The SecEd Webinar: Responding to Emotionally Based School Avoidance

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Emotionally Based School Avoidance has become a big challenge for schools during the pandemic. This SecEd webinar offers ideas, tips and advice about how we can respond and engage with pupils who are not attending.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) has become an even bigger challenge for schools – but it can be a difficult issue to address.

This hour-long webinar, which took place on December 8, offers practical solutions, advice, and ideas for schools to help them engage effectively with students and successfully bring them back into school, while at the same time protecting their wellbeing and mental health. We also consider those students who attend school, but struggle to attend lessons.

We considered common barriers to attendance, effective support plans, how to involve students in the solutions, how to engage with families, and what early intervention looks like.

The panel also took extensive questions from colleagues who attended live, addressing some of the issues and challenges they are facing on the ground.

WATCH THE WEBINAR: Watch the webinar by clicking here. It is free access but viewers must register.

WEBINAR RESOURCES: A range of resources to accompany this webinar are available, including from Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Sarah Clarke and Laura juniper. To receive these, email webinar chair Pete Henshaw via

The webinar was hosted with support from Academy 21, an online alternative provision. Our panel featured:

  • Chair: Pete Henshaw, Editor SecEd & Headteacher Update.
  • Sarah Clarke, Curriculum Engagement and Safeguarding Lead, Wilmslow High School, Cheshire.
  • Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Mental Health & Wellbeing Expert, Creative Education.
  • Clare Brokenshire, Head of Academy 21.
  • Laura Juniper, SENCO, The Reach Free School, Hertfordshire.


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