Information gathering and analysis
School plays a key role in the identification of children and young people who are currently experiencing, or at risk of EBSA. It is important for schools to develop effective whole schools systems to support young people, be vigilant to early indicators and employ a thorough assess, plan, do and review cycle placing the young person at the heart of the interventions.
It is very important to be proactive with EBSA. The longer the problems remain unaddressed the poorer the outcome, as the difficulties and behaviours become entrenched. Schools need to be vigilant in monitoring attendance of young people noticing any patterns in non-attendance or changes to behaviours.
A Profile of Risk of EBSA can be found in Appendix 1 Profile of Risk of EBSA. This can help practitioners identify areas of risk. The PRE schedule looks at 5 key risk areas for EBSA. The checklist is for use alongside the usual attendance monitoring systems in school, e.g. SIMS and consideration of patterns of attendance, to screen for possible EBSA in relation to non- attendance.
|Possible indicators of EBSA include:|
|Difficulty attending school with periods of prolonged absence|
|Child reluctant to leave home and stays away from school with the knowledge of the parent/carer|
|For younger children reluctance to leave parents or get out of the car|
|Regular absence without indication of anti-social behaviours|
|Frequent absences for minor illnesses|
|Patterns in absences, for example, particular days and/or subjects, after weekends and holidays|
|Reluctance to attend school trips|
|The young person expresses a desire to attend classes but is unable to do so|
|Anxiety on separation and inappropriate dependence on family members e.g. worry expressed about the safety of those at home|
|Evidence of under-achievement of learning potential|
|Social isolation and avoidance of class mates or peer group|
|Challenging behaviours, particularly in relation to specific situations at school|
|Severe emotional upset with excessive fearfulness, outbursts of temper and complaints of feeling ill on school days|
|Depression and sense of isolation resulting in, low self-esteem and lack of confidence|
|Confusion or extreme absent mindedness shown in school due to lack of concentration resulting in, lower attainments|
|Physical changes i.e. sweating, sickness, aching limbs, headaches, panic attacks, abdominal pain, rapid weight loss or gain|
Where significant risks of EBSA are identified, it’s really important to gather further information from the young person, parent and school staff involved with the young person and put into place strategies to support the young person as soon as possible. Swift action can prevent EBSA from becoming entrenched and result in much better outcomes. School should follow a thorough assess, plan, do and review cycle placing the young person at the heart of the planning and interventions.
|Assess||Gain a full understanding of the various aspects at play (child, school and family)|
|Plan||Based on information gathered plan for a realistic small reintegration|
|Do||Ensure resources and support is in place, good communication with school, family and others|
|Review||Monitor the progress made and adjust the plan for next steps|
Information gathering and analysis
Once a difficulty has been identified there should be a prompt investigation into the reasons for the difficulties. In order for any intervention or support plan to be successful it is essential to gain an understanding of the various aspects causing and maintaining the EBSA behaviours.
Thambirajah et al. (2008) state that the main aims of this analysis is to:
It is often tempting to try to locate a simple reason and simple solution for the behaviour
However as identified earlier it is often an interaction of a number of factors and trying to find simple causation often encourages blaming and individuals can then become anxious and defensive. Parents may feel blamed for the absences, feel that their parenting skills are being criticised and they may be fearful that they will get into trouble or even prosecuted for non- attendance. Children may feel guilty or scared that they will be forced to attend school.
Each person may have a different perspective on EBSA and have a different story to tell. It is essential that different people’s views are respected and differences in views are acknowledged. When there is a difference of views it is often more helpful to focus on how the behaviour is occurring rather than why.
Due to the complex nature of EBSA no fixed ‘assessment process’ can be followed. However in all cases it is essential that the views of the young person, the family and key school personnel are gathered and listened to.
- What is Emotionally Based School Avoidance?
- Anxiety and EBSA
- Risk and resilience factors of EBSA
- 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