Collection: Continuing school during and after prolonged absenteeism

Practice / Intervention

Signposts for School Refusal Interventions, Based on the Views of Stakeholders



School refusal (SR) signals a young person’s difficulty attending school. It jeopardizes their development, often contributes to distress for parents, and places an extra burden on school personnel. Reviews of empirical studies indicate that intervention for SR helps to increase school attendance, but not for all youths. This practice-based manuscript aims to support practitioners and organisations addressing the needs of youths and families affected by SR. Specifically, we present 14 signposts for the development and delivery of intervention for SR. The signposts represent important conditions for effective intervention based on key findings from the Knowing What Works project in the Netherlands. During that project, 76 professionals shared their views about the important elements in SR interventions they delivered, and 39 youths and 86 parents shared their views about the helpful elements in SR interventions in which they participated. These 201 stakeholders were variously associated with 21 SR interventions across 9 of the 12 Dutch provinces, most situated in mainstream or special education settings. Their responses informed the development of the 14 signposts presented here, supported by the extant literature on SR intervention. We describe the essence of each signpost and conclude with suggestions for using the signposts and evaluating their utility.


School attendanceschool refusalinterventionmental healtheducation
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 3 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 25–40
  • DOI: 10.5334/cie.42
  • Submitted on 26 Jan 2022
  • Accepted on 26 Apr 2022
  • Published on 18 May 2022
  • Peer Reviewed