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Activities to boost learner wellbeing and resilience during school return

ASDAN is giving away free resources designed to support young people as they return to school following months of disruption to their education. Susannah Harlow, ASDAN Education Policy and Research Officer, explains the rationale behind the resources and what they aim to achieve.

All of us have a story to tell from the months of lockdown. Mine contains well worn, lockdown themes: baking sourdough has renewed my commitment to my local bakery – never again will I complain about the price of bread; my young son has learned about Black Lives Matter but forgotten how to write his own name; and I’ve oscillated between warm fuzzies for the strength of neighbourhood spirit and despair over the state of the world. What’s your lockdown story? What are you most proud of from this time? What story do your learners have to tell?

At ASDAN we applaud the courage, creativity and commitment of our members in adapting to the demands of the pandemic. Staff have gone above and beyond in supporting learners at home as well as those still attending school or college. Young people have applied their learning in new contexts, their new found independence setting them up for becoming lifelong learners. Adapting to the pace of change alone has been really hard for everyone, not to mention the many people for whom the virus has had a devastating impact. Further challenges lie ahead. How will we support learners as ‘the new normal’ begins to unfold?

Supporting the return to school

We have created a set of 'Settling back in' resources to support centres as they help learners make a successful transition back to school, whether part-time or full-time. Taking a learner-centred approach, the aim is to enable young people to reflect on their experiences, reconnect with their peers and draw out some learning around how to cope with change in the future.

As a charity specialising in producing engaging, challenge-based curriculum resources, we recognise that the prolonged period of disruption will be affecting young people’s motivation, wellbeing and social confidence. Educators agree that is it vital these areas are addressed, alongside any gaps in the coverage of the curriculum, as a new routine is developed. Our resources will also help tutors identify which learners are in need of extra support at this time, which will be key as many young people have been ‘invisible’ to professionals for some time.

Flexible provision

These resources are offered as a tool for navigating an unprecedented time. The sessions are designed with 20-minute tutor times in mind and an audience of Key Stage 4, mixed-ability learners. That said, other students might benefit from the sessions. Tutors and teachers may want to consider these sessions in the wider context of their recovery strategy and adapt them to suit their context.

Other ASDAN courses are available to support ongoing discussions around recovery. Lift Off, a course developed to address the transition to secondary school, has never been more pertinent. Also, our recently revised PSHE Short Course explores important issues such as mental health and wellbeing through a wide variety of challenges across 11 modules.

Our hope is that these resources will support you in providing space for young people to express and reflect on their lockdown stories, the silly parts, the troubling parts and the uplifting parts. Please do get in touch with us through social media (@ASDANEducation) or by contacting and let us know how you get on with the resources.