Emotionally-Based School Avoidance (EBSA)

Top Tips for Schools

The following approach can support positive reintegration back into school for pupils with EBSA:

Assess – Gain a full understanding of the various aspects at play (child, school, and family)

Plan – Based on an information gathered plan for a realistic small reintegration

Do – Ensure resources and support is in place and that there is good communication with school, family, and others

Review – Monitor the progress made and adjust for next steps


Here are some tips that schools can implement to further support pupils experiencing EBSA:

  • Have clear systems within the school for identifying and supporting pupils with EBSA. This includes everyone understanding their role in identifying EBSA and how they can support.
  • Take the time to include the pupil’s voice. Help them explore any push and pull factors that are impacting them and create an action plan to address these needs. These can help identify why the pupil is finding it difficult to attend school and to confirm it is EBSA. It is important to remember all pupil’s experiences of EBSA will be different and their plan needs to be individualised to fit their needs.
  • Support the young person to manage any anxious or difficult feelings they may be experiencing. This can include how to identify their feelings, exploring physiological reactions and practicing mindfulness or grounding techniques (see calming strategy document).
  • Identify an emotionally available adult who can provide regular check-ins with the young person. This may include meeting them at the beginning and/or the end of the day, or at key points in the day e.g. before lunch time or certain lessons. It can be helpful to have another member of staff they can also go to in case the key adult is not available.
  • Identify a safe place within the school the pupil can go to if they are feeling worried or anxious.
  • Facilitate ongoing communication between school and home to provide consistency and share information when needed. 
  • Ensure school staff are aware of pupil’s needs and any integration plans in place so that all school staff are implementing a consistent approach. This includes any positive strategies that are identified by the staff or pupil.
  • Consider if a multi-agency approach is needed and which other services may need to be involved e.g. mental health teams or third sector services.
ID: 11566, revised 21/06/2024