Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) is a broad umbrella term used to describe a group of children and young people who have severe difficulty in attending school due to emotional factors, often resulting in prolonged absences from school.
It is difficult to estimate the prevalence of EBSA. The UK literature reports that between approximately 1 and 2% of the school population, with slightly higher prevalence amongst secondary school students, are absent from school due to emotional reasons (Elliot, 1999; Guilliford & Miller, 2015). It is reported to be equally common in males and females with little evidence of a link to socioeconomic status (King & Bernstein, 2001).
The impact of EBSA on young people is far reaching. Outcomes for young people who display EBSA include poor academic attainment, reduced social opportunities and limited employment opportunities (Garry 1996, Pellegrini 2007 and Taylor 2012). EBSA is also associated with poor adult mental health, difficulties can often quickly spiral requiring inpatient treatment (Blagg 1987 and Walter et al 2010).
A previous West Sussex County Council Guidance on Emotionally Based School Refusal was produced in 2004. A multi-agency group requested that this guidance was reviewed and updated to reflect recent research and the services and support currently available.
This guidance has been produced by the Educational Psychology Service and is based on the current evidence base of the factors which are associated with positive outcomes. These include:
The Educational Psychology service has also produced information booklets for parents, children and young people and are holding a series of training events for school staff and other professionals to supplement this guidance with a practical ‘toolkit’ enabling them to work effectively with children and young people and their families.
|Andrea Morgan Senior Educational Psychologist|
|Dr Jerricah Holder Educational Psychologist|
|Ruweida Tikly Educational Psychologist|
|Imogen Hagarty Assistant Psychologist|
|Laurent Holmes Assistant Psychologist|
|Lydia Sole Assistant Educational Psychologist|
|Andrew Parker Manager, Pupil Entitlement Investigations|
|Helen Cottell Associate Advisor, Autism and Social Communication Team|
- What is Emotionally Based School Avoidance?
- Anxiety and EBSA
- Risk and resilience factors of EBSA
- Information gathering and analysis
- Working with others (this includes child, parent carers and school staff)
- Interpreting the information and action planning
- Interventions, strategies and review
- Whole school good practice and transition
- EBSA and Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)
- EBSA, school attendance and the law
- EBSA and Requests for Education Health Care Needs Assessments
- Further local support and resources
- EBSA Toolkit and Appendices