Collaborative Working to Promote Attendance and Psychological Wellbeing
Working in partnership, Solar and the Community Educational Psychology Service (CEPS) are supporting schools to develop their understanding and ability to support children and young people who find it difficult to consistently attend and positively engage in school.
The CAPW guidance supports a graduated approach of support, intervention and services; it is designed to complement and work alongside existing good practice that is happening across schools in Solihull and incorporate support from other SMBC services.
The guidance is based on the current evidence base of the factors which are associated with positive outcomes. These include:
- Early intervention
- Systemic working: working with families, school staff and the young person
- Formulating and intervening according to individual case presentation
Emphasis on the need for a rapid return to the educational setting alongside intervention, support and adaptations with the school and home environment (Baker and Bishop, 2015).
Solihull MBC is promoting a graduated approach to supporting CYP with Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance (EBSN) which involves three stages (see figure 1):
- Getting advice: Whole school, evidence-based approaches should be utilised to promote wellness enhancing, resilient environments and reduce the likelihood of EBSN concerns emerging. Whole-school training can be accessed to support staff members understanding of what such approaches look like in practice and how they can be successfully implemented.
- Getting help: If staff members identify concerns about a CYP in relation to EBSN, targeted, evidence-based interventions should be implemented following a plan, do, review cycle. Interventions should be tailored to each individual CYP based upon information gathered about the CYP and the reasons known for school non-attendance.
- Getting more help: CYP who are identified as requiring external involvement from psychological services (e.g. CEPS, Solar) as evidenced through the Plan, Do, Review process.
Figure 1: Solihull MBC’s graduated response to EBSN
The Getting Help Stage:
Where risks of emotionally based school non-attendance are identified, it is important to gather further information from the young person, families and school staff involved with the young person and put in place strategies to support them as soon as possible. Fast action can prevent emotionally based school non-attendance from becoming entrenched and result in much better outcomes.
This stage should involve also gaining the view of professionals and agencies that are currently involved in supporting the CYP and family but can also incorporate making referrals to other support agencies to help in the identification of needs and targeted intervention planning e.g. SISS services.
The Solihull CAPW guidance advocates that schools should follow thorough assess, plan, do and review cycles with the young person at the centre of the planning and interventions.
Following the gathering of information from the child, family, school and other professionals involved it is important that ‘sense’ is made of it. In other words, an overview of the whole picture and various factors are obtained and potential formulations or hypotheses regarding the behaviour are formed. These should then inform the intervention and return to school support plan.
In order to understand the cause of EBSA, professionals must consider the CYP’s underlying needs and how these may be contributing towards their presenting behaviour. It can be helpful to consider what the function of the behaviour is and what it may be communicating. Try to separate behaviours from feelings and underlying needs.
Getting More Help
Referral to a psychological service – please see the ‘How do I request support?’ section
It is important that there is a shared understanding and awareness of ESBA indicators, so that CYP at risk of EBSA can be identified as early as possible so that effective support can be put in place. It may that young people present with few or many different indicators of EBSA. Please see Table 1 below which outlines some possible early indicators of EBSA (those you may notice before the CYP’s patterns of behaviour become entrenched) and indicators of EBSA (those you may notice once the CYP’s patterns of behaviour are more established). In order to recognise the possible indicators of EBSA it is important that staff members remain curious about CYP’s behaviour, try to refrain from making assumptions and share information with colleagues to establish a holistic picture.
Table 1: Indicators of EBSA
When there has been limited or no progress in response to targeted intervention over time, following the plan, do, review process, it is advised to seek psychological support. The appropriate service to refer to depends upon the perceived ‘function’ of the school avoidant behaviour (see below).
When making a referral to either Solar or the Community Educational Psychology Service (CEPS) settings should include evidence of their graduated response including, but not limited to, a completed risk factors assessment, a formulation report (e.g. systemic push and pull factors, or the Formulation Form found in Appendix 3) and copies of reviewed action plans.
Solihull Community Educational Psychology Service
To make a referral to the Community Educational Psychology Services school settings should contact their link EP. If educational settings do not already commission support from CEPS, packages of support can be purchased by contacting email@example.com
To make a referral to Solar, a referral form should be completed. This can be found at:
The Guidance booklet is available by clicking this link here: CAPW Guidance Sept 2019
For further information regarding this guidance and how your school can implement it, or to discuss further training requirements please contact the Community Educational Psychology Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.