The term ‘school refusers’ can incorporate pupils with varying difficulties who, for whatever reason, do not attend school regularly. Research has shown that practitioners use the term ‘school refuser’ in different ways. Sometimes it is used interchangeably with the term ‘school phobics’, but at other times school refusers refers to a broader group of pupils with more general issues of non-attendance relating to disaffection.
Children who are very anxious, have problems with social relationships, are bullied, have poor literacy or numeracy skills, or who become disaffected, may refuse to go to school for prolonged periods.
The school refuser may remain at home with their parent's knowledge or may set off for school as normal but truant during the day.
Here, we make no distinction between different reasons for non-attendance, other than to attempt focus on long-term absence, particularly for those children who exhibit symptoms of stress or anxiety about attending school.
This website is for parents seeking a way forward, and for those who, themselves, need support during this stressful period. You join us at a time when we are still building the website. Your help in bringing this resource together will be warmly welcomed. we are not experts - just concerned parents seeking an answer.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) did devote a page of their website to school refusers. It was quite empty! Now (August 2009) they have removed the page, leaving nothing. That typifies the level of support available for those of us with children classified as 'refusers'. We have to change that.
Most children will attempt to refuse to go to school at some time or other; often complaining of stomach aches or other illnesses to excuse them from school for a day or so. They then return to school with no problems.