Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network, the recognised body representative the needs and interests of Queensland independent school parents, welcomes the recommendations outlined in the Senate Committee’s report into school refusal in Australia.

QIS Parents Network Executive Officer Amanda Watt, who gave evidence into the inquiry, said it was reassuring to see 14 recommendations outlined in the report.

Ms Watt thanked the Senate Committee for their recognition of the toll school refusal has on family life and their raft of practical findings.

“Many parent and family organisations, including ours, gave evidence to the inquiry this year about the devastating impact school refusal has on parents and carers’ wellbeing and working life,’’ Ms Watt said.

“School refusal or ‘school can’t’ is a live issue in the Queensland independent school sector, as it is in all education sectors, and is an area of growing concern for parents and educators.

“Anecdotally, it is occurring in large schools and small schools and impacting families across all socio-economic groups.”

Ms Watt said it was reassuring to see measures including earlier intervention for students at risk of school refusal and an increase to the number of subsidised mental health care visits for students experiencing school refusal being recommended.

Significantly, the report also called for effective family engagement practices in schools, including the provision of specialist family engagement support staff.

“Most parents are doing their very best to support their child and navigate very complex situations, without adequate mental health support or resources for them or their child,” Ms Watt said.

“While there is an increasing number of articles and resources online for parents on strategies to deal with school refusal, many parents speak of feeling overwhelmed and unsupported and unsure of where to go for help. For many it is a day-by-day situation they are trying their very best to manage.

“To see this report suggest education authorities and the non-government school sector work together to develop and promote resources about school refusal for families and teachers is very much welcome.

“We hope this report and its’ recommendations lead to real change for the families and students who are struggling with school refusal or ‘school can’t’.’’

The Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment made 14 recommendations in their final report, including a request that the nation’s Education Minister’s create an evidence-based national action plan on school refusal within 12 months.

Read the report in full here: https://www.aph.gov.au/…/Education…/SchoolRefusal/Report