Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) resources for children and families

EBSA resources for families to use to support their children and young people.

This page includes useful information and activities to help children and families who are struggling with school attendance due to emotional difficulties, know as EBSA (Emotionally Based School Avoidance)

The advice and resources below are for supporting your child or young person and gain their views.

Talking to your child about their worries

Any child currently avoiding school is likely to become anxious when they are asked to talk about their difficulties or returning to school. A good place to start is to acknowledge that it may be difficult but that you would like to know what they think and feel. If they find it difficult to talk, you could ask them a specific question this might help them start to sort through their fears and feelings. For example:

  • What three things are you most worried about?
  • Or What three things were you recently worried about?

It is also important to focus on positives:

  • What are the three best things about school?

Sometimes children may find it hard to tell you face to face about how they feel, so perhaps you could ask them to write it down - this could be creatively, such as, as a poem, they could text you or draw a picture to help capture their emotions.

Your child or young person maybe anxious about going to school. The below documents may help with supporting them.

This 'Positive Young Minds' website has Sunday night and Monday morning plans (created and shared by Dr Tina Rae) to help support children in creating a calming plan routine to reduce school anxiety.

Gaining your child or young person’s views

Please see below 'Gathering Children and Young People's Voices' document, which covers all the activities below:

  • Capturing worries worksheet
  • what is going well worksheet
  • A person-centred plan
  • Person-centred plan PATH
  • What matters island
  • Rating the school week.

Communicating with your child’s school

Research around supporting children and young people experiencing EBSA highlights the importance of consistent and open communication between home and school.

The below information and resources aims to support this process by providing steps you can take as parents and carers in requesting communication with your child’s school and help with gathering your views to prepare for any conversations held with your child’s school around planning reintegration support.

Educational settings need to make sure that young people who are experiencing a difficulty within their education can still access school on the same basis as their peers.

In order to do this the setting may need to make some changes to areas of your child’s school experience (environment, teaching delivery, resources etc) to suit their individual needs.
Schools must make these changes or adjustments if it is reasonable to do so; This is called making reasonable adjustments.

Schools should monitor any strategies tried when supporting a child’s needs, including both those that have worked successfully and been less effective, as part of an ‘Assess Plan Do Review’ approach - see the document below.

Further information, staying strong and looking after yourself

In order to support your child, research shows that looking after your own emotional wellbeing is important. Consider using the below 'Wellbeing Check document to choose at least one self-care activity for you (and ideally your child) every day.

The following shows some potential sources of support and information on self-care:

The below Signposting Support document has further information and signposting to charities and Suffolk services.

The following resources have been co-produced with parents in Suffolk to provide advice and tips to support children and young people with EBSA.

Please see the below EBSA worksheets you can complete with your child or young person which capture their worries and concerns to identify the support they need to help them return to school: