The reasons for school refusal are multi-faceted and complex. On any given day in Ireland 6% of the total school going population, 60,000 children and young people, miss school.
Parents who encounter school refusal often do not know how to handle it, and schools can feel powerless to offer solutions; a targeted practical intervention can help.
The Wicklow School Refusal Pack was designed to provide schools, students and parents/guardians with a School Refusal Pathway. This pathway was developed by services working with young people who are experiencing difficulties attending school for various reasons. It is hoped that this pathway and dedicated resource pack will provide a guide for schools and parents on the best way to manage school refusal and will provide information on the relevant services that may be able to offer support.
School refusal often causes high levels of distress for families and can be very difficult for schools to manage. Early intervention, clear planning and good communication between the school, families and professionals is key.
When a difficulty attending school becomes entrenched it is often much harder to work with than if it is identified early and if intervention plans are then put in place. The Wicklow School Refusal Pathway recognises the importance of early intervention and the key role that school has in identifying and intervening in this issue. The pathway guides families and schools on how to progress with early intervention and what to do if this intervention isn’t working and if additional professional support is required.
Ballywaltrim School Completion Programme in Bray, County Wicklow first brought the idea of a Wicklow School Refusal Pack to Wicklow CYPSC. Colleagues in County Roscommon had already developed a guidance document and this formed the framework for Wicklow's initial discussions.
A Task Group was formed under Wicklow CYPSC's Outcome 2 Learning and Development Subgroup in early 2019. The membership was drawn from more than ten services across County Wicklow including
- primary and post-primary (secondary) schools
- school completion programme
- Tusla Education Support Service (TESS)
- youth services
- family support
- child and adolescent mental health
- primary care psychology and educational psychology.
This CYPSC Task Group met on a number of occasions during 2019 and early 2020 and consulted widely across the County seeking and capturing the input of young people, parents, youth workers and others.
Wicklow CYPSC extends sincere thanks to all who contributed to the development of the Wicklow School Refusal Pack and particularly Jane Sharpe, Ballywaltrim School Completion Programme Co-ordinator.
The Wicklow School Refusal Pack contains useful tools and resources that will be of assistance now and when schools reopen. It is available to download Here
Wicklow CYPSC wishes to encourage an early intervention approach to the issue of school refusal.
On any given day in Ireland 6% of the total school going population, 60,000 children and young people, miss school. Source: Tusla,2019.
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