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Addressing emotionally-based school avoidance

This resource looks at the topic of emotionally-based school avoidance (EBSA) and shares ideas to help education staff address the issue.

Book your place on our EBSA training

Emotionally-based school avoidance is a term referring to reduced or nonattendance at school by a child or young person.

Rather than the term ‘school refusal’, the term EBSA recognises that this avoidance has its root in emotional, mental health or wellbeing issues.

The 2022 Attendance Audit from the Children’s Commissioner found that in Autumn 2021, 1 in 4 children were persistently absent. In 2018/2019, this figure was 1 in 9 – meaning that persistent absence has more than doubled in this time period.

This resource:

  • introduces the topic of EBSA

  • explores some of the potential risk factors

  • provides strategies and tips to help education staff tackle the issue.

  • Download the resource

    Download the addressing emotionally-based school avoidance booklet.


Working with parents and carers

Brenda McHugh, psychotherapist and co-founder of the Pears Family School, explores the topic of emotionally-based school avoidance (EBSA), along with parent Hannah who discusses the impact of EBSA on herself and her child.

A parent's experience

Hannah, a parent whose child has experienced emotionally-based school avoidance (EBSA), talks about the impact the issue had on her son and herself, as well as what helped him re-integrate to mainstream education