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Realistically, if a child in secondary school (Y7) is refusing to attend more than a day or two per week at most, what steps can the school take?
...and (if it continued without any improvement) would the school ever exclude the child permanently?
Interested to know how bad attendance can get before a child would be referred to a pupil referral unit or if indeed that would ever happen?
Or what are the full range of steps a school would take and at what point?
Reasons are claimed to be anxiety and child is known to simply refuse to attend.
The school cannot exclude for poor attendance.The first step is likely to be with either the Education Welfare Officer or family support worker to try and improve attendance. However if this is about anxiety /school phobia then there likely to be other agencies involved in trying to improve the situation.
In theory, no child should be referred to the PRU,as this is for pupils who are outside education because they have been permanently excluded. However different LAs do use their PRUs in different ways, so it is always possible they would be referred there. Some LAs have some specialist provision for pupils who have become school phobic but that referral would definitely be coming via the LA.
I think this child may continue to refuse school on a downward spiral so I’m guessing the other agencies you mention might well already be involved.
I also wondered if Academy’s had different scope when dealing with school refusal?
It must be hard to deal with all round.
Are you the parent or teacher?
My child’s sporadically refused to the point of total refusal....but that was because he has high functioning ASD and just couldn’t cope in a large mainstream where staff were not trained (and didn’t particularly care) to understand and support his needs.
Their actions made him freeze at school but then melt down at home, self harm and refuse to go.
School refusal/phobia is very different to truancy. The underlying reasons are different.
Doesn’t the child have SEND? If yes’m, then you might find extra help on the SN Chat Pages.
No not either, just concerned friend trying to find out information on how the system works to understand it better.
No SEND at all. Only issues are anxiety and school refusal.
One of our PRU’s (we have more than one unit in our LA) caters for children that haven’t been excluded but have other issues that mean they can’t or won’t attend. Eg medical issues, emotional or social causes. I’m guessing this may be an eventual step for this child but I’m curious as to how bad the attendance levels must drop to for it to be used. Currently they are around 65% but getting worse. Some of that is authorised (eg claimed sickness) but some is unauthorised (school aware it was down to refusal).
I’m wondering, how low does a percentage have to get before these sort of measures will be provided?
Well if the child is too anxious to attend it is a health issue. And the school can make several adjustments, one being to offer a reduced timetable.
What if the school has offered a reduced timetable and supplied one to one tuition and the pupil is still refusing to attend
Reduced timetable has been offered. Still refusing to attend.
So does anyone know what the next stage is . His mother has done all she can to get the pupil (year 9) into school .The school have put all recommendations in please and still, he refuses
School shouldn't exclude for a health issue. What support has been offered?
The child I refer to in my OP hasn’t been excluded and I didn’t think they would do that anyway.
Reduced timetable had been given but child still refuses to attend.
What will happen if she continues to refuse?
There should be other agencies involved to support the family and the child with their anxiety e.g. CAMHS. If school absence is due to mental health the Senco should be involved as well. What support is the family getting?
I don’t know exactly what they are getting at the moment. Reduced timetable is all I’m aware of so far but it doesn’t seem to be helping and attendancd is actually getting worse.
The child I'm referring to has had involvement with all the agencies and medics and an Ed Phycological input but no report has deemed him unwell enough to be off school. His mother is being punished although she is doing all in her power to get him into school.
Exclusions should never be used for attendance issues, so a PEX wouldn't happen.
In our LA the PRUs are for extreme behaviour only - and they are full so only really admitting if a child has been PEXd.
We would offer reduced timetable (some kids taken right back to one or two subjects at first if needed), referral to CAMHS and we'd look at hospital ed.
I've got a couple of school refusers and visiting them at home has helped - no teenager wants their teacher in their house. Feels quite invasive but sometimes we've got nothing left to try.
Also SEN team should consider whether child should be on SEN register as SEMH.
And does the child want to try a different school?
Thank you ASauvignonADay that’s all very helpful.
May I ask... is it always the case that if nothing solves the issue and the child point blank refuses to attend or engage, will the parents always be prosecuted?
Does there come a point when the LA would be forced to prosecute parents or can they choose not to. I’m talking about attendance levels between 50-60% potentially.
No, they won't always be prosecuted. If the parent is taking reasonable steps, the school/EWS shouldn't opt to prosecute.
We also have to consider whether the child is 'beyond parental control' - so if a parent is doing everything the child is just not doing anything they are supposed to, a prosecution would not be deemed appropriately. It might then become an Education Supervision Order. Sometimes social services become involved at that point.
Thank you ASauvignonADay that’s really helpful to know.
What does an Ed supervision order involve ?
Interesting re your PP where you mention “Hospital Ed”... I’ve found that one of our units here is dedicated as a:
"Home and Hospital Education Service"
So I’m assuming this is where this child will be referred to next if this continues.
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