South Gloucestershire Parent carer forum help develop ground-breaking initiative on Emotionally Based School avoidance

2 mins read

Monday 19 February 2024

The knock-on effects of the pandemic for children and young people with SEND can still be seen in the growing number of pupils who experience Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) and missing school because of their mental health and anxiety.

South Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum (SGPC) were hearing more about EBSA – also known as EBSNA (Emotionally based School Non Attendance) – and its impact from parent carers in the area and fed this back to their local council.

As a result, the forum were invited to work with health, education and social care professionals in the area to find a way to empower schools to confidently support affected children.

The result?

A game-changing EBSA Toolkit co-produced by educational psychologists and fine-tuned by parent carers and the forum alongside EBSA training for schools in the area and an overall deeper understanding of EBSA and effective interventions and strategies in place. Crucially, parents in South Gloucestershire feel heard, understood, and less blamed — a testament to SGPC’s hard work.

Project lead and educational psychologist, Dr Helen Cox, emphasised the pivotal role of parent carers: “Parents are the experts, and their contributions have directly shaped the toolkit. Every moment in school is crucial, and South Gloucestershire is now primed to offer the best support early on.”

Find out more about parent carer forums

Watch parent carer Paul from SENDS 4 Dad talk to Nausheen and Jacqui from Swindon SEND Families Voice about the role of a parent carer forum and why they got involved.

Learn more about forums by watching our video ‘What is a parent carer forum and what they do?

Find a parent carer forum in your area.