• Phoenix Education

Kids Covid MH - Thinking about school refusers

Last week we hosted our fifth Kids Covid Mental Health chat and discussed how having our voice heard is integral to good mental well being.

This week we have reflected on the importance of ensuring that every voice and narrative is heard as we begin to discuss the return to school and so last night during our #kidscovidmh chat, we decided to focus our conversation on the children who may experience school refusal or find real difficulty in attending school.

We explored what school means to children who really struggle to get to school. Alarmingly, this isn't necessarily a conversation about 'minorities' as more and more children find school stressful, distressing and traumatic.

We looked at what components of education are so distressing for many children and explored themes around the pressures of school, competition, fears around interactions and concerns around friendship groups. It's notable that very few of the children that experience school refusal, express a refusal to learn. 

Our experiences of learning during lockdown have shown us what is possible in terms of learning outside of a classroom and we agreed that it's important that as we return to school, we adopt a blended approach that allows the unique needs of each child to sit at the centre of their learning experience. 

Collectively, we agreed that every child will return to school with new experiences - some will have experienced bereavement, others will have been exposed to abuse or trauma; some will have enjoyed learning and found a new confidence but others will be concerned about the progress they've made during lockdown. 

It is important to recognise that each of these new and individual experiences will effect children, and their ability to thrive at school, very differently and explore how technology, information and expertise can be utilised to create a return that supports every child's different needs.

Although we realise Covid-19 has been traumatic for many and challenging for most, we discussed it is a 'recovery' curriculum we need or a reintroduction to learning that allows people to 'catch up' on areas they have missed and get support in the areas in which they are struggling.

We agreed that there are lots of learning (for everyone) as we return to school and that we must use what we have learnt during lockdown to change and evolve the way children with different emotional needs learn in the future.

If you would like to explore the return to school in more detail or continue to share your thought in our discussion, please visit www.phoenixgrouphq.com/back-to-school or use #kidscovidmh on social media.