school refusers

a resource for parents 

Please feel free to join our School Refuser message forum discussions. If you have experience of school refusing, you may find it appropriate to respond to previous posts.  Or you may be feeling isolated and wish to express your feelings.  Whatever, your contribtions are welocme. 

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Mental Wellbeing
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Re: How to respond to my child without making things worse

thank goodness I found this site this evening, I am also a single mum of an 11 year old school refuser, previously had 3 weeks off for an auto immune disease he is now adamant he wont go back (but says he will go to another one). and so it begins, the school are happy to suggest my single mum status is to blame "do u actually work??" I was asked YES I DO AND STUDY FOR A MASTERS IM ASKING FOR SUPPORT NOT BLAME! tomorrow we have a meeting with educational welfare (who hasn't previously answered any of my messages for support)
my son is now anxious and is saying "I cant go, I cant go" I really dont know what to suggest other than we need to go to sort something out for you, if it means a new school thats fine but we need to go!
Worried about the meeting already...just want some back up!

glad to have found you all xxx

Re: How to respond to my child without making things worse

Hi Zoe,

So glad you found us. Your story is a familiar one and that blame game, especially for sole parenting, seems something that schools do when they have no idea what to do.
Go to the meeting with your head held high. It doesn't matter if your son doesn't go as well, mine mever attended such meetings.
Dress well (dress up) and have a folder under your arm, pen in hand, and ask them what they are going to do to help and suport you.
Let them know that school refusal does affect a number of students and that it is not the fault of parent or child. The anxiety may already exist but something triggers the non return and it is usually from being away due to illness, bullying, or some other mysterious feeling thst cannot be pin pointed (but leave out the last one!!). Tell them there has been quite a lot if research into school refusal and how the school responds can be vital in how things progress.

They need to know that your son needs to be assessed to then get support either going to school, or in fact at home. The education policy in UK states that a child must receive support for their education if suffering from physical or mental health. This is a mental health issue, NOT a behaviour issue. Emphasise that to the school. They always opt for the behavour blame unless they have an understanding of psychology or have come across this before,

Let them know that from the experience of others, my own and on this forum for example, if the issue is treated for what it is (mental health) the student will have a much better chance of a turn around and be able to start attending than if it is treated as a behavioural issue. That just isolates the child and makes their self esteem plummet.
You are also entitled to some home tutoring during the processor if your child jusf cannot go.
Ask them to set up a support person at the school who will catch up with your son daily initially. Perhaps re entry part time might work (didn't with us). A new school is last resort as the issue goes with them.

You are doing a good job in very trying circumstances. Embrace your son and let him know you will do what you can to help him feel better (don't goback to school). Do some things together that will help boost his self esteem and try to make sure he still sees friends or family as socialising is very important or else they become housebound. He is probably currently confused and perhaps overwhelmed by his feelings towards school.

And well done you for doing a Masters as a single mum! Try to keep doing that to keep up your own sense of normal. And do other things just for you need to re boost your energy as often as possible and not have to think about your son and school!
Take care and I'd like to hear how your meeting goes.
Linda xx