going to school and seeing other people
  • family or things at home
  • being bullied
  • people seeing scars or injuries.

It can help to plan what you’d like to say or do if people do ask questions. Remember, you don’t need to say anything you don’t want to.

You could practice being assertive about your responses in the mirror, or with an adult you trust. Your teachers and the school are there to help support you, even before you go back.

Returning to school after leaving because of mental health

It can be scary going back to school when you've had a mental health issue. You might be worried about not being able to cope, or people not giving you the support you need.

Every school is different, but before you go back it can help to make a list of what you might find supportive. This could include:

  • returning slowly or on a reduced timetable
  • having somewhere in school you can go if you need a quiet space
  • finding a particular staff member you feel comfortable speaking with if you need to talk
  • whether you can speak to Childline during the day if you need to.