Whole school good practice and transition

Any successful work with an individual needs to be embedded in whole school systems. General good practice for promoting emotional well-being and positive mental health also applies to EBSA. The figure below outlines the culture, structures, resources and practice within a school that can promote wellbeing of staff and young people, with particular reference to EBSA. A whole school audit can be found in Appendix 5.

Whole school systems for promotion of emotional well- being and prevention of EBSA im


Literature has shown that peaks in the number of young people with EBSA correspond with transition in educational phases. This is not surprising as young people face significant changes.


Successful transition involves the young person being supported to be able to make adjustments to fit in with their new environment.


Most children adjust to these changes over time. However young people who experience higher levels of anxiety or who have experienced loss and separation may be vulnerable to developing or experience an exacerbation of EBSA behaviours. It is important that schools and parents provide appropriate support and any vulnerable young people are flagged up early by the feeder school and an individual approach is taken.

Good transition practice involves effective exchange of information both pastoral and academic from primary to secondary school. It is really important if feeder schools flag up any early separation difficulties and past EBSA even if the issues were mild and attendance is now fine. We advise that secondary schools should specifically ask this information on any transition gathering forms.

Good transition also involves good communication with the young person and their parents. Key to this is giving the young people and their parent’s practical information.

Key information required Practical supports
Travel to school – how will they get there Go through journey to school, practice this, identify any companions
Key people in school Give a simplified structure chart, provide photos, identify a key person
Environment Layout of school – map, tour, quiz colour coding Provide maps, give tours, quiz, colour code subjects to building areas
Structure of the day timetables, break and lunchtime systems Provide timetables, colour code these, break and lunchtime systems
Social time – supporting social interactions and those more vulnerable, bullying policies Identify how pupils will be supported to make new friendships, access to supported social activities
Academic demands – how lessons are structured. Homework Give information about how lessons are structured, homework expectations
Support systems in place – pastoral SEN support Set out how young people will be supported provide one page profile
Equipment needed Provide checklist for each day

Familiar school staff should discuss with young people and their parents what are they are looking forward to and what they are worried about and this should be individually addressed. An example of support for this are ‘What if cards...’


Download a PDF version of the Emotionally Based School Avoidance Guidance and other leaflets here.