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Persistent School Non- Attendance. Aims and Outcomes. Participants will have an understanding of persistent school non attendance and the associated risk factors Participants will develop an understanding of Kearney’s four functions of school non-attendance

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aims and outcomes
Aims and Outcomes
  • Participants will have an understanding of persistent school non attendance and the associated risk factors
  • Participants will develop an understanding of Kearney’s four functions of school non-attendance
  • Participants will explore phases of identification, planning and intervention within a staged intervention approach
why school non attendance
Why school non attendance?
  • The problem
    • In 2008 – 2009 rate of non attendance was 8.8%
    • Equates to every pupil missing 34 half days
  • Costs
    • Linked to delinquency
    • Linked to levels of attainment
    • Effect on future mental health
    • Effect on future employment options
activity 1 risk factors
Activity 1: Risk Factors
  • In small groups generate some risk factors related to the following headings:
    • Institutional
    • Family
    • Individual
examples of institutional risk factors
Examples of Institutional Risk Factors
  • Size of school
  • Structure of school day
  • Disruption and instability of school staff
  • Authoritarian management styles
  • Hostile pupil teacher relationships
  • Specific areas of school are hotspots for bullying
examples of family risk factors
Examples of Family Risk Factors
  • Views of education and value of full attendance
  • Domestic violence
  • Atypical parental working patterns
  • Inadequate or poor parenting
  • Birth of a new child
  • Parental separation
  • Practical problems bringing child to school
examples of individual risk factors
Examples of Individual Risk Factors
  • Social isolation/few friends
  • Bullying
  • Peer pressure
  • Children having to be carers
  • Sudden traumatic event
  • Moving house or school
  • Parental illness
  • Ethnic language issues
activity 2 physical signs or symptoms
Activity 2: Physical Signs or Symptoms
  • In small groups consider what physical signs or symptoms a child or young person might present with
school non attendance definition
Schoolnon attendance: definition
  • Past terms: truancy vs school phobia
    • Focus on within child deficit
  • Present terms: persistent school non attendance
    • Focus on why child is not attending
    • Looks at the function of non attendance
four functions of non attendance
Four Functions of Non-Attendance
  • Avoidance of stimuli that provoke general negative affectivity
  • Avoidance of aversive social or evaluative situations at school
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Pursuit of tangible reinforcement outside of school
activity 3 four functions
Activity 3: Four Functions
  • The worksheet for this activity outlines some possible scenarios for school non attendance. From the information given discuss a) the most probable function of the non attendance and b) what other information you would need to gain more evidence for your hypothesis.
function one avoidance of stimuli that provoke general negative affectivity
Function One: Avoidance of stimuli that provoke general negative affectivity
  • The negative stimuli may not be identified
  • Child may experience feelings such as:
    • Being sick
    • Headaches
    • Stomach pains
    • Poor sleeping patterns
    • Difficulty in concentrating
    • Restless
    • Emotional trembling, shaking, crying
function two avoidance of aversive social or evaluative situations at school
Function Two: Avoidance of aversive social or evaluative situations at school
  • Negative stimulus tends to be more specific
    • For example
      • Poor peer relationships
      • Possible learning difficulties
      • separation anxiety
  • Signs/symptoms are similar to Function One
function three attention seeking behaviour
Function Three: Attention seeking behaviour
  • Tends to be younger children who display this behaviour (mean age of 9.5)
  • Behaviours can be manipulative & controlling
  • Signs & symptoms are similar to Function One
function four pursuit of tangible reinforcement outside of school
Function Four: Pursuit of tangible reinforcement outside of school
  • Common reinforcers can be:
    • Peer group
    • Using or abusing drugs and/or alcohol
    • Wanting to stay at home
  • Attention problems & more delinquent/ aggressive behaviour are more common than in the other groups
  • Difficulties are less anxiety based
activity 4 current practice
Activity 4: Current Practice
  • In small groups discuss what preventative measures you have in place to deal with persistent school non attendance
preventative approaches within school
Preventative approaches within school
  • Monitoring attendance patterns
  • Establishment of safe areas
  • Monitoring of ‘hot spots’
  • Clear anti-bullying policy
  • Pastoral support systems
  • Engaging families
  • Social skills development
  • Circle time
staged intervention
Staged Intervention
  • Schools should be able to effectively assess and support the majority of pupils’ support needs
  • CDOs and teachers have a central role in the identification of additional support needs
  • SI allows for a comprehensive approach to gathering information
staged intervention stage 1
Staged Intervention: Stage 1
  • If patterns of non-attendance are consistent and fall below 90% a staged approach should be considered
  • Refer to possible risk factors
  • Refer to the four functions and address any points as necessary
  • Progress and strategies should be reviewed and tracked according to establishment procedures
staged intervention stage 2
Staged Intervention: Stage 2
  • When resources within the establishment are necessary move to Stage 2
  • Staff to continue to consider risk factors and the four functions of non attendance
  • Direct communication and active planning (documentation) to take place with school, parent/carer/child outlining ASN and outcomes
activity 5 staged intervention 2
Activity 5: Staged Intervention 2
  • Discuss one strategy on the activity sheet and carry out a Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Barriers analysis (SWOB)
staged intervention stage 222
Staged Intervention: Stage 2
  • Encourage parents/carers to take their child to school
  • Be aware that staying at home can increase the child’s anxiety
  • Explore factors such as curricular demands, home situation
  • Engage with family by whatever means necessary
  • Explore possibility of restricted timetable & gradual integration
  • Encourage use of basic coping strategies such as relaxation and positive self-talk
  • Consultations through the JST could take place at this stage
staged intervention stage 3 and 4
Staged Intervention: Stage 3 and 4
  • Prior to moving to stage 3 and 4 consultation should take place at the JST
  • Persistent non-attendance may require multi-agency input taking account of the evidence of school intervention
  • Further assessment might be necessary to identify appropriate intervention
multi agency approach
Multi-Agency Approach
  • School should be the central focus for any coordinated level of input
  • Importance of each agency having clear roles and responsibilities
  • Importance of shared definition of persistent school non attendance
  • Assessment should ascertain if:
    • Non attendance is the primary problem
    • It is related to or subsumed by another difficulty such as anxiety, depression or a learning difficulty
    • There are any other existing medical conditions
  • Assessment should be collaborative & may include:
    • Structured interviews, exploring functions of behaviour
    • Self report measures
    • Parent/teacher questionnaires or checklists
  • No single intervention strategy has proven to be effective
  • Intervention should be related to the identified function of non attendance
  • Intervention should be related to the individual’s needs
  • A multi-stranded approach is key for success, working at levels of individual, class & school
research evidence
Research evidence
  • Function One:
    • Direct input with child – feelings, thoughts, behaviour
    • Desensitisation
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
    • In vivo flooding
research evidence29
Research evidence
  • Function Two
    • Similar to Function One
    • Cognitive approaches may help to develop social skills
    • Graded behavioural exposures
    • CBT
research evidence30
Research Evidence
  • Function Three
    • Restructuring parents’ commands
    • Ignoring simple inappropriate behaviours
    • Establishing fixed routines and ensure children keep to these
    • Punishments
    • Reward systems
    • Forced school attendance
research evidence31
Research Evidence
  • Function Four
    • Family Therapy
    • Contracts
    • Communication skills training
    • Escorting to school & classes
    • Peer refusal skills training
activity 6 next steps
Activity 6: Next Steps
  • Pupils must have access to some form of education.
  • In order to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors, identify two aspects that may help to improve attendance and build capacity within your school.