Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance (EBSNA): Development of a Local Authority, Multi-Agency Approach to Supporting Regular Attendance

Caroline Bond, Su Corcoran, Catherine Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to government guidance in the UK, improving attendance is everyone’s business (DfE, 2022a). This paper sets out the work of one local authority (LA) to develop their own multi-agency approach to reduce rates of emotionally based school non-attendance (EBSNA). The Research and Development in Organisations (RADIO) model provided a structure for the action research process, which consisted of cycles of action and reflection, including awareness raising, reflections on current practice, and the integration of stakeholder views, resulting in an organisational culture shift and the production of professional guidance materials. Content analysis suggests that the development of a localised approach required time, with multi-agency collaboration to promote shared ownership of the products and process across all stakeholders and to enhance uptake of positive changes to practice. Factors including response to local need, multi-agency collaboration and positive feedback facilitated the process, whilst diminished capacity and misconceptions around roles and responsibilities in monitoring and improving attendance were barriers to change. The findings provide further evidence for the role of multi-agency working in the development of strategic support around school attendance difficulties to promote organisational change. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches to better inform future support at an organisational level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Early online date10 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2023


  • Emotionally based school non-attendance
  • policy
  • organisational
  • multi-agency
  • co-production
  • action research


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