Useful information

Important facts

  • Pupils attend school for 190 days each year. Over a school career:
    • 1 day per week of absence = Two and a half years of missed education
    • 10 days per year of absence = Two terms of missed education
    • 15 minutes of lateness per day = One year of missed education
  • Research by the Government conducted in 2015 shows that Key Stage 4 pupils with the lowest 5% of absence rates were more than four times more likely to achieve five good GCSEs, including English and Maths.

Helping your child

Most children will, at some point, tell you they do not want to go to school, this is quite normal although it can be quite distressing for both the parent and child. This is a starting point to addressing their concerns. However, sometimes children find it difficult to communicate their reluctance to go to school and therefore changes in behaviour may be your only indicator they are not happy at school. 

Behaviours that may indicate a reluctance to attend school

  • Changes in behaviour on school mornings, this could also include recurrent minor ailments such as feeling sick or tummy ache, that appear to get better once the school day has started.
  • A reluctance to do talk or share information about school.
  • Unexplained distress or anger when asked to do homework.
  • Upset and withdrawn behaviour when returning from school.
  • Changes in friendships groups in school.

Reasons why children can be reluctant to attend school

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed – look at the root cause, is it down to routines, how are they relaxing, are they getting enough rest/sleep, are their out of school activities too much/not enough.
  • School workload pressures - are they struggling to keep up with work, are they bored as they are not being challenged in their learning, are they managing to do homework. Discuss how they would like to handle this. Sometimes just talking to you will help.
  • Peer pressure – are they being bullied, are they falling out with their friends.
  • Anxiety - this can include separation anxiety (usually in younger children), anxiety about tests, friends, what is happening at home.

Ways that parents/carers can help

  • Talk with your child. Always do your best listen, empathise and try to understand what has upset them, even if it is appears to be a small problem, to them it may have grown to a big problem. Try to help them identify possible solutions.
  • If you have established the cause of the problem, consider how you can reduce the pressures. This could be as simple as reviewing/establishing routines before and after school. Being calm and organised at the beginning of the day, will also help reduce the opportunity for your child to experience anxiety and so can be of massive benefit to them and you.
  • If your child continues to say they are not happy going to school, or shows other signs of unhappiness, then speak with your child’s teacher or Headteacher as soon as possible.
  • If the problem persists, ask for professional advice, through the school. The school will be able to signpost you to many areas of support. Some examples are below:
    • The Family Information Service can provide information, and support in areas such as finance, housing, family relations, childcare, health and wellbeing.
    • There is a range of information and/or support for children and young people aged 0 to 25, who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
    • If you suspect your child is struggling with anxiety or depression, it is important to consult a medical or mental health professional for support and direction. This is generally through your GP but there is information about the support available at Coventry and Warwickshire RISE.

Further information