Skip to content Skip to main menu Skip to utility menu

Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance

Why has the EBSN guidance been produced?

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 EBSN 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).

The EBSN graduated response

Solihull MBC is promoting a graduated approach to supporting CYP with EBSN which involves three stages:

  1. Universal: 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.
  2. Targeted: 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-engagement. Advice should be sought from SISS, CEPS or other professionals’ schools use, if required.
  3. Specialist: CYP who are identified as requiring external involvement from psychological services (e.g. CEPS, Solar) as evidenced through the Plan, Do, Review process. This can be accessed via a referral to Solar or a request for support from the CEPS EBSN team.
Who is involved in the EBSN pathway?

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 EBSN 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


The CEPS EBSN team is a core funded team consisting of a Community and Educational Psychologist and two Assistant Psychologists.  The role of the team is to work with CYP, families, educational settings and other professionals already involved to develop a psychological formulation of the EBSN functions, which may be gained through further assessment (including observations, consultations and individual assessment work).  The team will then join a TAC, and develop a joint action plan.  If agreed, this may include individual work with the CYP by a member of the team, further development work and support for schools, and/or work supporting the family using strengths-based approaches.

Which children and young people would benefit from methods of support outlined in the guidance?

It is important that there is a shared understanding and awareness of EBSN indicators, so that CYP at risk of EBSN 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 EBSN. Please see Table 1 below which outlines some possible early indicators of EBSN (those you may notice before the CYP’s patterns of behaviour become entrenched) and indicators of EBSN (those you may notice once the CYP’s patterns of behaviour are more established). In order to recognise the possible indicators of EBSN 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 EBSN

How do I request support?

From January 2021 you will be able to refer individual CYP to the EBSN team for support.  To do this you will need the following forms:

EBSN Team School Request Form

Parental Consent Form

EBSN Team checklist

A completed Appendix 1 and Appendix 4 should also be completed when the paperwork is submitted.

These are sent via email to Dr Louisa Jones and Dr Faye Hingley who will consider each request carefully. Where requests are declined, there will be individual follow up with the person making the request to explain why and suggestions for further actions.

Guidance and resources for Schools

The Guidance booklet is available by clicking this link here: Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance Guidance for Schools Oct 2020.

Information for Parents/Carers

Please see the following Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance parent and carer information leaflet.

Information for Children and Young People

Please see the following Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance Children and Young People information leaflet.

Further training and information:

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