Announcing new podcast episode about emotional based school avoidance

3rd February 2022| Blogs

The latest episode of Thrive’s Connected podcast focuses on Emotional Based School Avoidance, a term used to describe children and young people who experience challenges in attending school due to negative feelings such as anxiety. In the podcast, Dom Sagar, Thrive’s Relationship Manager for the North and Central England, explains that this is usually associated with emotional and physical distress presenting as a reluctance to attend school or absconding from lessons within the settings — leading to reduced attendance.  

The BBC reported last year that there is a ‘tsunami’ of cases of EBSA, in many cases exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many parents and teachers struggling to support children. In the podcast, Dom considers how educators can use the Thrive Approach® to help children who are affected and explains the neuroscience that lies behind EBSA. 

“It can be really difficult for adults to understand that the behaviour they are seeing is not personal or even cognitive. It’s about the child using survival strategies that have served them in the past. The behaviour we see on the outside is very different to the emotions that the child is feeling on the inside. The key to it is understanding what’s driving the behaviours and where these responses are coming from so that adults can empathise with what’s going on for that child,” she said. 

As well as outlining the importance of a relationship with a trusted adult to create a place of safety and containment, Dom also suggests strategies that could help classroom staff to respond to children that are affected. Things like visual timetables, peer buddy schemes, sensory boxes, quiet places and ‘now and next’ exercises can all help to support children with transitions within the school day. 

“When children start to feel emotionally safe in relationships and they feel someone is seeing them and hearing them, then you see children begin to have the capacity to regulate their emotions and to move to a more cognitive level. There, they are able to make choices about how they respond to situations, rather than reacting to something they find overwhelming,” added Dom. 

Listen to the podcast athttps://bit.ly/3sIYvv7 

And to read more about EBSA and strategies that may help teachers to support children and parents have a look at: 

 https://www.teamsquarepeg.org/school-refusal 

https://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Page/20029 

 https://schools.westsussex.gov.uk/Page/10483 

https://www.headteacher-update.com/best-practice-article/emotionally-based-school-refusal-how-can-we-respond-vulnerable-children-mental-health-anxiety-covid-wellbeing-attendance/237271/ 

https://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/emotionally-based-school-refusal-how-can-we-respond-vulnerable-children-attendance-mental-health-anxiety-covid-isolation/ 

https://cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/537/6381/6424/17463/435357146.PDF 

https://www.babcockldp.co.uk/inclusion-and-ehwb/anxiety-based-school-avoidance 

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