Friday, 18 March 2016

Increasing number of children in Perth and Kinross refuse to go to school

"Children as young as four are refusing to attend schools in Perth and Kinross because of mental health issues, it has been claimed."

"Figures released through the Freedom of Information Act show that more than 200 children didn’t go to school in the region during the 2014-15 term nearly double the amount given in the 2010-11 term."

" ‘School refusers’ are defined by Education Scotland as children who display an extreme determination not to attend school as a result of ‘separation anxiety’ and other mental health related issues such as ‘school phobia.’ They are not classed as home schooled."

"Separation anxiety is classed as ‘excessive worry and difficulty separating’ on the part of a child and possibly a parent."

"The figures from the FOI show that 13 primary school children and 95 secondary school children were marked as ‘refusal to attend’ in the 2010-11 school year, with this rising to 38 primary children and 163 secondary school children in the 2014-15 school term."

"Other councils in Courier Country were contacted but claimed they either didn’t have statistics on the matter or refused to provide them."

"Murdo Fraser, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said he wants the Scottish Government to do more to `combat this problem` by helping parents understand the symptoms and getting possible `fixes.`"

"He said: `The fact there are nearly 40 primary school children classed as school refusers in Perth and Kinross is concerning since this means kids as young as four could be too worried to go to school. Without access to a proper education the life chances of these children are greatly reduced and I would like to see a proper strategy to tackle this growing issue`..."

"A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said the local authority is committed to providing a `high-quality` educational experience for all pupils."

"She said: `There are many potential reasons for school refusal, not solely anxiety or other mental health issues, and it would be wrong to suggest that any specific age group is particularly affected.`"

" `We work closely with schools, pupils and parents/carers where refusal to attend is an issue, to address the root causes and enable pupils to return to class, in the interests of ensuring that children and young people get the best possible start in life.` "

"A Scottish Government spokesperson said: `Education authorities and other agencies have duties to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils.` "

`Separation anxiety` is a label that easily puts the blame on parents because, somehow, they are emotionally holding on to the child; but it cannot be assumed that 200 children in Perth and Kinross were suffering `separation anxiety`. Most of the children who were not attending school were of secondary school age.

As the spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said "There are many potential reasons for school refusal ..."

One of them is that pupils are being bullied at school. Another is the lack of provision for children with special needs, for example, autistic children.

If figures are rising, that is because support is being withdrawn, due to cuts in services.

This does make a nonsense of GIRFEC and the millions being spent by the Scottish government to gather all children`s data.

I mean, what is there to know ?

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