If your child is refusing to go to school, this is known as ‘school refusal’ or ‘school phobia’. This is often caused by fear and anxious feelings.
School refusal can be more common among children with additional or special educational needs (SEN). The way to all children with this issue is very similar.
Remember that your child is probably struggling with feeling anxious. Talk about what’s worrying them, making sure you listen to what they say. Try to help your child lessen their anxious feelings rather than fight against them.
The ways to respond to school refusal are very similar for children with additional or special educational needs. Structure is key, as is taking things slowly.
You can also use a visual timetable. This will help your child to understand the journey they’re on to returning to school.
Don’t be afraid to break down the challenge into smaller parts. Instead of going from just doing the morning routine to travelling to school without going in, add in some stages. For example, if you child usually catches the bus to school, you could try the following:
Want more support? For advice on your specific issue, speak to one of our parenting coaches.
We take your safety and privacy seriously
You don’t have to share your details with us – there are lots of reasons why you might want to remain anonymous, which we will respect. All calls are confidential, and we will always seek your agreement before we share any of your details with other organisations. The only time we will share information without your consent is if we think there is a life-threatening situation, or if you or someone else might be at risk of significant harm. On these occasions we may need to contact the Police, Ambulance Service or Children’s Social Care.
We also share anonymised data with the commissioners of this service. By using Parent Talk, you understand and give your explicit consent to this.
Your email address will not be used for any reason beyond giving you parenting information, support and advice.