School Refuser - The Blog

Monday, 11 May 2020

Shout - a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for peoplewho feel they need immediate support

Shout is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. By texting ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ a Texter will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV) who will chat to them using trained techniques via text. The service is designed to help individuals to think more clearly and to take their next steps to feeling better..
Shout is powered by a team of volunteers, who are at the heart of the service. We take people from crisis to calm every single day.
Shout exists in the US as ‘Crisis Text Line’, but this is the first time the tried and tested technology has come to the UK.
The anonymised data we collate gives us unique insights into mental health trends to help improve people’s lives.

If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support, text Shout to 85258.

If your life is in imminent danger, please call 999.
Shout can help with urgent issues such as:
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Abuse or assault
  • Self-harm
  • Bullying
  • Relationship challenges
Shout is particularly busy right now with young people who are experiencing anxiety over the lifting on Lock Down and what this might mean about returning to school

For information on how the service works, see: 

Monday, 13 April 2020

Life under Covid-19

A message from Linda

Hi all If you are reading this, the pandemic has probably eased, as I am sure non of you are currently worried about School Refusal when you have more worrying things to dwell on. I wish you all well during these uncertain and ever changing times. 

Who would have known when the year first started that we'd be faced with this. If your son/daughter has anxiety, these can be even more difficult times for them. On the other hand some find slight comfort in knowing they are not alone and everyone is feeling anxious. The irony is not lost on families. 

The other aspect is that many children will now be schooled at home, which is not the same as having a school refuser at home, but it means that in the future, teachers, schools and families will be more set up to cater for a school refusing student. Perhaps in the future schools will be able to use those resources and technology to make contact with any student at home for health reasons, both physical and mental. 

It is a small glimmer of hope in what are otherwise dire circumstances. Please take care....assure your anxious child that this will pass and life will get bak on track. 

Stay home and stay safe. Thoughts with everyone in this age of Covid-19. 

Linda xx

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Anxiety in children increasing

Recent research is showing that more children are suffering from anxiety. One wonders why this might be?

Some theorists down here are claiming it is the parents fault, and in particular mothers for not letting their kids be indepndent enough. They blame over-organised lives with too many activities and not enough down time.

This kind of argument will of course go round in circles as it is too easy to blame and lay it at the mother's feet. Really annoys me.
Personally I think those who have school refusal are not in the same category as those they are now labelling 'anxious'. I think school refusal students have quite severe issues coming from differing areas and reasons. School refusal is a mental health issue and not a case of the overly anxious child who frets about how they might perform in a test for example.

School Refusal seems to have gone under the radar again and be replaced by anxious kids who worry about their grades. If our kids could attend enough to get grades would be good!!

The positive thing out of this research, however, is that more resouces will be put into primary and secondary schools to help support these kids. And finally there might be help at the primary school level that we so desperately needed when my son was young. Getting help and of the right kind early, is vital.

Is this trend towards support something that is also happening in the UK? Are there more resources in the schools now than 5-10 years ago?

Posted in the Forum by Linda

Thursday, 29 November 2018


Is school more of a waste of time and about resistance to control? In a world where I can get answers instantly online, when it takes a whole hour of class to teach so little, one has to wonder if the education system has advanced fast enough to todays needs. Do you relate well to Prince EA?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Separation phobia? Keeping in touch with an app

Knowing where your child is at any given moment can seem an important part of parenting, and new apps have been designed to enable parents to track their children's movements.  Whether this is a desirable advance, or not, is a moot point.

Teenagers, particularly, need space and time to demonstrate their independence, and parents need to be able to trust their youngsters.

I have just been introduced to Life360 - there are others. Life360’s family locator app helps you to keep a watchful eye over your family with a handy map display and alerts for when someone reaches a specified location.

Standout features of the app include its Family Channel, helping everyone keep in touch at the same time. It also alerts you when one of your family members has reached a specified destination. Other positives are that the app helps you track lost or stolen phones and provides a Crash Detection service, getting in touch to offer assistance for a driver if they believe they may have had an accident.

If you happen to be one of those people that are concerned about “big brother” tracking you, this is not the App you want.

But if you are the parent of a child who suffers from a separation fear, maybe this is something to consider.  If your child could see where you were at any given moment, might this be a reassurance?

When you tell your child when you take them in to school you will stay close-by, they can see where you are. Or if you message to say you are going to the supermarket, they can see you do that.

Might be worth trying?  The app is free.

[Read reviews: they are not all good!]

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Shoveling snow

This was drawn to my attention by my daughter, who was the inspiration for this site.

Since she posted it on social media, she has received many responses, particularly from boys, normally reticent about speaking out about their issues.  Maybe early beginnings of a new trend? I certainly hope so.

They are not her words, but express her feelings.

When you have depression it’s like it snows every day.

Some days it’s only a couple of inches. It’s a pain in the ass, but you still make it to work, the grocery store. Sure, maybe you skip the gym or your friend’s birthday party, but it IS still snowing and who knows how bad it might get tonight. Probably better to just head home.  Your friend notices, but probably just thinks you are flaky now, or kind of an asshole.

Some days it snows a foot. You spend an hour shoveling out your driveway and are late to work. Your back and hands hurt from shoveling. You leave early because it’s really coming down out there. Your boss notices.

Some days it snows four feet. You shovel all morning but your street never gets plowed. You are not making it to work, or anywhere else for that matter. You are so sore and tired you just get back in bed. By the time you wake up, all your shoveling has filled back in with snow. Looks like your phone rang; people are wondering where you are. You don’t feel like calling them back, too tired from all the shoveling. Plus they don’t get this much snow at their house so they don’t understand why you’re still stuck at home. They just think you’re lazy or weak, although they rarely come out and say it.

Some weeks it’s a full-blown blizzard. When you open your door, it’s to a wall of snow. The power flickers, then goes out. It’s too cold to sit in the living room anymore, so you get back into bed with all your clothes on. The stove and microwave won’t work so you eat a cold Pop Tart and call that dinner. You haven’t taken a shower in three days, but how could you at this point? You’re too cold to do anything except sleep.

Sometimes people get snowed in for the winter. The cold seeps in. No communication in or out. The food runs out. What can you even do, tunnel out of a forty foot snow bank with your hands? How far away is help? Can you even get there in a blizzard? If you do, can they even help you at this point? Maybe it’s death to stay here, but it’s death to go out there too.

The thing is, when it snows all the time, you get worn all the way down. You get tired of being cold. You get tired of hurting all the time from shoveling, but if you don’t shovel on the light days, it builds up to something unmanageable on the heavy days. You resent the hell out of the snow, but it doesn’t care, it’s just a blind chemistry, an act of nature. It carries on regardless, unconcerned and unaware if it buries you or the whole world.

Also, the snow builds up in other areas, places you can’t shovel, sometimes places you can’t even see. Maybe it’s on the roof. Maybe it’s on the mountain behind the house. Sometimes, there’s an avalanche that blows the house right off its foundation and takes you with it. A veritable Act of God, nothing can be done. The neighbors say it’s a shame and they can’t understand it; he was doing so well with his shoveling.

I don’t know how it went down for Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade. It seems like they got hit by the avalanche, but it could’ve been the long, slow winter. Maybe they were keeping up with their shoveling. Maybe they weren’t. Sometimes, shoveling isn’t enough anyway. It’s hard to tell from the outside, but it’s important to understand what it’s like from the inside.

I firmly believe that understanding and compassion have to be the base of effective action. It’s important to understand what depression is, how it feels, what it’s like to live with it, so you can help people both on an individual basis and a policy basis. I’m not putting heavy shit out here to make your Friday morning suck. I know it feels gross to read it, and realistically it can be unpleasant to be around it, that’s why people pull away.

I don’t have a message for people with depression like “keep shoveling." It’s asinine.  Of course you’re going to keep shoveling the best you can, until you physically can’t, because who wants to freeze to death inside their own house? We know what the stakes are. My message is to everyone else. Grab a fucking shovel and help your neighbor. Slap a mini snow plow on the front of your truck and plow your neighborhood. Petition the city council to buy more salt trucks, so to speak.

Depression is blind chemistry and physics, like snow. And like the weather, it is a mindless process, powerful and unpredictable with great potential for harm. But like climate change, that doesn’t mean we are helpless. If we want to stop losing so many people to this disease, it will require action at every level.

Edit: Feel free to share this with anyone or anywhere you think it might help. We aren't alone. Even when there's warm bodies around when we are cold we still shiver. Offer a blanket.

It’s taken from the suicide prevention mage thread on reddit. I can try and send you the link to if you want to credit. 

I think it’s useful on many levels to help others understand depression.
Not sure if this will work but this is the comment

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Child Law Advice

The Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice and information on family, child and education law affecting children and families in England. This service is provided via this website packed with how to guides and information pages. A dedicated intensive support telephone line is also available for complex matters and clarifying questions.
We cover legal issues that may arise following relationship breakdown as well as Local Authority intervention and child protection issues. 
Our education advice ranges from admissions issues to exclusions as well as what to do if your child is being bullied to how to get help for your child if you suspect they have a Special Educational Need. 
The Child Law Advice Service is part of Coram Children’s Legal Centre, the UK’s leading children’s legal charity, and falls under the Coram Group.