Parents and professionals are struggling to access effective advice and support for school attendance difficulties. Not Fine in School aims to bring parents, health, and education professionals together in partnership to fight for change. Together, we aim to raise awareness and inspire new thinking about the provision of support and educational opportunities for young people, in recognition that they have differing needs, abilities and aspirations.
‘NOT FINE IN SCHOOL’ CAMPAIGN CALLS:
Children and their families need to work in equal partnership with education and health professionals to develop a full understanding of each child’s attendance difficulties.
Children and their families want to work in equal partnership with education and health professionals to identify suitable solutions to enable each child to achieve educationally and recover their wellbeing.
Non-Attendance should automatically be authorised if it relates to physical OR mental ill-health as reported by a parent (as a responsible adult).
Parents should NOT be fined or prosecuted if their children are NOT ABLE to attend school for reasons of ill-health (physical & mental).
Families should not face child protection accusations as a reaction to anxiety-based school non-attendance. This tactic is being used by schools to deter families from requesting higher cost SEND provision and we will campaign to highlight and fight this practice.
We want policy makers, decision makers and school management to put the needs of children BEFORE the needs of school data.
WHAT WILL WE DO?
We will continue to develop resources to assist families and empower them to fight for the support their children need and deserve.
We are currently seeking professional/academic validation for our NFIS guides.
We are exploring ways to distribute our NFIS guides across all agencies involved with children, young people and their families.
We will share our guides and stories in the media to spread awareness and encourage debate.
We encourage the sharing of our guides and stories with MP’s and local decision makers to encourage political awareness and debate.
We encourage parents and carers to share a copy of the relevant NFIS guide with professionals who are working with their child.
We ask professionals to spread awareness of our website and to share our details with colleagues and families requiring help.
We will work to influence local and national policymakers so that children, young people and their families will be better protected and supported.
We will push for accountability in relation to existing government statutory guidance documents, such as those for ‘Attendance’, ‘Supporting pupils with medical conditions’, and ‘Providing an education for pupils too ill to attend school’.
We will push for professional recognition and implementation of the contents of The SEND Code of Practice 2015 and The Equality Act 2010.
We will write and circulate a petition calling for standardised Guidelines of Support and Intervention for School Refusal.
We will organise a media campaign to raise awareness and promote good practice to signpost children, young people and their families to prompt, relevant support.
We aim to identify ways for children and young people to be involved in our activities – to give them a ‘voice’ and allow them to form their own peer support networks.
We will engage in research that will improve understanding of school attendance difficulties, especially studies that highlight the child and family perspectives.
We will share existing research to extend thinking and practice to assist children and families who experience difficulties with school attendance.
We will also support the research activities of other researchers and academics.
ALLIANCE OF SUPPORT GROUPS
We welcome all individuals and groups to join with us to campaign for a wider understanding of School Refusal and Attendance Difficulties. Many of us share a common aim of supporting children, young people and their families, therefore we would be happy to discuss creating an alliance of parent support groups – combining our resources and expertise to develop a more powerful ‘voice’.