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Every local authority website should set out its Alternative Provision options. Any donation you make is hugely appreciated, and helps to keep our vital advice and support services running. Within our home, we have the following conditions which have educated me If the GP (or any medical/mental health professional) feels that the child is not currently fit to attend school, ask for a letter to the local authority (LA) to be provided, explaining this. Opening times: 1pm - 4.30pm, Monday - Friday. PMID: 10576531 Abstract Developments in the assessment and treatment of school refusal have often been hampered by a failure to recognise its essentially heterogeneous nature. If your child is struggling at school, the important thing is to recognise that there’s a problem to be solved, and to work with your child and the school to find the right support as soon as you can. If things are difficult and have already been going on for a while, you can also: Our Parents Helpline team discuss school refusal. School refusal is a more serious condition than separation anxiety. You can also find details for other services, including an educational tribunal helpline, a school exclusion helpline and a parent-to-parent support line on their website. If your child is refusing to go to school, this is known as ‘school refusal’ or ‘school phobia’. School refusal IPSEA’s volunteers regularly advise and support parents and carers whose school-aged children are unable to access education because of anxiety or similar difficulties – very often associated with the child’s SEN. Click here for information on how to contact our Parents Helpline. Too many absences in elementary school can delay necessary skills for friendships and academic success. How often does your child have bad feelings about going to school because he/she is afraid of something re-lated to school (for example, tests, school … But some children and teens feel so much emotional distress that they may repeatedly balk at attending school or staying there — a problem known as school refusal, or school avoidance if it occurs consistently. © 2021 YoungMinds. However, every young person will worry about things that happen at school from time to time. An EHC needs assessment is an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs, Our Advice Line provides legally based information and next step advice on any educational issue that is the result of a child’s special educational needs or disability, IPSEA model letters are available to download and amend for your own purposes, The SEND Tribunal is an independent national tribunal which hears parents’ and young people’s appeals against LA decisions about the special educational needs of children and young people, Read our guidance on the how the COVID-19 measures affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), An EHC plan should be written in a way that makes it clear, to parents, young people, schools, colleges and LAs, who is required to do what, when it has to happen and how often it should be reviewed, Have you found the information on our website helpful today? Refusal to go to school may happen at any age but most typically occurs in children 5-7 years of age and in those 11-14 years of age. Let them know how your child is feeling and raise any issues that are making school particularly difficult. This applies whether or not your child has an EHC Plan. School refusal peaks at several points of development, including with entry into Kindergarten, between ages 7-9, and again with entry into Middle or High School. You can book an appointment with their Advice Line or Tribunal Helpline. Be sure that a complete physical examination has been conducted to eliminate any organic cause for somatic complaints (stomachache, nausea, etc. What if my child already has an EHC plan? GP and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Kai, from Chesterfield, has a condition known as school refusal and has only attended about 15 days since January. This will have consequences for future employment and create a need for social security benefits. If your child has an EHC plan but is still struggling to attend school, it is likely that the plan needs to be re-examined. Practical Recommendations and Interventions: School Refusal 1 SCHOOL REFUSAL: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS . I need you to trust me, and to not assume you know what school is like. You’ll probably be all too aware that school refusal can be extremely distressing not only for the child, but for parents as well, and can often feel like an uphill battle. This one-day training is designed specifically for local authority staff, providing an overview of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) legal framework, as well as other related areas of the law. Provides information, advice and guidance to help young people make decisions about learning, training and work. If you would like their support with a CAMHS referral, it might help to talk to the school nurse. Opening times: 10am - 1pm, Monday - Wednesday (term time only). Tips for working with your child's school. Leave a message on the 24-hour answering service and someone will call you back, usually within 3-5 working days. If you are being threatened with an Attendance Order because of your child’s absences from school, you should write to the relevant person or department (which is likely to be the Educational Welfare Service) to explain that your child has special educational needs and is experiencing mental health difficulties. I am the founder of www.schoolrefusal.co.uk and SRSS. Or contact them using their online form. Be part of YoungMinds' life changing work by giving us permission to keep in touch. Each academic year, between 2% and 5% of children in the UK refuse to go to school. When children refuse to go to school, it can often be because of extreme fear and anxious feelings. Supports people with autism and their families. Under section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, schools, Academies and PRUs “must make arrangements for supporting pupils at the school with medical conditions”. Elective home education is a serious step, and no parent should feel under pressure to de-register and home educate their child because of difficulties at school or threats of prosecution. If the school may not be able to meet your child’s needs by itself, it may be appropriate to request an EHC needs assessment (the first step towards getting an EHC plan). If the LA continue with the threat of serving an Attendance Order, or actually serve it, you will need to speak to a solicitor who is familiar with education law. Plan A Successful Re-Entry. Although this may happen in primary school, it is far more common for young people in secondary school. A school counsellor or therapist can provide emotional support and help your child to express and make sense of their feelings. Evidence of this type would provide a documented explanation for the child’s non-attendance. Provides free legal advice about education issues to parents, carers and young people. We’re under high pressure and stress over our grades. School refusal is a behaviour that can be associated with a range of family and school factors accompanied by anxiety, sadness or depression, physical symptoms and social isolation. If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly disappear, only to reappear the next morning. Provides information and advice for people with dyspraxia, and for their parents, carers and families. The UK Prime Minister’s plan to roll out a Covid-19 testing programme in schools has been put on pause as the country’s regulator has not approved the daily use of 30-minute tests. Suggest to them that serving an Attendance Order in these circumstances would be premature and inappropriate, and what is needed is co-ordinated action by support agencies to identify and make provision for all of your child’s needs. More than ¼ of all youth will engage in some degree of school refusal during their schooling years, ranging from complaints and threats to avoid school, to missing school for months or even years at a time. EHC plans identify their needs and set out the support that will be provided. You can also find information about exclusions, special educational needs, bullying and other issues on their website. They should liaise with appropriate medical professionals to ensure minimal delay in arranging appropriate provision for the child. School refusal is a condition characterised by reluctance and often outright refusal to go to school in a child who: (1) seeks the comfort and security of home, preferring to remain close to parental figures, especially during school hours; (2) displays evidence of emotional upset when faced with the prospect of having to attend school, although this may only take the form of unexplained physical symptoms; (3) manifests no severe antisocial tendencies, apart from possible aggressiveness when attempts are mad… Free short-term counselling service available. It also states (paragraphs 14-15) that LAs should provide such education as soon as it is clear that the child will be away from school for 15 days or more, whether consecutive or cumulative, and should do so at the latest by the sixth day of the absence. School refusal is a strong indicator of mental health and SEND needs, but we don’t have any data to evidence the scale of the problem. What is school refusal and how do I deal with it? If this is offered by your child’s school, talk to their teacher about making a referral. Fear or a specific phobia about something at school only accounts for a small percent of youth refusing school 3. “Health needs” can include anxiety and other mental health needs. School refusal behavior is one of the most common childhood problems (Kearney, 2008). “Full-time education” is not defined in law, and LAs will often only offer a few hours of home tuition per week. It feels like we have to be the same as our peers. School refusal is often described as a disorder of a child who refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school. You can also use their webchat service or contact them via an online form. Call the Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm, free for mobiles and landlines). I need you to be on my side, and listen to me as well as my teachers. If so, please consider donating! "Truancy" refers to young people who avoid attending school without their carer’s knowledge, whereas "school refusal" is when a child or young person starts to miss school frequently because of vague illnesses or symptoms. 2 This can include depression, somatic symptoms, anxiety and temper tantrums. Sometimes anxiety can worsen to the point that a child or young person starts to feel they are unable to go to school. During these years, children are dealing with the changes of starting school or making the transition from elementary or middle school to high school. The process can take a long time, so it’s often a good idea to try to get support through the school fist. Depending on how difficult your child is finding things, you can discuss some of the following strategies with the school: If you are unhappy with the way a member of staff is responding to your concerns, escalate them to a more senior person – such as a more senior teacher, a deputy head, or the head teacher. 1 University of Sunderland, School of Education, UK. Children and young people who can’t attend mainstream school are entitled to alternative provision of education in a different setting. Their Education Rights Service can help with information about educational rights and entitlements, as well as with specific issues such as school problems, assessments and education plans. Well-meaning parents will often find that efforts to encourage … School refusal is a serious emotional problem that is stressful for both children and parents. However, the guidance states (at the bottom of page 4) that it should “equate to what the pupil would normally have in school – for example, for pupils in Key Stage 4 this would usually be 25 hours a week.”. Our Parents Helpline team discuss school refusal. I am also a parent of two children with special needs and disabilities. Refusal to go to school may happen at any age but most typically occurs in children 5-7 years of age and in those 11-14 years of age. Current DfE school attendance codes, the obvious route for data collection, do not identify school refusers. Children and young people under 25 who need more support than their school can provide are entitled to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. If you think your child may have additional needs or learning difficulties, speak to their teacher or the school’s SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) about whether they need to be referred for an assessment. As a first step, you should take your child to your GP and explain what has been happening. It affects girls and boys equally. Local authorities should have regard to the statutory guidance entitled: ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs’. Organise a meeting with your child’s teacher or form tutor as soon as you can. For some, school can become challenging or distressing over a longer period of time. Many children will experience transitory difficulties attending school. If your child is struggling with worrying or anxiety, here are some ways you can support them and places you can get help. This training day is suitable for those currently going through the following appeals processes: appeals against the contents of an EHC plan and appeals against the school named in the plan. The transition back to school each fall is challenging for many families. If you think a different school placement is necessary, you can find information on your rights to request a particular school here. School refusal is most likely to start between the ages of 10 and 13, although can be present in children as young as 5. 1. The student’s support team should work together to create a suitable … The LA’s education welfare service can be helpful in providing strategies and support for children who are beginning to school-refuse. If you have a younger child who's feeling worried about starting at a new school, making friends or fitting in, we teamed up with our friends over at Beano studios to make a series of fun videos to help them. School refusal will have a negative affect on academic and social development and can lead to a student completely dropping out of school. Tips for working with your child's school, webchat service or contact them via an online form, Parents Guide To Support - School anxiety and refusal. Speak to your GP or another medical/mental health professional. Ask the class teacher, SENCO and or senior management team for a meeting to discuss what might be behind the school refusal. You can search for this on your local authority’s website. School Refusal, School Anxiety and Anxiety Based School Avoidance are all terms that essentially boil down to the same thing, young people missing school as a result of anxiety, fear or other emotional difficulties. School refusal is, as the name suggests, the refusal by a child to go to school. Therefore, LAs must not have policies that limit a child’s education to a specified number of hours per week due to cost or availability. Read more, IPSEA is registered charity number 327691 Limited company 2198066, Registered office: IPSEA, 24-26 Gold Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EJ, Sign up to receive regular email updates from IPSEA, 24-26 Gold Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EJ, (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice, identify and support any special educational needs or disabilities, Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs, IPSEA SEND Law for Local Authorities - 25 March, Making a request for an EHC needs assessment: Model letter 1, IPSEA update on COVID-19 and SEN provision. You should consider asking for an early review of the EHC plan or a re-assessment of needs, especially if your child’s mental health needs have arisen relatively recently and are not covered in the plan. If you are a parent needing help, please contact our helpline by phone, webchat or email. Reduced timetable 1 Some of the criteria commonly found in school refusal matters involves a student with severe emotional distresses about attending school. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the school governors (their contact details should be on the school’s website), and lastly the Local Education Authority or the Academy Trust. School Refusal Defined. If you’re worried about your child’s mental health or wellbeing, you can speak to your GP (with or without your child) about next steps and finding support. School refusal is a child-motivated refusal to attend school or difficulty remaining in class for the full day. It is unlawful to withhold or reduce the provision, or type of provision, for a child because of how much it will cost. This could be a separate unit within or outside the school, an independent provider, home tuition or online tuition. Consider the school’s duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 to identify and support any special educational needs or disabilities that the child may have. Remember that the term “special educational needs” covers a broad spectrum which includes social, emotional and mental health needs. 4. The LA must continue to secure the special educational provision in the EHC plan while your child is out of school (section 42, Children and Families Act 2014). When a child refuses to leave the house go to school and parents or carers feel unable to persuade them otherwise, this behaviour is classically labelled as “School Phobia”. Provides advice and information to parents and carers in Scotland if their child needs additional support for learning. His mother, Debbie Bendall, said Outwood Academy … IPSEA’s volunteers regularly advise and support parents and carers whose school-aged children are unable to access education because of anxiety or similar difficulties – very often associated with the child’s SEN. School-refusal. School can be a source of support, belonging, learning and community for young people. School refusal / reluctance to attend school About reluctance to attend school Children or young people can be reluctant to attend school at any point during their education. At the start of a new school year, far too many children with SEND are without a school to attend. Split into two half-day training courses, this training covers 'refusal to assess' and 'refusal to issue a plan' appeals, or 'appeals against the contents of a plan' and 'appeals against the name of a school'. School refusal is recognised by psychologists as a disorder in which a child will not attend school for fear of bringing on the physical and mental symptoms of extreme anxiety. Some will get as far as the school gate and then be unable to go in; others can’t even leave the house. If your child’s school does not offer counselling, or your child would not feel comfortable seeing a counsellor at school, you can use our guide below to help you access it elsewhere. Opening times: 9am - 1pm, Monday - Friday. Help and guidance for your child's school refusal. This type of behaviour usually indicates a high likelihood that the child, and sometimes also the carer, may be suffering from an Emotional or Anxiety Disorder. to make a series of fun videos to help them. You, your GP and your child’s school can ask your local authority to carry out an assessment for this. School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised (P) Name: Date: Please select the answer that best fits the following questions: . Opening times: 8am - 6pm, Monday - Friday. We need space to breathe and unwind after school. Opening times: 8am - 10pm, 7 days a week. Opening times: 10am - 1pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 1pm - 3pm on Thursdays. School refusal is different from truancy When kids begin refusing to go to school, some parents worry that their children will drop out, or that they’ll get a visit from a truant officer. For more tips on how to support your child with their mental health and wellbeing, and where to get help take a look at our parents support guide. If you are experiencing school refusal by your child, know that you’re not alone. You can also talk to their GP. You can also contact them using this online form. Opening times: 4pm - 11pm, seven days a week. Email support available via their online contact form. Supports families with children with disabilities, providing information and advice on issues such as education, benefits and finances, childcare, social care and health care. You can ask your GP to refer your child to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (known as CAMHS), although thresholds for accessing this service are often high. Set clear routines on days off school. Details of how to get temporary education put in place may be found here. It’s okay for us to do stuff that isn’t school work – other interests are important. School refusal can be defined as the ‘child motivated refusal to attend school or difficulty remaining in school for an entire day’ (Lyon & Colter, 2007). Provides legally based advice to help families get the right education for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). What if I am being threatened with an Attendance Order? We list some of the best inpatient treatment programs, partial and outpatient programs for school refusal, as well as therapeutic boarding schools.. We provide understandable explanations about your child's right to a free and appropriate public education ( … Some students struggle with poor attendance year after year, resulting in inadequate preparation for the demands of middle school. The school may need to seek support from outside agencies. You can support me better if you really get to know me and what I need. They may then be able to access additional support through the school. You can also contact them by email using this form. The LA has a legal duty to secure suitable, full-time alternative education for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them (section 19, Education Act 1996). Provides information, support and advice for people with dyslexia, and for those who support them. Your local authority’s ‘Local Offer’ also outlines how parents of children with SEND can access information and local services. You can find more information here. Your child may need extra or different support, and/or a different school. How can I help my child with school refusal? I’d like it if you made time to chat to me and ask me how my day was when I get home. The LA may expect this to come from a consultant, but they should “work closely with medical professionals and the child’s family, and consider the medical evidence”. If your child is refusing to go to school, or is feeling anxious, here's our information and advice to help you support your child and work with the school. School phobia, school avoidance and emotionally based school refusal are some of … Together you can discuss whether referral to CAMHS and/or an assessment by a mental health specialist is needed. In some cases a … When a child has been refusing to attend school and their behaviour and/or anxiety appears to be worsening, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You should check if you qualify for legal aid. Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse. Child-motivated absenteeism occurs autonomously, by the volition of the child. Provides independent advice and information for parents on education issues in England. School Refusal Support Services or SRSS is an Unincorporated Organisation We are run by a Committee of people who have an understanding of School Refusal children. Registered charity numbers 1016968 & SC039700, For more tips on how to support your child with their mental health and wellbeing, and where to get help take a look at our parents support. How can I help my child with school anxiety? Hopefully, once everyone involved realises that your child’s non-attendance is to do with their anxiety and SEN rather than deliberate truancy, the threat will be withdrawn. Opening times: 9.30 - 5pm, Monday - Friday. Your child’s school can also refer your child to CAMHS. 2. About 2 per cent of all school-aged children experience school refusal. School refusal is the contemporary term used to describe a condition where a child has difficulties attending school on account of severe emotional distress during their time in school. At IPSEA, we rely on your donations and fundraising efforts to help keep our vital services running. Join the conversation on our social channels. Even though the situation may feel stressful, Ask the school to arrange a reduced timetable, with only a few lessons each week – with the aim of building back up when it feels manageable for your child, Discuss the possibility of changing forms, sets or tutors if your child thinks this would help, Request a home visit from the school, where a staff member can check-in, show your child the school cares about them and discuss strategies for moving forward, Think about small, achievable targets your child can work towards, Linking them with a member of staff, for example from the pastoral team, who they can chat to, Finding a way for them to feel more part of the school community, for example by joining a club, Thinking of ways they can structure break-times if they are finding them difficult, Offering them a new role or responsibility, such as library or book-corner monitor, or learning mentor, Offering a flexible start-time or timetable, Referring them for additional support such as counselling. You’ll see from the guidance (page 8, paragraphs 12-13) that supporting medical evidence will be required. Webchat available via the website homepage. ). Your child does not need to be struggling academically in order to access SEN support. Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them. Speak to their school as soon as possible to let them know about the difficulties they are experiencing. In the short term at least, this could be from a GP. To your GP or another medical/mental health professional consequences for future employment and create a need for social benefits. It ’ s teacher or form tutor as soon as possible to let them know about difficulties! Series of fun videos to help them like their support with a CAMHS referral, can... How your child has an EHC plan is a more serious condition than separation anxiety refuse to go school! Of their feelings and stress over our grades in elementary school can become challenging or over. 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