Back to school

Are you ready to go back to school? For many children, young people, parents and carers, going back to school can bring up a lot of feelings. So, we'd like to remind you that support, advice and guidance is available, if you need it.

Perhaps your child is anxious about transitioning to a new school and you'd like advice on how to help them, or maybe you'd like to learn more about how to support their learning and help them reach their potential. For all of this, and much more, take a look below.

Aside from the suggestions we have made below, there are also many more services to be found on our Family Information Service directory, so please take a look.

We hope this information will be helpful to you.


Mental health support

It is understandable that children and young people may have a number of worries about returning to school, or starting a new school. The following services may be helpful to them if they want to speak to someone about how they are feeling or need more immediate support.

Emotional wellbeing support for children

  • Mindworks 24/7 mental health crisis line, is available for children and young people who are worried about themselves, a friend, or for parents worried about their child or young person. It can be contacted on 0800 915 4644, is open all day and all night, seven days a week.
  • CYP Haven are safe spaces for young people to drop into to talk about worries and mental health confidentially. There is also a phone service and virtual workshops operating alongside the face-to-face sessions. The opening times and phone number are listed on their website.
  • Childline is a free, private, and confidential service for children and young people where you can talk about anything. The phone service 0800 1111 operates between 9am and midnight.
  • Kooth is a free, anonymous, confidential, safe, online wellbeing service, offering counselling, information, and forums for children and young people aged 11 to 18.
  • The Mix offers information and advice about any subject to children and young people from 13 to 25. It provides helpline and online support.

If you are concerned about your or another child's emotional wellbeing, you can contact the Young Mind's Parent Helpline on 08088 025544.

Surrey Family Learning also provide free online courses to parents and carers on how to support your child if they are experiencing anxiety.

Support for parents and carers emotional well being

If you have found that your mental health is poor during the summer holiday period, there are a number of services that can offer advice or emotional support, including both national and local helplines and online support services for parents.


Parenting support

The return to school can be a difficult period for parents for a number of reasons, it may be helpful therefore to know where to go to receive help. There are a number of services who can offer advice or emotional support.

Our Parenting courses and advice web page, has the details of various available courses.

Family Learning also offer a wide range of free parenting courses from Surrey County Council, including on understanding children's behaviour.


Supporting your child's learning

As a parent or carer, we know that you want to do the best to support your child's education and help them reach their potential.

Find out how Surrey's libraries can enrich your child's learning, how the L-SPA can support you if you're concerned about your child's development, or discover the different options your child has when they turn 16.

Surrey's libraries

Libraries are an open door for every child to so many opportunities. They are a place for children to have fun, to learn, to discover and to share.

Libraries are a wonderful way to enrich your child's education, as they can help support your child's development by encouraging a love for reading and learning.

As well as giving you access to books, audio books, CDs, DVDs and more, each library in Surrey also runs a calendar of events aimed at children of all ages.

If you haven't already joined a library, find out how to get your child a free library membership today.

Learners' Single Point of Access (L-SPA)

The Learners' Single Point of Access (L-SPA) offers help and support if you have a concern about the development and/or learning needs of a child in Surrey.

Both parents and practitioners working with children in Surrey are welcome to call the L-SPA.

It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, all year round (except Bank Holidays) on 0300 200 1015.

The L-SPA will:

  • Will give children the right support and intervention at the right time to help them meet their learning and developmental milestones.
  • Gives you direct access to information and advice from a multi-disciplinary team of professionals from education, health and social care including:
    • Occupational therapists
    • Specialist teachers
    • Qualified Social Worker
    • Speech and Language Therapists
    • Educational Psychologists

The L-SPA will not:

  • Replace any existing referrals to learner services for the child in question.

Learn more about the L-SPA today.

Education and training options for 16-year-olds

Surrey's Your Next Move portal provides young people, parents and professionals with information about the options available to young people when they leave school, including studying, apprenticeships, traineeships, supported internships, employment, volunteering and more.

Visit the Your Next Move Portal today.


Services for children in education with SEND

Educational services provided within the school environment

There's a wide range of support services available, provided by Surrey County Council and Surrey schools. The services listed below, provide specific support to children and young people with SEND.

Teachers and school can also use many of these services to help with the developmental and educational needs of their children.

  • Special Educational Needs Co-coordinators (SENCOs) are there for you to talk to and to advise you, on how your child's needs can be met at school and also supported at home. They also work closely with the Local Special Educational Needs teams.
  • Local Special Educational Needs teams offer support and advice on Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
  • Speech and Language Therapy Services for children and young people provide support for those with speech, language and communication skills difficulties.
  • Race, equality and minority achievement (REMA) offer support and advice for schools in their provision for ethnic minority pupils.
  • Physical and Sensory Support Service (PSS) for children and young people (from 0 to19) with physical, hearing, visual and multi-sensory impairment, in learning and living.
  • Educational psychology team deal with the psychological and educational development of children and young people at home, school and within the community.
  • Specialist teaching teams provide expertise and practical support to schools and families. The teams are made up of learning and language support specialist teachers and behaviour support specialist teachers and assistants. They work with schools, parents and other agencies to help pupils with learning and language difficulties and to help manage behaviour difficulties.
  • Inclusion service offer support for schools and parents regarding the attendance, truancy and exclusion from school of pupils.

Please also see our webpage: Special educational needs and disabilities education support and advice for teachers.

If you are looking for our policy statement on Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), please note that this document is pending review.

Other help and support available

  • SEND Advice Surrey, formerly Surrey SEND Information, Advice and Support Service, which gives impartial advice on special educational needs and disability.
  • Surrey Local Offer provides information and resources about SEND for young people, families and practitioners.
  • The Family Information Service can help you find organisations and services that may be able to support your family. FIS also has information about childcare, holiday schemes and activities.
  • Surrey Short Breaks for Disabled Children funds voluntary organisations and SEND schools to provide short break services, including after-school clubs, holiday schemes, home-care and more. For most of these you don't need to be eligible for our social care support to take advantage of them.

Health and welfare support

We know that more and more people in Surrey are finding themselves in challenging situations, and struggling financially and health wise. There is information on the Health and Welfare hub to help you and those around you. You'll find advice and support, and details on what benefits you may be eligible for.

If you are unable to find the right help and support on these webpages you can speak with a member of our Community Helpline team. You can talk through your needs with them and they will help to point you in the right direction for financial, welfare or wellbeing support in Surrey.

Contact details

  • Telephone: 0300 200 1008 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)
  • Complete our community helpline enquiry form
  • Textphone (via Text Relay): 18001 0300 200 1008
  • Telephone from overseas: +44 20 8541 9944 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)
  • SMS: 07860 053 465
  • VRS: Sign language video relay service

Paying for school uniforms

Although state school education is free, the cost of school clothing can be too much for many families, especially if items such as blazers and ties must be bought from a specific supplier.

The UK Government has introduced new rules for schools that come into force in September 2022 to ensure such branded items are kept to a minimum and that the total costs of uniforms and PE kits are affordable for all.

Each school should have its uniform policy published on their website.

Ways to reduce the cost of school uniforms

Surrey County Council does not provide financial help with paying for school uniforms, but here are some ways you can reduce the cost.

  • Ask your child's school if they provide discretionary grants for school uniform.
  • Many schools hold second-hand stock for sale, exchange or donation.
  • You can buy many of the basic, non-branded items, such as shirts, trousers, skirts and shoes at low cost from supermarkets and high street chain stores.

Local services who can support with school uniform costs

The charities and organisations below may be able to help with the cost of school uniforms.

  • Stripey Stork offer new/ good condition pre-loved children's clothes from birth up to age 16. Stripey Stork is not able to respond to requests from individual families, but you can request a referral from a family support worker or a social worker.
  • Walton Charity aims to improve the lives of people in Elmbridge in a number of ways, including providing individual grants, community grants and support for other organisations, independent living for people aged over 55, and social housing for single people in need.
  • The Mayor of Guildford's Local Support Fund helps local people facing financial problems, which includes with the cost of school uniforms. The referral needs to be completed by a professional involved with you such as a social worker, health visitor or doctor.
  • The Dempster Trust provides support to those in the Farnham area, who are in need or financial hardship. They can support with costs associated with schooling, including uniforms and school trips. Requests to the Dempster Trust need to be supported/ signed by a professional involved with you or your family.

Staying safe

As children and young people return to school, it's natural that they'll meet new people, and maybe spend more time online or want to be spend time out and about.

Personal safety

Our Personal safety outside of the home web page offers advice to parents and carer about personal safety and how to guide them to make sensible decisions will help them to be safe when they go out without you.

Internet safety

Our Internet Safety web page has tips and advice for parents and carers. Childline have also produced an online tool called Report Remove to assist young people in reporting online nude images and videos of themselves – and getting them removed from the internet.


Active travel

The start of a new school year is a great time to think about the ways that we can equip young people with lifelong skills to walk or cycle safely to or from school.

Re-thinking how you get from A to B and opting to walk or cycle instead of taking the car for some of your shorter journeys might have a positive impact on your health and happiness, your wallet, your relationships with loved ones and the environment. Learn more about active journeys today.

Encouraging active travel to and from school doesn't start and stop at home. Keep reading to find out about the initiatives your child's school can sign up to and help improve your child's road safety and awareness.

First Feet: Walking Training

In June we launched our Feet First: Walking Training which has already benefited over 1,000 Year 3 pupils (aged 7-8). Dedicated walking instructors visit your school and take pupils out to learn and experience from real life scenarios the importance of road safety. Encourage your school to find out more about the project and how to get involved by:

Bikeability

We continue to offer Bikeability to pupils in Surrey. The training is delivered by our team of accredited cycling instructors. Bikeability empowers riders to cycle skilfully and confidently, which is great for their health, wellbeing and the environment. To enquire about the scheme, schools can email cycletraining@surreycc.gov.uk.

The start of a new school year is a great time to think about new skills that can equip young people with lifelong skills to walk or cycle safely to or from school.

Find out about the initiatives your child's school can sign up to and help improve your child's road safety and awareness.

First Feet: Walking Training

In June we launched our Feet First: Walking Training which has already benefited over 1,000 Year 3 pupils (aged 7-8). Dedicated walking instructors visit your school and take pupils out to learn and experience from real life scenarios the importance of road safety. There's also online learning modules, lesson plans and activities to do in the classroom and worksheets to continue learning with parents. Training costs £6 for a pupil and £3 for a pupil on Free School Meals.

Schools can find out more about the project and how to get involved by:


Activities, events and things to do

The Summer Holidays may be over, but there's still plenty going on across Surrey to keep families entertained and learning.

You can find out about activities through the events page on our Family Information Service directory.

If you have any services, events, or suggestions you think should be added to this page, please let us know: surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk