School refusal, sometimes called school avoidance or school phobia, is not uncommon. It is different to ‘wagging’ or truancy and is often related to worry or anxiety-related issues about going to school. School refusal may start gradually or happen suddenly. Although it is normal for a child to occasionally miss a day of school, parents should only be concerned if a child regularly complains about feeling sick or often asks to stay home due to minor physical complaints.
School refusal is a complex issue as there is rarely a single cause. It affects children of all ages across primary and secondary levels. It can often occur during times of transition at school. More recently, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the educational experience of all students, affecting some more than others. Dealing with a school refusal child can affect the whole family, adding pressure to an already challenging time. School refusal is not considered a formal psychiatric diagnosis. It’s a name given to an emotional and/or behavioural problem.
In this edition of SchoolTV, adult carers will learn how best to approach this issue and work towards a solution. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this month’s edition, and we always welcome your feedback.
If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.