Frequent sick-days and a general reluctance to go in are signs that your child is not enjoying their school experience. We have collected a few different pieces of advice to help you resolve these issues.

Parent Line Plus’s Sue Ormesher advises parents to first of all find out what is making their child unhappy – “It’s important to show that you want to understand your child’s problems as they will be more likely to open up to you”. You can find out what might be the problem by observing your child at school. This will allow you to pick up on the things which are unusual in your child, whether this is during lesson times, in the lunch hall, or on the playground. Once finding this cause, it becomes easier to find a suitable solution.

If there appears to be no immediate problem, below are a number of alternative causes of your child’s problem.

1. School Refusal

  • This is a condition characterised by a reluctance and often outright refusal to go to school in a child who seeks the comfort and security of home. Possible indicators of the condition may be extreme irritability, lack of appetite, tiredness, apathy and lack of sleep.
  • The onset of symptoms is usually gradual and may begin after prolonged periods spent at home (the holidays or illness)
  • To overcome this, CAMHS (the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) recommend undertaking pastoral support with the school, meeting with CAMHS, or identifying a peer or staff member who can help your child to feel more at ease.
  • To find out more about School Refusal, visit – http://www.younghealthymindsni.co.uk/faqs/school-refusal/

2. Bullying

  • For some children, their hatred of school has nothing to do with their teacher but with unpopularity or, more seriously, bullying
  • Educational psychologist Tim Francis runs an online advice service for parents with regards to bullying. This can be accessed here – http://www.psychologist.uk

Whether it is a problem with a teacher, bullying, or anxiety, your child’s primary school will be able to help. Contact their pastoral department as a first port of your call for your child’s growing concerns.

External Links:

Find out more about this topic by visiting the following sites –

The NHS –
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/anxiety-in-children/

UK Bullying Advice –
http://www.bullying.co.uk/

Pastoral Care –
http://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/pastoral-care-a-10-step-action-plan

School Refusal –
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_refusal

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