Back to school

The members of Redbridge Youth Council and the Child Friendly Ambassadors, have been working over the summer to produce a handy guide to help young people in secondary school get ready to go back to school.  The leaflet has been sent to all secondary schools and is reproduced here for your support.

The leaflet has simple bits of information that will help ease our return to school. Jussira, Loxford School


Because of world events, you might feel like your concerns and feelings are dismissed by those around you. There are a lot of things that may feel uncertain right now, remember that it’s OK if you feel a bit lost, You, are not alone. There are a lot of young people feeling like this. Reach out to friends and talk to your teachers, share your experiences and stay connected with others who are in the same boat.

It can feel scary and overwhelming when we don’t know what will happen, and a lot of it will be out of our control. Identifying the things that you do have control over, and those that you do not, can help make this feel a bit more manageable.

Fiona Barrett, Connexions Manager


  • Schools have been working very hard over the summer to make it as safe as possible for you to go back to school in September.
  • Schools are prioritising supporting you to return to learning, as well as supporting you with any mental, physical and emotional needs that you might have.
  • It’s OK to not be OK, and to ask for help if you need it. Many young people will be feeling the same way as you- you are not alone if you are finding things difficult.

Find out more on GOV.UK website information


  • There is a school nurse, to support you with both physical and emotional difficulties you may be having. Kooth is a free and confidential online mental health support service for young people. 
  • Keeping yourself physically healthy will help you to deal with any emotional difficulties you may have. This could include cycling, walking and going to the park.
  • Prepare to go back to school – this will include how you are going to get there, what are your going to need and giving yourself enough time to get ready for school.

Vision RCL

Top Tips for travelling to school

By bus

TfL will be putting on some additional school buses. However, if your journey is under 6 stops - walk or cycle instead, where you feel safe to do so. If you take the bus - avoid unnecessary and short bus trips, make sure you have a face covering and follow the latest guidelines when using public transport.

Bus drivers should not leave you behind if all the seats are taken. Keep up to date on your TfL Zip oyster card as free travel may be withdrawn over the autumn term. TfL will be updating their information regularly so keep a lookout, to help you with all your travelling.

By Foot or bicycle

If your journey is under 2 miles, you can walk or cycle it less than 30 minutes. Plan your route and look at different options, use travel apps, listed below and think about which routes have better air quality. Travel with friends, so you can chat and you will feel safer.

If you are cycling-ride responsibly, you can go to the TfL online cycle training course for useful tips. Free family group cycle training with an instructor is also available.

By car

You may choose to travel by car. If you do, then get dropped off, or park at least 10 minutes’ walk from the school gates; this will reduce congestion and improve the air quality outside your school.  For more information contact the smarter travel team.  

Faiza, Ursuline Academy Ilford

During June I was one of the few, who went back to school. It was as if all the pictures and news headlines had come into reality. As I walked to the gates my temperature was checked before I entered the building. In my classroom, there were only 5 or 6 people, and instead of us having to move to different classrooms, the teachers just switched. We were also expected to clean our hands regularly. During break we were expected to maintain social distancing.

Although there were many changes, I knew it wasn’t just me going through them, it was everyone. Honestly, these changes are adaptable and after a few days, it will seem like the new normal. It is kind of like getting a new timetable at the start of the year, seems strange at first but you quickly get used to it. Good luck!

Honestly, change is adaptable, it is not just you going through it. So, don’t overthink it!

Aliza – Park School

I cannot wait to go back to school. This quarantine has been somewhat relaxing, however stressful too and I can’t wait to see my friends after months and finally get back to school.


This is the current guidance and student room guidance for those who should have taken exams this year and the current plans for next year’s exams. Please remember these can change, your teachers will keep you updated.

General information about what to do after year 11. If you are in year 13 and applying for University in 2021, you can find everything you need to know at the UCAS website.

You may be concerned about your predicted grades as you haven’t had any year 12 exams, but please remember all young people will be in the same position and this will have to be considered.

If you have any questions or concerns about employment or want careers advice, you should be able to access 1-2-1 Careers support through school. There are also Redbridge Connexions advisors to provide guidance on next steps or call 020 8708 2600.

Top Tips

  1. Acknowledge what you are feeling: Think along the lines of ‘I am feeling anxious about my school work, but I also am excited to see my friends’.
  2. Focus on what you can control: Going outside can be stressful, but you have no choice. So, focus on things you can do to stay safe - hand washing, wearing gloves and face coverings. Do your research – find out what your school is doing to keep you safe. Check out your route to school.
  3. Be in the moment and take things as they come: Spending endless time thinking about what school might be like- you will lose touch with what is happening now. That doesn’t mean don't plan for the new normal, but, once the planning is over, return to the present.
  4. Take a few days to ease back into school: Take time to get used to the back-to-school routine, so get back to going to bed early, getting up in time for school and eating normally. However, just because it feels like going back to normal, you still need to follow, social-distancing measures and health and safety procedures.
  5. Focus on the positive: When we first heard about Covid-19, it was like an apocalypse. But it’s been months, and we’re still here. We are resilient and we will bounce back. Just remember, you can overcome this if you stand together.

Schools will not be the same – so be open-minded to your new routine, and find your way with it.

Youth Service

Redbridge Youth Service is here for you, we offer a range of enjoyable opportunities around the Borough. For more information check out the Youth Service page and follow our Instagram page – Redbridge youth.

Redbridge is working towards being a Child Friendly Borough. To help with this you have elected a Child Friendly Redbridge Ambassador to represent your school. They are the link between your school and Redbridge Council.

Useful Websites

Safer travel websites

Journey planning apps