Chronic non-attendance has generally focused on the distinction between truancy and school refusal: the former has traditionally been linked to conduct disorder, the latter to separation anxiety disorder. However, research has demonstrated that truancy and school refusal exist in the absence of such disorders and, more significantly, that some children and young people exhibit the characteristics of both types of non-attendance behaviour. In the 1990s, a functional analysis became more popular in understanding the problem; that is, examining the reasons why pupils fail to attend school. This has led to more recognition of the schools' responsibility for the presenting difficulties. Research into the various intervention programmes available for tackling non-attendance has failed to find any conclusive evidence in favour of a particular approach. The effectiveness of intervention may depend upon an individual pupil's particular needs and his/her specific reasons for refusing to go to school, but also the importance of involving school and family in responding to the problem is outlined as a potentially key factor.
- educational psychology
- separation anxiety disorder