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. 

  No registration required - just get posting!

School Refusal
Start a New Topic 
View Entire Thread
Re: Year 10

As you know, you are not alone with an issue like this, and there are probably others at the school who have similar problems.

Private schools thrive on their reputation. It took me years to discover why all school leavers appeared to have done so well (judging by the Speech Day announcements) yet not all the boys who had been in that year were still there at the end. As I reached the senior form, my parents discovered why. Anyone likely not to do well was asked to leave! I only learned this years later.

But not all private schools are like that. My daughter moved to a private school where the care was outstanding and where they understood 'duvet days' and worked to get through them. She is heading south today for a job interview - if her nerves will allow her to board the train. But she got though this trauma we call 'school refusal'.

Kerry, this is not a 'crucial' time. It is just a hurdle that can be overcome, but maybe just not yet. Yes, I know it seems important, but we are not all the same, and schools struggle to cope with differences (but see above!).

The headmaster of that school asked me to write an article. You can see it here:

Private schools do not have a duty to provide your son with an education, as do state schools. But it might be worth having a good look at the prospectus to see what they do say.

This sample letter may give some pointers: It was kindly provided by a parent who resorted to writing it to get justice for her child. My recollection is she took the local authority to court.

Kerry, whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, make sure you both enjoy your summer. You both need a break and to build up your streangth and his confidence.

Take care,


Re: Year 10

Thank you Simon for the kind words of advice & support. I hope things went well for your daughter in her interview & it's good to hear there is light at the end of the tunnel. You are right, of course, in saying this is not a 'crucial' time - it's just that society is built on the premise that our children have to complete certain milestones at certain times in their education and it seems we are all put under enormous pressure to conform to what is expected instead of prioritizing what is right for the individual. The school has agreed to let him go back in September but with conditions attached and if he's not regularly in school for the first few weeks, he'll have to leave. I am trying to stay calm and give him all the help and support he needs for his anxiety and other issues, and ensure he has a relaxing summer, but it's not an easy situation, as you will know.

Re: Year 10

Well done negotiating the return in September! Now, enjoy your summer!

My daughter was a bundle of nerves when we put her on the flight to London last night for a second interview, but so proud of her being able to do that. Not so long ago, she could not get the bus to the next village.

Everyone has different milestones along their journey Some just seem further apart than others. If we can help our offspring to get to the next one, then that is often good enough.


Re: Year 10

Hi Kerry

Sorry to hear of your struggles....know them well!! How have things gone since September? Have the 'conditions' been helpful or are you at a standstill again? Let us know. Remember, you are not alone on this journey.
take care,

Re: Year 10

Hi Linda Sorry it's taken me so long to respond & thank you for asking. Things started off ok in early September but then went downhill again and he has stopped attending. Every day is a battle trying to get him to go in or even to do a bit of work at home, both usually ending in failure. I am just hoping that he will rally enough to try his exams next summer and then get into college & start afresh there. It's such a difficult situation to live with as a single parent and my sympathies go out to everyone who has experienced or is experiencing the same thing with their child because it really does seem as though it will never end, but I know things surely have to change and get better eventually!

Re: Year 10

Hi Kerry

Thanks for the update. It sounds pretty tough for you at the moment. Do you think your son knows if there is anything causing the school refusal or does he just have the feeling he can't fo it? My son also wouldn't do the work ar home and the teachers didn't help by not sending work home as they believed it would make him stay home more!
Looking back, if I had my time around again I would try even harder to find someone to help me to try and get my son to face some of his fears in order to break them down. I did do this with some things and I can now see the difference with those and other ones where he has developed an expertise in avoidance. So if you can get your son to try and gain confidence in things that have nothing to do with school and keep him getting out of the house, intereacting with others where possible, it all does help for later. If you can find a psychologist who specialises in Cognitive behaviour therapy, that is also very helpful
Take care and hope you can find small steps for your son and also both accept where things are right now. It is so much harderr as a sole parent (I am one too) so finding good support for yourself or a creative outlet each week is also very important.
take cade and hope to hear from you again soon