The importance of regular school attendance is an issue we have highlighted recently with our College community.
At this complex time we need to find a balance between managing the challenges of family life and keeping daily structures as normal as possible. The routines of the school day, even in the online world, can help keep a familiar rhythm to life. Things like going to bed at a reasonable time, getting up in the morning, being ready for the day, healthy eating and regular exercise patterns help support wellbeing and mental health
School refusal is an issue to be understood and closely monitored at this time of online learning. It may happen gradually or suddenly. School refusal is when a child begins to actively avoid class attendance. It may begin by students telling you classes are not on, or cameras don´t need to be switched on, or even that they are not required to submit work or participate. You may notice a decrease in engagement with friends or changes to sleeping patterns. The most powerful prevention of school refusal is to support and encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep.
Although it’s 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/ avoid classes 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. As discussed by Dr Michael Carr-Greg on the SchoolTV site, school refusal is not considered a formal psychiatric diagnosis. It´s a name given to an emotional and/or behavioural problem that with assistance can be resolved.
You can click on this link to the school refusal edition of Beaconhills SchoolTV to find a range of information on the topic. And if you have any concerns about your child, please contact the school counsellor for further information or seek medical or professional help.
By Yvonne Ashmore
Head of Wellbeing, Beaconhills College