Children and young people can become very anxious about attending school. If their needs are not identified; or are not met; then the result can be behavioural problems either at home or during the school day. Some children might refuse to attend at all.

If your child is refusing to attend school, or if school are concerned about their attendance, then they should work with you to try and solve the problem. You can request a meeting with the school's SENCO to discuss your concerns.

What to do if you are sent an attendance letter

If your child's attendance at school drops below a certain level, families will often be automatically sent a letter advising that their attendance must improve otherwise there is a risk of incurring fines or court processes.

In this situation, we advise you to contact the Education Welfare Service to discuss your concerns.

If you feel that school could be doing more to help, you can request a meeting with them to discuss the situation further.

Should you consider home education?

If your child's needs are not being met in school, then everyone must work together to try and resolve this.

It's not acceptable to remove your child from school because of their needs not being met as it could be classed as disability discrimination.

Elective Home Education (EHE)

As a parent, you have the right to educate your child at home. This may be because culturally, you wish to educate you child in a particular way. 

The local authority is required to ensure every child between 5 and 16 receives a good education. If you are home educating your child, Barnsley Council will check-in with you once a year to ensure their education is of a good standard.

The decision to home educate should not be based upon whether a child has SEN. The decision must not be made lightly.

You must not be encouraged by your child's school to home educate. If you are asked to sign a letter, seek further advice before doing so.

If you would require more advice and support on this issue, please consider contacting the school, the Education Welfare Service or us.

Advice on partial timetables

Every child has the right to a full-time education. This means the entire school day, for 5 days a week.

The Department for Education (DfE) does not encourage partial time-tables.

It might be acceptable to consider a gradual return to school following a period of absence. If your child is on a reduced timetable, then there must be a clear plan and intention to return to full-time education by a specific date. We advise that this plan be written down and a copy kept by both you and the school.

For some children who are highly anxious, this can be difficult, and any plan should be flexible enough and minimise pressure and expectation on a child. Techniques such as, placing a child in a car in their sleeping garments, or the threat of parents being prosecuted can have a damaging effect on a child's mental health.