“But I don’t want to go to school!” It’s one of the more common phrases you’re likely to hear over the course of a childhood but there is a significant difference between a kid who can’t be bothered on a random Monday and one who is seriously struggling.
However, identifying this is easier said than done and even if parents manage to do so, that is still only half the battle. There is no foolproof solution but hopefully these tips will point parents and their children in the right direction.
Try and get to the bottom of what they are struggling with. Is it a particular subject, like mathematics, or even a specific module (fractions, for example)? Is it an issue with a teacher, or homework? Perhaps they have a learning difficulty or other behavioural problems. There are numerous reasons a student can be battling academically and there are a variety of solutions.
Once you have established what the main issue is, speak to their teacher and open a dialogue about the situation. This can shape the next step, which could be anything from providing more assistance at home and investigating study apps, to hiring a tutor.
It will be a more delicate conversation. Think about whether there have been any major changes in their life recently, either at school or at home, and encourage them to open up about what is wrong. Getting the teacher involved is a good idea in this instance too, as they may have noticed something at school, such as changing friendship dynamics or bullying.
If it is the latter, the school will have policies in place to combat bullying and you should contact the appropriate member of staff. If it’s something related to their homelife, evaluate how you can make adjustments to help put them in a better state of mind and return to school.
Make sure you are communicating openly, with both your child and the school, to ensure you are across any problems that may exist. As obvious as it might sound, patience, understanding and constant support are key to uncovering why your child is avoiding school and rectifying the situation.