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Helping your teen’s learning as they return to school

Going back to school after all this time away may be challenging for your teenager. Not only do they have to get used to the structure of a school day again, they might also feel worried about the impact of missing so many classes earlier in the year, and how they’ll cope with the demands of school work.  

We’ve put together this page to give you some information on what you can do to support and reassure them now and in the future.

Our page on supporting your teenager’s mental health has tips on how you can help your teen adjust when they go back to school and advice on exam results.

It’s totally natural if you’re worried your child has missed out on learning during lockdown. Rest assured they’ll be doing okay. In this short film, Dr Janet Goodall from the Learning Foundation explains that there’s no such thing as ‘lost learning’ and that children have been learning all the time during this strange situation.

There’s more to school than work

You might be feeling extra pressure as a parent because you worry that your child has missed out on school learning earlier in the year. Try not to feel overwhelmed. Rather than stressing about homework or grades, try to focus on supporting their wellbeing – just being there to talk to about your teen’s worries right now could help deal with any issues at this time.

Tips to support their learning

Tip #1: Show an interest

Your teen may find it encouraging if you show an interest in what they’re learning at school. Without being pushy, try asking them about their studies. You don’t need to pretend to understand everything - they may enjoy telling you things you don’t know!

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Tip #2: Help them find their study style

Different people learn in different ways, and the way your teen learns best may not be the way you learn best. This quiz from Young Scot helps you work out your study style - you could both try it together and compare results!

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Tip #3: Give them space

You know your child best, and you’ll know when they need some encouragement, and when they need to be left alone to get on with things. Make sure they have time and space to do homework. This may involve keeping younger siblings busy so your teen can concentrate - our activities and games pages have lots of suggestions for this. 

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Tip #4: Let them relax

Nobody can work round the clock, so make sure your teen also has time to relax and recharge their batteries. Try to help them get a good balance between work and play - Young Scot has some good advice on how to not let studying take over your life.

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Keep in contact with the school

Schools have reopened for pupils, and that means they’re open to help you too. If your teen feels overwhelmed by the amount of work at school, is struggling with homework, or you have worries about their mental health in the transition back, contact your child’s school for advice – they will be happy to help and could even put together a support plan for your child.

Stay safe

It's important to consider how you can help keep your teen safe online. Most people, especially teenagers, will be online more than ever – which isn’t a bad thing. It lets them keep in touch with their friends, have fun and supports their learning outside of school. But it is important at the same time that you know that they are safe while online. We have an online safety page to help advise you.

Their future

If your teen is not feeling very motivated about learning right now, encouraging them to think about the future opportunities it will open up to them might help. There are many different pathways available in school to give your teen skills for life, work or further study. When they turn 16, instead of staying at school, your teen may choose to go to college instead. Your local college website will have more information on some of the options available for your child to continue their learning journey.

Encourage your teen to look forward to their next steps, whether that is continuing with school, going to college or university, securing a Modern Apprenticeship or other work-based training, or getting a job. Reassure your teenager that this transition back to school won’t last forever, and that they still have all the opportunities open to them that they had before. The website has more information on your teen’s options when they leave school.

When will schools reopen?

Schools started to reopen from 11 August. You can find out more on our back to school FAQ page here.

Mental health support

You might notice your teen’s behaviour changes. This can cause conflict at home, which is stressful for you both. If you become seriously worried about your teen’s mental wellbeing, it’s important to speak to their GP and their school. They’re going through a lot right now, which is why we’ve put together a page on the things you can do to support your teenager through coronavirus.
The online Solihull course contains information about your child’s development and support for forming positive relationships. You can access the course for free using the access code ‘tartan’ here.

Home and blended learning

If your child’s school has to introduce home or blended learning, their teachers will give you resources to help them study at home. Find out more about home and blended learning and how you can help support them.