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Anxiety based school avoidance - free DfE funded session

Monday 9th January 2023

Anxiety based school avoidance’: Understanding persistent absence and school / college attendance difficulties

Online 26 Jan 2023 (16:00 - 17:30)

For primary, secondary and Post 16 

Suitable for: Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Governor, Head Teacher, Inclusion Manager/Leader, SENCO, Senior Leader, Teacher

More details here: ‘Anxiety based school avoidance’: Understanding persistent absence and school / college attendance difficulties | Whole School SEND 

This free webinar explores the what, why and how of persistent absence and barriers to school and college attendance.

The session will consider recent research alongside personal experience and offer educational professionals tools, strategies and resources to implement a person-centred approach to wellbeing and attendance in their settings.


  • To understand national persistent absence data and the impact of Covid
  • To consider different approaches used in attendance policies
  • To reflect on the language and terminology associated with school / college absence
  • To share resources and strategies to support learners experiencing school anxiety

This activity has been funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and is available free on the condition that the participant agrees to complete a short evaluation form at the end of the activity and complete an online post-evaluation impact form that will be emailed to the participant approximately 3 months after the event.

Evaluation provided will help the Universal Services programme and DfE to understand how the learning, knowledge and skills acquired through this activity has benefited the participant, and where relevant has been implemented within their setting.

Feedback will also enable us to consider future improvements, updates or potential redesign of this activity to help refine and improve our offer to the sector and enhance the learning experience of future participants. 
Meet your trainer: Amanda Wright
Amanda has worked in education for over 20 years, with the latter half of her career dedicated to SEND. Having developed practice both as a SENCO and senior leader in mainstream primary settings and at local authority level she is committed to improving outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities. She has supported a large number of schools to reflect on and refine their practice and provision for learners with SEND through CPD, SEND Review and by mentoring new SENCOs.

Amanda joined Whole School SEND in 2018 as deputy regional SEND lead for the West Midlands. Over the last year she has taken on the role of National Coordinator and now Deputy Head of Whole School SEND.  
Meet your trainer: Ellie Costello
Square Peg is a grassroots not-for-profit Community Interest Company that advocates for change in the education system.  

Established and led by those with lived experience of persistent absence and school attendance difficulties, we exist to raise awareness, inform, educate, provide insight and understanding, influence policy, culture and practice in and around barriers to school attendance and persistent absence.  We work with multi-disciplinary, cross-sector partners in academia and research; all stakeholders across education, health, social care and welfare, legislation and government; technology, innovation and design as well as advocacy, empowerment and campaigns.  

We are experienced strategic partners and champion co-production and courageous conversations.

We work alongside Not Fine In School (who represent the same families) and provide peer to peer support, information, advice and resources.  Now 5 years old, NFIS now has almost 40k members, rising at 1000-1200 membership requests pcm.

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