What should we do if a child is struggling to attend school or college
Support Mental Health Issues in Children & Young
Children and young people experience mental health difficulties for a range of complex reasons. The Government recommends that schools develop a mental health policy that creates an environment where young people with anxiety and mental health problems feel supported, understood, and able to seek help, making it more likely they will feel safe and able to attend school.
Assess and Acknowledge Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Many children with SEND experience attendance barriers, especially those with needs not yet fully assessed, understood and supported. ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, executive functioning, processing and working memory and other learning differences, including social emotional and mental health difficulties, may affect a child’s ability to learn, to communicate or regulate emotions. They will usually need reasonable adjustments.
Support Referrals to CAMHS & other Health Care Professionals
Where significant mental health problems occur, a child may need to access more specialist support including CAMHS, paediatricians, OT and SALT, and other local providers. Parents can ask for referrals through their GP. The school nursing team or health navigator can sometimes make, expediate or coordinate referrals. Unfortunately, long wait times for referrals can compound the problem, but support from school goes a long way to ensuring students gain access to necessary treatment.
Make a Referral for Assessment by an Educational Psychologist
An Educational Psychologist can assess a child’s barriers to learning child and recommend appropriate interventions. This input can be useful as being unable to attend school is often a symptom of a significant need or problem perhaps not yet identified, and therefore requires more specialist knowledge and recommendations.