school refusers

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School Refusal
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School refusal

My 13 year old son has been off for over 3 weeks he has done this in the past and managed to get him back into school now he is refusing 3 weeks ago after refusing we managed to get him to the he was told that one the pastrol team would look in to the pupil referral unit and make a referral but nothing was done now he won't go I have spoken to the teacher and they said he can go in on a reduced timetable but today he was woken up and refused to get dressed I have contacted his lead worker in school to discuss the issues she has spoken to him and he agreed to go in but when this morning came he refused really don't know what to do he a big strong lad at 5,9

Re: School refusal

Oh Dear!
You will have read some of the other messages here and realise that you are not alone. I know that is little comfort and no help, but there are times when we think we are on our own with a unique problem.

I am reminded of coming out of the school feeling very despondent and met the Deputy Head outside 'on smoking patrol' I was never sure if he was looking for pupils smoking, or was having a fly one himself!

Anyway, he shared the information that his brother had been a 'school refuser', but in time had done well for himself. At that point, it was difficult to see that far ahead. But it was also comforting to know that we were not the only ones in this situation.

Your son's behaviour all seems very familiar. It is hugely stressful for you both, and other members of the family. It is important that others understand that this is not normal, nor is it acceptable, but is a 'condition' that he needs help with.

I recognise the reduced timetable as a potential solution, and of a different start time so he does not have to see and be seen by his peers as being different. Can the school send work to him over the internet? Is his class homework posted online?

Maintaining contact with friends is really important for when the time comes for him to integrate back into society, be that school or just 'hanging out' locally.

Sorry! These are ramblings! And not a co-ordinated response.

You cannot just drag him into school. That would not work for either of you, even if you could do it physically. It needs to be negotiated. And this will be an exhausting process. For both of you.

Are you keeping a diary? This is important so that you have got a record of who said what to whom, and when. And then what the outcomes were. Keep all the correspondence. Make notes at meetings, and ask if a minute is being taken.

At meetings, check what follow ups were done following the previous one. Make a record of what you said that you would do - and what you then did.

For many of us, this has not been a quick fix episode. It extends over many years, and the sequence becomes blurred if we have not kept records.

My daughter was passed from health worker to counsellor to CAHMS to... the list goes on, and each time she was asked to tell her story from the beginning without seeming to make any progress. If you have notes to hand over, that may ease the way.

But eventually we came through the dark tunnel. It just seemed to take forever.

One final rambling thought...

Take care of yourself. You will need you strength to rise above the difficult time you and your son are going through.

Yours aye,


Re: School refusal


Re: School refusal

Hi Leanne,

So sorry to hear how things are with your son. It's so tough when they just won't face going in and so very stressful for you both.

Are you able to get any outside support at any stage? Has he seen a doctor? Any thought on medication?
CBT therapy? On-line CBT therapy (I have forgotten how you access this but might be in the resource list on the website).

The main thing I found was trying to get my son to keep up with the work when he wasn't at school. The teachers had this idea if you send work home they never go in. But if they never go in anyway - what's to loose. So hopefully your teachers are not like that and you might be able to organise some work to be sent home so that he does not fall behind. Explain to them that if he falls behind, he will feel less like attending. Would they be willing to organise tutoring at home in Maths and English? Depending on where you are - this might be something they or you can do.

Try to keep up some positive activities outside of the home and keep the door open for your son to talk to you.
Looking back on my own experience ( and we are not out of the woods by any means), I would have hoped to have set up a program that allowed my son to keep breaking down the walls he was building. Starting small and then building up to school. But we didn't have much support so it becomes more of a habit and lifestyle not to break through the barriers and get to school.
Maintaining self esteem outside of school is important. Does your son play guitar or play a sport or do anything that is developing a skill? Does he interact with others on-line playing games? This is all helpful to keep that level of confidence.

There is no one answer for this but just know, like Simon says, you are not alone. We are here to listen and to help when we can. Its a difficult road but how others have managed is always help.
I hope something I have said is of some help but I agree very much with what Simon also referred to and that is your own health. Take up a hobby, go out with friends, have a coffee with someone every week - or even every day if you can as this makes you feel you still have a life and can recharge your batteries.
Some kids to move out of where they are and then get on with school but others are not quite so fortunate and take longer.

See if you can talk to your son about the things that might help but don't refer to it as 'help you get back to school' because they will be avoiding that. So help that will help them feel better overall is how they will respond better.
Consider talking over medication with your doctor - it has helped my son when other support was not there.
All the best and let us know how you are going,
take care,

Re: School refusal

Hi Leanne,

Its been awhile since you posted on here and I was just wondering how things a going? Have you managed to get your son to school on part time table yet or is he still refusing to go.
Feel free to come on here anytime and ask for help.
I hope things are improving.
take care,