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Kirklees Educational Psychology discuss issue of ‘school anxiety’ on BBC Look North

You may have seen Senior Educational Psychologist, Dr April Frearson on BBC Look North recently.  In September, April was featured discussing emotionally based school avoidance and how this had increased through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emotionally based school avoidance is a way to describe when children and young people experience difficulties going to school due to range of emotional factors.  Often ‘emotionally based school avoidance’ results in long periods of absence from school and over time can affect social opportunities, academic achievement, mental health and possibly future employment opportunities.

April explained that emotionally based school avoidance is not a new issue and existed before the Covid 19 pandemic.  She wonders whether the fact that some pupils did not physically attend school over the pandemic, or attended but in small groups (due to government restrictions) has caused their anxiety to increase when returning to school.  Increased time for some children/young people at home may have also raised the prevalence of this difficulty.

April stressed how schools play a really important role in supporting the issue and that consideration needs to be paid as to the effects of proposals for a ‘catch up curriculum’ and how this might impact on children already finding it difficult to go to school.  She advised that supporting pupils to feel safe, settled and connected in school were all essential in improving the emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people and supporting to reduce emotionally based school avoidance.

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