beth_bodycote_2015-copyWelcome to my blog which features aspects of my current PhD research into Family Experiences of School Anxiety and Refusal.

I will also be sharing relevant articles, posts and information that could be relevant and helpful for the families and professionals supporting children and young people experiencing school-based anxiety and attendance difficulties.

If you are seeking advice and support from other people who are, or have, experienced this situation I am involved with a number of support groups and pages on Facebook (most people find it a huge help when they find they are not alone and that we really understand what it is like!) – if you would like to join us here is the link:


We now have a new website too


My Interest in School Refusal

Families of school refusing children are often in a particularly complex and emotive situation created by conflicts between personal, educational and legal needs and requirements.

Many school refusing children and their parents care deeply about their education. However, when they struggle to overcome their attendance difficulties, instead of being offered help and support they often encounter hostile and critical responses, leaving them feeling isolated and frustrated.

I experienced this situation myself as a parent when my eldest son began to school refuse in 2008. This experience, combined with the contact I have had online with so many other families who are struggling within the system, inspired me to enrol on my Education Studies degree, as I was determined to find a way to help families and to highlight this mostly hidden and ignored problem.

My Research

I wrote my BA dissertation:

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Parents Experiences of School Refusal Within the Education System,

with the input of some lovely parents within the School Refusal Facebook group who shared their experiences and opinions with me. I am proud to say my dissertation was  assessed as ‘outstanding’, ‘hugely impressive’, ‘original research’, ‘well-conducted’ and ‘an important contribution to scholarship’. My aim is to continue this research which is now possible as De Montfort University have awarded me funding to begin my PhD study:

The Social Construction of School Refusal: Parental Perspectives

 (You can find out more about what I am doing on the ‘RESEARCH’ page).

13 thoughts on “Hello

  1. RossMountney says:

    Fascinated by your research Beth. It’s great you linked up through my site – thanks for your support shown there. School refusal and anxiety is a subject close to my heart as an ex-teacher witnessing it first hand, and through my more recent work about home education. I feel very strongly that ‘school refusal’ is not a ‘fault’ that lies with the child, but is a natural reaction to a school or class climate that not all children are going to be comfortable with and that is their right!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bethbod says:

    Thank you Ross, I agree wholeheartedly, all children cannot fit into one type of education system and the pressures that are being put onto children by the government are making the situation much worse. Families are being treated appallingly when they try to access help for their children and this needs to be addressed for everyone’s sake.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. myquirkygirl says:

    Thanks for this blog and your research Beth. I’ve met you on the FB group but didn’t know you were also researching this area. If I can help, please let me know. No family or child should have to go through the ‘trial by compliance’ that education has become in 2017.


  4. Ruth Robison says:

    Oh my goodness and a huge WOW!!! I am at present experiencing school refusal with my 10 year old son and he is being treated as a naughty child, whenever his severe anxiety is being expressed as anger or when he is shouted at and also when the teacher shouts generally in his class. I now have social work involvement and initially perceived this as a real help, as they offered all manner of various support, especially as I have mental and physical disabilities. However, the support has not been given, so my son feels worse and gets very emotional when he is let down, as do I. I actually spent hours yesterday trying to find help locally for us in the form of someone to attend the ‘meetings of professionals’ at school, who would be allowed to attend, but to provide support for me, as I can feel very intimidated sitting in a room for a couple of hours, with at least 6 of those professionals. I also found that there is such a thing as a school phobia, which is very real, but I know I will be shot down if a medical practitioner has not diagnosed it. I can’t believe I have just seen that I’m now not alone in this!! Thank you so much and I very much admire your dedication in learning and studying this. Oh and I also have 3 elder sons, who are 16, 24 & 28, but yet they are repeatedly treating me as a 1st time mum, who basically doesn’t have a clue about the importance of education etc!

    Liked by 3 people

    • bethbod says:

      Hi Ruth, are you on Facebook? – if so please see the links above for the ‘Not Fine In School’ group where you will find other parents supporting each other. You mentioned looking for local help and support for meetings – have you heard of SENDIASS? – they can do that -https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/information-advice-and-support-services-network/find-your-local-ias-service

      Also see independent supporters

      Also, if you look on my blog page there are the guides that I collated – for parents and for sharing with schools, there are lots of links and advice in those too,

      Hope that is helpful 🙂 Beth

      Liked by 2 people

      • Donna says:

        I have a very intelligent funny lively daughter who has such a Personality at home and zest for life but at schools becomes a withdrawn nervous child and becomes so stressed out


  5. Paul says:

    Hi Beth.

    Thank you for all that you are doing in this field. I am sure that you are making a real difference to young people and their families. Also, your Not Fine in School website is incredible.

    I have recently applied to do an MA in Education by Research focusing on the topic of Autism and School Refusal. Additionally, I run an organisation which is currently developing a project to support young people at risk of school refusal, in part as a response to the current pandemic, but hopefully this will lead to a longer term project. I was wondering whether we could perhaps make contact to discuss either/both of these projects? I would really value your expert input!


    • bethbod says:

      Hi Paul, thank you for your kinds words of support. Your plans for the research and support project both sound really interesting. I know how important both things will be as it is clear how often school refusal and attendance difficulties are linked to Autism and mainstream school environments – so many families find that autism is at the root of the school-based difficulties (my own included!). You are very welcome to send an email to me as I would love to find out more about your plans – my email is bethbodycote@aol.com – best wishes, Beth


  6. Jodie Barnes says:

    Hi Beth, I am on your facebook page, a mother of a 8 year old but who now attends a small unit for autistic children within a mainstream school. However, he was a ‘school refuse’ for 2 years! He was undiagnosed at this point and clearly had unmet needs, so i understand the difficulties, stress and strain on families. I am also a third year social work student and want to base my dissertation on this subject. I have really enjoyed what you’ve done so far! Keep up the good work the more we get this topic out there hopefully the more help and understanding we can get. Kindest regards, Jodie


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