A SecEd webinar on emotionally based school avoidance attracted thousands of viewers. In this article, which first appeared in SecEd's Back from the Brink supplement, Dr Pooky Knightsmith picks up the discussion, offering five steps to re-engage with pupils who struggle to attend school

For a whole host of reasons, some children find it very difficult to come to school. Their persistent lateness or absence will ring alarm bells. We need to think carefully about the steps we take to understand and support the child and family so that we can break rather than reinforce the cycle of school avoidance.

1, The warning signs

The sooner we are able to pick up the early warning signs of emotionally based school avoidance (EBSA), the more able we are to have a swift and positive impact. The longer the issue continues, the more embedded cycles of avoidant and anxious behaviour will have become and the harder they will be to unpick.

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