Can The Police be Called if Your Child Refuses to Go to School?

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Parenting a child or even children is not an easy job. You can read all the parenting books in the world, but you can find yourself in situations that you never thought would happen. There really is no set manual for parenting. It’s a role where you have to learn on the job – especially as children are all so unique. The way you would respond to your child acting out would be different for each child. You may be wondering if your child refuses to go to school can the police get involved?

You can call the police if your child refuses to go to school. If they are in a public place, the police can take them back to school. However, if your child is at home, the police can just talk to your child and encourage them to go to school. This could be seen as a waste of police time if you or your child is not in any life-threatening danger. 

Wanting to know more about the role of police when it comes to kids skipping school, then please read on! 

What Can the Police do if Your Child Refuses to Go to School?

According to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, if a child is of compulsory school age and is found in a public place, the police have the power to remove them from that place and take them back to school.  

If you would like to read up on the legislation you can find it here. But it’s important to note that that it’s not referring to if a child is at home, but in a public place 

In the case of a child being at home and refusing to go to school, all the police would be able to do is talk to the child. The presence of the police officers may scare the child into going to school. 

Calling the police if your child refuses to go to school could be seen as a last resort. It may do more harm than good. If your child has an issue with authority, then calling the police might not make a difference.

If the police do manage to get through to your child, it could be seen as a short-term tactic because the police would not be able to come all the time. It could also even change the dynamic of your relationship with your child as they may feel betrayed by you. This could result in them acting out even more. 

What are the Reasons the Police Can be Called in Relation to Your Child?

Calling the police if your child refuses to go to school could be seen as a waste of police time, especially if your child is in no obvious danger. But if you feel the need to call the police because you don’t know what else to do, you should do so. 

If your child is displaying violent or threatening behaviour and your child is putting themselves and others at risk, it would be best to call the police. In this scenario they would be able to de-escalate the situation. If your child committed a crime, or was an accomplice to a crime, this could warrant calling the police. 

As a parent you would want what’s best for your child, and it may be hard to call the police on them. As long as you know you’re doing it from a place of love then you should try not to feel bad 

Being a parent results in having to make hard decisions both on behalf of your child or in the best interests of your child. At the time, your child may not be able to see it, but they will thank you later in the future and will be grateful that you never gave up on them. 

What Happens if Your Child Refuses to Go to School?

In the UK it is compulsory for children to be in education from the age of 5 till they are 16. However, a child can miss school if they are very ill or for extenuating circumstances and have been given permission by the school. An example of when this would be appropriate is in the occurrence of a death of a family member.

If a child misses’ school without a valid reason, it is likely that the school will call home to ask why your child was absent. If this becomes a recurring incident and your child is repeatedly not in school, this will become a cause for concern for the school. They could suspect that there may be something going on at home. Check out this article to find out more about how many absences your child is allowed.

The local council may have to get involved and each parent could be fined £60. Parents may also be prosecuted if the issue is not resolved, and the child has missed a significant amount of school without a valid reason. 

You can check out this page by GOV.UK about school attendance and absence and this page from Child Law Advice for more information on the legal action behind a child missing school.

One of the most obvious consequences if a child refuses to go to school, is that they will fall behind on their learning. This could even put them in a position where they may have to retake a year as they do not have enough knowledge or skills to progress onto the next academic year. It is extremely important to not let this snowball as it could affect their future career aspirations, especially in regards to getting to study their chosen courses at college and university.

Why Could Your Child be Refusing to Go to School? 

If your child is refusing to go to school, more often than not there tends to be a reason behind it and not just because they ‘just don’t feel like it’. Regardless of how old your child is, they could be finding school challenging for a number of reasons.

Bullying is a big problem in schools and sometimes both parents and teachers can be so oblivious to it. If a child is being bullied and being made fun of, they would obviously not want to go to school. They could even begin to develop anxiety 

The child could even find it hard to tell anyone that this is happening to them as well. If you suspect that your child may be getting bullied, ensure you let them know that they can tell you anything and you’re there for them emotionallyHelping Kids Deal With Bullies and BullyingUK are some good websites for parents when navigating the issue of bullying.  

Learning difficulties such as ADHD or dyslexia and even being short-sighted are common issues in children that are often undiagnosed. Your child may not even realise that they are facing these issues and could be acting out in response to this because they are having problems learning and understanding what the teacher is saying.  

If your child is complaining that school is too hard for them, you should organise a meeting with their teacher This could be why they are refusing to go in. A change in set or class could help alleviate the problem.

Who Can You Ask for Help if Your Child Won’t Go to School?

If you have a child that refuses to go to school and acts out a lot, it’s easy for parents to start blaming themselves. You could be thinking their child reflects their parenting. Everyone has heard of the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ so never feel like you have to do it alone, even as a single parent 

It would be best to speak to a teacher at your child’s school to try and address why your child may be refusing to go to school. If the school has a psychologist, you could get them to speak to your child as well. Schools are trained in situations like this and have whole departments dedicated to helping students. No matter whether they are facing challenges academically or even socially, help will be available.

If you think your child may have a learning difficulty you should contact your local GP. They could advise therapy for your child or even put them on medication if it’s necessary. Therefore, this may not only help your child in relation to their studies and school, but their whole life. Certain issues can affect various areas of your life without even realising.  

Friends and family are always there to ask for advice. Especially those who may have multiple children or have been in a similar position to you. If they had a child who refused to go to school a lot when they were younger but have grown up now. They could even speak to your child and try to get through to them.

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