a charity supporting parents & carers of challenging children

HELPP Help Education and Learning for Parents by Parents accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided in this web-site. We are not medical professionals and we are not giving any medical or professional advice or service through the publication or distribution of articles or comments on this web-site. Individuals with suspected or diagnosed disorders or syndromes, or any conditions discussed on this web-site should consult with a qualified professional for advice concerning diagnosis and treatment. HELPP is a Registered Charity, No: 1139691. HELPP is a Private Limited Company, No: 7434496. Copyright 2014 KieronDSmith all rights reserved.  Revised: 29 October 2014  


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Tips for parents - School refusal

What causes school refusal?

Some children get anxious and very upset at the thought of having to go to school. This can make them feel unwell and they complain of things like:



Tummy aches

Poor appetite

Frequent visits to the toilet

These symptoms can start the night before and usually wear off later in the day.

School refusal is particularly common in teenagers.

Some of the things that can trigger school refusal are:

Family changes

Change of schools



Learning difficulties

What can be done to help?

If your child is refusing to go to school, they need to be able to talk to you and to the teachers about what is causing the problem.

They need to know that you are taking them seriously and they need to be involved in any discussion of how they may overcome it.

You and the teacher’s will need to encourage your child to get back to school. Your child will need a lot of support at home and in school. Some problems can be sorted out quickly but others may need additional support from:

It is important that you keep talking to all parties involved and that you keep to any agreements made with them otherwise the problem might change from school refusal to condoned absence.

If your child is seriously distressed at the thought of going to school there are medical units that CAMHS can refer them to