Addressing Non-Attendance (ANA)


Non-attendance is one of the biggest problems facing schools historically and arguably more than ever with the ongoing impact of Covid-19. In Argyll and Bute we work within a staged intervention approach and there is, rightly, a great deal of importance given to the earliest intervention possible. This is of course across all areas of the curriculum and wellbeing.

ANA aims to identify gaps in the understanding about types of school refusal and associated interventions; upskilling front line professionals; building on joined up and interagency working to improve consistency to children and families. Crucially, as an early intervention this could prevent the formation of genuine anxiety based school avoidance.

The A&B ANA initiative aims to build the knowledge and skills essential for those who support school non-attenders across all stages of the process and with all types of school refusal; and to enhance partnership working between schools, agencies and the third sector.

The Psychological Service has spent the last year building a resource package for schools that includes:

  1. 4 twilight (or variation that suits) training sessions each 1.5 hours long
  2. A training manual for delegates to record in during sessions
  3. A good practice guidebook for professionals with resources including factors involved in non-attendance; screening tools for unidentified difficulties; school/class/pupil audit materials; tools to support identification of the underlying function of non-attendance and development of a functional hypothesis, and interventions that target the specific function of non-attendance
  4. A guidebook for parents of non-attenders
  5. Guidebooks for children and young people who are non-attenders
  6. Links to online webinars to boost the everyday skills of frontline professionals (e.g. difficult conversations; relaxation techniques; every day solution focused approaches; emotion coaching; every day cognitive and behavioural tools etc.)

The ANA initiative has a strong focus on implementation, which includes bespoke planning to ensure we meet the individual needs of educational establishments and their communities, and capitalise on existing strengths, good practice and resources. The implementation aspect includes schools identifying an ANA lead who will attend all training sessions, work with link EP and drive forward the implementation and evaluation of ANA in their setting. Consultation between the ANA lead and link EP will be facilitated by the following supportive documentation:

  1. A school survey on non-attendance (this can be used in house to focus and guide our discussions)
  2. A readiness checklist
  3. A staged intervention triangle in relation to non-attendance to identify current strengths and areas where there are potential gaps

As part of the bespoke approach, schools will identify who has a role in supporting non-attenders and their families and should be involved with ANA including attending all training sessions (both within establishments and partner agencies/3rd sector). These can include e.g. Guidance Teachers, Family Liaison Officers, Primary Mental Health Workers and School Nurses, School Counsellors, Social Workers, Young Carers, Befrienders.

ANA Resources Section

NHS How to manage anxiety booklet

Talking, Listening to and Empowering your Child

Tips for parents to support a child with anxiety.docx

ANA Young People Guide.docx