School refusal is the current term used to describe students who frequently fail to attend school due to feeling ‘unwell’. Students can be absent from school with visible physical signs and medical illness. When your child has their leg in plaster, has the ‘flu, or is covered in spots with a high temperature they are clearly unwell. With a child who feels sick, has headaches or is very tired it is difficult to tell how ill they actually are. There is little evidence to see and convince you that they are not well – this doesn’t mean they are making it all up!
Information on school refusal is very difficult to obtain. Some Education Authorities have previously produced guidance and there are also a few websites and forums where parents share information. Statements along the lines of ‘make sure that your child goes to school’ is the general guidance available. Australia and the USA have a more open acknowledgement of the issue but that does little to help us directly in the UK. Check the origin of websites and bear this in mind if you are searching for information.
The main advice from the government is to remind you that you can be prosecuted if you don’t give your child an education. This includes the option of home-schooling. click here
The long term implications of frequently missing school are more than simply affecting the childs qualifications and employment prospects. Attendance is considered by future employers when offering jobs. Loss of social contact with friends can also lead to feeling isolated.
- School attendance and guidance – Gov.uk
- Young Minds – school anxiety (UK)
- School refusal UK
- Parenting – School Refusal (UK)
- School Refuser Org – support website and forum (UK)
- Solutions to school refusal for parents and kids (USA)
- Useful information (Scotland)
When searching the internet you can also look under EBSR – Emotionally Based School Refusal. This term helps to differentiate between intentional absence and anxiety based absence.
This site is still relatively new and is being added to all the time. If you have any questions on this subject please send a quick email.