Stop Treating School Refusal As Truancy

send_blocks.pngSchool refusal, sometimes known as school phobia or emotionally based school avoidance and is normally defined by off the scale anxiety, and it can occur from any amount of underlying problems including bullying, or an undiagnosed, unsupported Special Educational Need or Disability, or a mental health problem.

Whilst the underlying problem can exhibit significant difficulties in itself, the resulting school refusal leaves families in crisis, and a new holding code would start to measure the scale of the developing dilemma.

It would ensure a steady strategy across all schools, aid children until their problems could be addressed and ease families from the threat of prosecution for unlawful absences.

The decision to approve absenteeism rests with specific schools who are ruled by legal responsibilities, attendance targets and Ofsted goals as well as the pupil’s wellbeing, but none of the current 23 attendance regulations allows for a holding stage while the problem of school refusal is investigated and suitable help rendered.

Without medical evidence that a child is unfit for school, absence is consequently usually unauthorised and classified as truancy, which is a prosecutable crime, and budget cuts, increased testing, delays in , higher thresholds for mental health support and challenges securing and achieving Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), which succeeded the earlier Statement of Educational Need, are all compounding the dilemma.

Whilst there’s no reliable evidence on school refusal at present, the growth in homeschooling, prosecutions and permanent exclusions are all pointers of a significant problem, and a national Facebook group, Not Fine in School (NFIS) which started in November 1917 presently has over 4,800 members (February 2019) and has increased to the rate of 350-400 new members every month.

The completion of an NFIS poll which appeared in March 2018 and was completed by 1,661 families revealed that 92 per cent of parents believed that their child’s school attendance problems were related to undiagnosed or unsupported Special Educational Need or Disability.

Despite this, 20 per cent had been told not to pursue asking for an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP) and a further 20 per cent didn’t even know what an EHCP was.

55 per cent of parents were blamed for their child’s attendance problems and 25 per cent of parents were reported to Social Services because of their child’s bad attendance.

18.4 per cent of parents had been accused of manufacturing or influencing their child’s illness, further known as FII or Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, and 67 per cent had been put under pressure to force their child into school, yet 59 per cent said this had made the situation worse.

A new attendance code is only part of the narrative and must be backed by extensive examination, thriving school refusal response plans and national supervision because it’s a daily fight to get a child to school with so much anxiety going on, and simply watching a child make themselves sick so that people can tick boxes is so evil, and at what time are people going to sit up and accept that it’s not the parents failing.

And parents of school refusers are being punished for their child’s anxiety problems and undiagnosed Pathological Demand Avoidance, but are being given warning letters about unlawful absences, yet parents have their own problems to deal with without the intimidation of being penalised or imprisoned.

People are signing the petition because until the stats reveal how great the problem is, there will be no incentive to do anything to help these children and parents, and those children who refuse to go to school due to anxiety bought on by many years of schools not meeting their needs, are separated from their peers and handled like dangerous animals.

This is why there are numerous parents that are now homeschooling their children because the school system has failed to identify or document that failure, and everything must change.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

2 thoughts on “Stop Treating School Refusal As Truancy

    1. I homeschooled two of my children, both for various reasons. One of my sons is Autistic, therefore the basis for taking him out of school for a while, then he went onto a residential school, his brother was taken out because of bullying.

      My son who was taken out because of bullying was out of school for nine weeks before he went onto Senior school. His junior school had stated that my son was lethargic and lazy and not prepared to learn, but at home, while I was teaching, he was fine, and then I realised he was Dyslexic.

      The school asked me how come that when he was at home with me his work was really good, and I replied, “Well, that might be that he’s Dyslexic.” They stared at me like was as mad as a hatter, but when he went onto Senior school, I mentioned it and they tested him, and look, he was actually Dyslexic and got the assistance that he needed.

      Schools don’t teach, teaching you how to learn is not the role of schools because human brains will learn in their default setting.

      So, your child has gone from Infant school to Junior school, they’ve mastered how to read and write and all the usual stuff the Infant and Junior schools do, then they go to secondary school. They pick up their books and are told what to study and given their assignments, then they go back to school, are tested and then onto the next assignment, that’s not teaching at all.

      We need well-rounded citizens, not rote trained Frankensteins, and what they should learn shouldn’t depend on where they live either.

      What children learn may not be very valuable at equipping them for life because the educational systems function is to take all that information in the world and pluck out what they believe is essential, but once they’ve done that, they should organise it into an order that hopefully makes it conducive to education, and make sure that material is being introduced at an age-appropriate time.

      Children discover shapes and colours, and we invariably ask “What colour is that?” and “What shape is that?” On their own would they have taken to discover this on their own had it not been explained to them what colour and shape it was and is it deserving of the time and effort to learn?

      Of course, there is because there’s a limit to what we can learn if not given the relevant resources, and further access to certain resources can stimulate the velocity of learning.

      If someone asks “Why?” or “What is that?” for the hundredth time, if there isn’t a subject master on the other end of the line waiting with an explanation, then these questions go unanswered and no education happens, or worse, the child learns the wrong thing.

      Education takes time, it takes discipline and routine, and it’s expensive, and sometimes it seems extreme and irrelevant, but when combined, they’re all somehow necessary, and all of these costs help foster a certain kind of environment in which intellectualism ceases to be a matter of work or duty and then becomes natural and casual.

      This is why private institutions tend to get high-grades because they’ve nursed a particular sort of setting, whereas state schools have to rely on the support of the government who don’t seem to want to spend much money at all.

      Education is expensive, and our government don’t want to put their hands in their pockets, but education is mandatory, and mandatory education laws require kids to attend a public or a state-accredited private school for a specified time.

      Then we come to school uniforms, and even though school uniform is standard in the United Kingdom, there’s no law enforcing it in any of the three separate legal jurisdictions of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and the implementation of school uniform policy and dress regulations is usually for individual schools to decide, but don’t wear one and your child will be suspended from school.

      You’re told you that there’s a reason for your child to dress in school uniform because it stops differentiation on the grounds such as age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation, but don’t be deceived, it’s a money-making constraint, and a child wearing their own attire means that they dress as an individual and not in the state of a clan.

      Children can’t be disciplined for not wearing a uniform if their parents don’t want their child to wear one. I’m not saying that they should be allowed to wear anything they want, there should be a policy on what they can wear and what they can’t on everyday clothing.

      When I was at school when the school opened there was no dress code, because they wanted the kids to dress in comfortable attire, so they invited the pupils to say what kind of uniform they wanted. It was a yellow shirt, tee-shirt or jumper with blue trousers or jeans because some of the children travelled a distance to school and in the winter months it was really cold, so jeans were adopted in the summer, and blue trousers for boys or girls, but if the girls wanted to wear a skirt, that had to be blue as well, the system worked pretty well for a long time.

      Most schools in the United States don’t require a uniform, but instead, impose a dress code outlining what sort of attire is fitting and unsuitable for pupils to wear at school, and I believe that we should embrace this sort of system in the United Kingdom because not every family can afford school uniform, it’s pricey and overrated, it’s school, not an institution!

      Liked by 1 person

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