Special aspects of education
Theory and practice of education
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AbstractWhen a child refuses to go to school, the whole family is placed in a highly distressing situation. The response of school and mental health professionals in the UK is to return the child to school as soon as reasonably possible; home education is almost never suggested as a viable alternative. Nevertheless, a number of parents decide that home education will be in the best interests of their children. This mixed-method study reports on 20 such families who completed questionnaires, followed up by 5 in-depth interviews. Parents generally reported that symptoms associated with school refusal, both physical and psychological, lessened or disappeared altogether. Moreover, although they had turned to home education as a last resort, the majority decided to continue after seeing their children thrive academically and socially. It is concluded that parents of school refusers should always be fully informed about home education.