There are a number of resources available to support you when a child is refusing to attend school.

Online resources

Not Fine in School

Not Fine in School is a resource for families with children who struggle to attend school due to various barriers.  They share a variety of resources for young people, parents and carers.  This includes information (including on systems, services and the law), a blog and parent/carer Facebook support group which offers a space for shared lived experiences and peer empowerment.

Click here to visit the Not Fine in School website.

Square Peg

Square Peg is a social enterprise set up and run by people with lived experience of family members who have found it too difficult to attend school.  They aim to effect change for children who struggle to attend school – and for their families.

Their work includes building connections between relevant organisations, research, consultation and raising awareness on relevant issues – including what sorts of changes are needed.  Resources for parents, carers, children and young people include a bank of videos where people with lived experience share their stories.

Click here to visit the Square Peg website.

School refusal support services

A website run by a parent with lived experience of their child refusing school.

Click here to visit the School Refusal website.

National Autistic Society website

‘School stress and anxiety – How it can lead to refusal and impact on family life’

An excellent document to share with teachers on how to support an autistic student that is struggling with school related anxiety. Click here to access this document.

Dr Pooky Knightsmith

School Guide

Dr Naomi Fisher

Dr Fisher is an Educational Psychologist with an interest in how the school system affects the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Resources to support with autistic burnout

Autism Space -printable/sharable PDF ideas on how to get things done (including ‘Now, Next, Later’ board

Buckets for Brains visual to explain burnout

By autistic artist Tzipporah Johnston

Autism Education Trust

AET is website championing developing good autism practice in education from early years through to post 16, through training, good autism practice and free resources for teacher and parent/carers. Click this link to go to their website

Define Fine

A website supporting parent/carers to find solutions for school attendance difficulties. Providing peer support using resources to help parents advocate for the support their children and young people need to be able to learn and achieve. Define Fine is a parent/carer-led organisation set up in response to the growing number of children and young people who experience school attendance difficulties. Click this link to go to their website.


Can't Not Won't book cover‘Can’t Not Won’t – A Story about a Child who Couldn’t Go to School’ by Eliza Fricker

Amazon says: ‘Eliza Fricker gets it. Her compelling, hard-hitting and irreverently humorous illustrations follow a family through the early days of school avoidance, the process of accessing support and the challenges of coping in the meantime. Can’t Not Won’t illuminates the absurdity and frustrations that often arise when dealing with health, social and educational systems, and will help any parent in the same boat feel seen. This guide acts as a way to communicate these difficult circumstances with others.
Wonderfully relatable, the book also includes written guidance for parents and professionals on what works best when it comes to managing school avoidance’.

For links to all our school related articles, click on the link below:

Supporting your autistic child through school

Alternative education schemes

Soft Touch Arts

Soft Touch Arts is a Leicester based arts education charity, who run a variety of projects for young people. These projects aim to improve the lives of those who may otherwise struggle to access services and activities.

Creative Studio is an alternative education scheme run by Soft Touch Arts – and funded by schools and local authorities.

It is a tailor-made specialist alternative arts programme for young people who need extra support and don’t fit into a traditional educational setting. The service specialises in working with young people who need extra support, including those who are autistic.

Click here to find out more – and to access the online referral form that a teacher would need to complete.

Soft Touch are currently running regular evening music sessions, led by instrumentalists, producers and contemporary musicians.

Click here for more information and a link to the referral form.

Soft Touch have a constantly evolving range of projects on the go – for more information click here to go to their website.

Support services


IPSEA offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Click this link to go to their website.

Leicestershire inclusion service

If you’re concerned about a child’s or young person’s access to, or inclusion in, high quality education, employment, or training in Leicestershire click this link for more information.

Home education

If you decide that elective home education is the right option for you child, it’s vital to understand what that entails before making any decisions. Click this link for more information.

If your child is in a school in Leicestershire and you decide to home educate

Link for more information

If your child is in a school in Leicester and you decide to home educate

Link for more information

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