School avoidance has been a key challenge for schools this year. Dr Pooky Knightsmith considers how teachers and leaders can work with parents to support children who struggle to come to school

When a child is struggling to come to school, it is important that school and home work together as a genuine team around the child. This will allow us to get to the heart of the issue and provide the appropriate support to enable the child to feel safe and happy attending school.

When the home-school relationship doesn’t work, things can disintegrate into “us and them”, with school and home each viewing each other as the enemy. When it does work, the winner is the child – so here are some ideas to make it work.

Know the child

Put the child right at the heart of things in a positive way, by getting to really know them. Look to their strengths, passions and interests. Learn what makes them tick, not what makes them tick boxes. You could try:

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