If your child doesn’t want to go back to school this new year, you’re not alone.
When Bev’s daughter Katie began Year 9, she started to develop a rapidly worsening anxiety around going into school. “It had been a horrendous time for Katie and her anxiety and all the things she was going through was affecting the whole family,” Bev told us.
Similarly, Sally explained that her daughter, Millie, was left without any education for nearly two years after her autism and anxiety made going to school too difficult.
These families are just two of many whose lives have been rocked by school avoidance. Thankfully, there are solutions. Here’s our advice for understanding the problem, finding solutions, and when to consider alternative forms of education.
Why do children avoid school?
School avoidance can happen suddenly or develop gradually, but the real underlying problem is often something happening at school or at home, from triggers such as difficulty keeping up in class, bullying or difficulty with friendships, or bad relationships with specific teachers.
But as each child is different, there are many unique and specific reasons why a child may not be happy returning to their school environment.
Alongside life-related troubles, note that children with special education needs or disabilities (SEND) may be more likely to suffer from school phobia. Sadly, students with conditions such as ADHD, depression, and dyslexia can experience sensory overload and other educational difficulties in some school environments.
What can I do if my child won’t go to school?
It’s crucial and clear that every child deserves an education. Fortunately, there are solutions. In many cases, your child may simply need a different form of education, but there are also steps you can try to get things working at their current school first.
Talking to your child to discover the root of the problem, then brainstorming together with them, may help you to discover solutions that will help get them back to school and avoid loss of learning time. Talking to the school is also key – working with pastoral support and your child’s tutors.
Withdrawing from the school
Ultimately, if you’re still not making any headway, you may decide that your child needs a school setting that works better for them.
Moving away from a traditional school environment can be a difficult decision for any parent to make, you’re not alone if you’re worried. However, there are other ways for your child to get a great education that fits their needs, without sacrificing future prospects, socialisation, or any other crucial needs.
In fact, many parents say that moving to online schooling with King’s InterHigh was the best decision they made.
Why consider online school?
Online school can be a great option for students who have struggled with school anxiety or avoidance and need a new learning environment. Here are just a few reasons why King’s InterHigh works so well for our learners.
Comfortable, smooth transition
King’s InterHigh is designed to revolve around you, and students can take their online lessons from the comfort of their homes. This makes the transition to online school far smoother and more comfortable than the move to another physical school. Students can also join us at any time, avoiding any more missed school time, and we have a welcoming onboarding process to help them ease into their first days.
Flexible learning at your child’s pace
Flexibility is a huge plus for students who have struggled with school avoidance. At King’s InterHigh, your child can study from anywhere at any time.
Our experienced teachers hold every lesson live, but these classes are also recorded. If your child needs to take a mental health day or attend an appointment, they’ll be able to watch their missed lessons at any time through the student portal. The ability to rewatch classes is also perfect for learners who need to study at their own pace.
Comprehensive wellbeing support
Our wellbeing programme at King’s InterHigh includes workshops, vent groups, exam anxiety sessions, and more. With a range of resources and support mechanisms in place, you won’t need to worry about your child’s struggles going unnoticed again. We can catch any challenges before they become overwhelming and teach your child a range of methods to overcome them.
Calm classrooms with no bullying
Our virtual classrooms are calm and free from distractions, which can be incredibly helpful for students who struggle with the noise of a typical lesson. King’s InterHigh is also ideal for learners who were resisting school due to bullying. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment, as well as a wide variety of ways to calmly and effectively deal with classroom misbehaviour.
Plenty of ways to socialise
On a similar topic, don’t worry about your child not being able to make friends at King’s InterHigh. We offer a huge variety of online and offline community activities. Students can join online clubs tailored to almost any interest, from oil painting to Star Wars, as well as our safe, school-only social media platform. Every student is also assigned to a tight-knit house community, and we hold a range of events, competitions, and showcases throughout the year.
Support for SEND
We also offer a range of SEND adjustments and accommodations to suit every individual. For example, students with anxiety can communicate and participate fully through text, without needing to use their webcams or microphones, until they adjust to the online environment. We can also onboard children gradually if they need more time to ease back into learning, starting with just a few lessons a week if necessary. Through it all, we continuously monitor students, work with families, and adjust accommodations as needed to make sure every learner is fully supported to thrive.
The school that revolves around you
“The thing with Katie is that she was always really motivated. She wanted to learn she just couldn’t do it in the normal environment,” says Bev. Joining us from the start of Year 10, Katie’s education transformed from her first few weeks at King’s InterHigh. Learning began to work for her, and she made a great group of friends who she later got to meet in person at one of our activity weekends.
With over 16 years of experience in virtual learning, King’s InterHigh is the leading UK online school for students aged 7 to 18. Teaching the British curriculum, GCSEs, A Levels, and the world’s first online IB Diploma, King’s InterHigh brings your child expert teachers, innovative learning, and a flexible school-life balance.