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Firstly, a huge hello and welcome back to children across the country who are returning to school this week!  

From those in Reception or Year 1 starting their first year of primary school, to Year 13 and 14 entering the last year of their studies, the first week back at school is an exciting time for children, parents, and teachers alike. For young people this is a chance to catch-up with friends who you haven’t seen over summer, to make new friends at a new school, to meet your teachers, old and new and to settle into the routine of a new school year.  

However, I know not all children will be excited right now, for some children the start of a new school year can be incredibly daunting and some of you may be feeling more worried than excited.  

I have made understanding the barriers that children face in attending school one of my top priorities. It’s absolutely crucial that children and young people get the help and support that they need to feel happy and confident attending school. I have put together some resources for children and young people to help to start that journey from worried to excited which you can access here. 

For schools I have brought together resources which will help you to best support your students here 

For anyone worried about starting school, the best thing to do is talk to someone, a parent or carer, a teacher or teaching assistant or another trusted adult about your worries. If you are in care, or have a social worker, my Help at Hand team is here to help with support and advice.  

I have also launched a new survey for children aged 7 – 17 in England to find out what your summer holiday was like to contribute to my family review. ‘The Big Summer Survey’ is open until the end of September and I want to hear from as many children and young people as possible – take part here 

I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that you achieve this year. I will continue to work for you, making sure that the system designed to support you is delivering what you need to really thrive, at school and beyond.  

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