Country

Information in the menus below was updated in April 2021. To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: David Heyne (heyne@fsw.leidenuniv.nl) or Marije Brouwer-Borghuis (m.brouwer@swv2301.nl).  

  • People, groups, and organizations

    Not for Profit

    • The National Expertise Team for School Refusal (‘Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering’) was established in 2015. It meets three times a year, to share and create knowledge. The group is open to all professionals with an interest in school refusal. The meetings have a practical focus (e.g., presentations and discussions about clinical and educational programs for school refusal) and a research focus (e.g., generating research topics; reviewing results from recent studies). In the 2019-2020 school year the National Interest Group broadened its Steering Group and is exploring an expansion of the Group’s focus to address all types of school absenteeism. To find out more about the schedule of events please contact the chairperson for Steering Group, Drs. Marije Brouwer-Borghuis. You can also access an overview of the activities of the group during the last 5 years. 
    • INGRADO is the national association for school attendance officers and related professionals. 
    • The ‘Youth Not Attending School Pact’ (‘Thuiszitterspact’) was signed in 2016. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport made a pact with the Secondary Schools Council and the Primary Schools Council, as well as the Ministry of Justice and Security, the Association of Dutch Municipalities, and INGRADO, to reduce the number of youth not attending school. The pact specifies that Collaborations (‘Samenwerkingsverbanden’) and City Councils will determine how best to provide support for a young person at risk of not attending school. Parents and youth (where possible) will be involved in the process.
    • ‘Behavioural Work’ (‘Gedragswerk’) is commissioned by the Ministry of Education. It focuses on young people who have been absent from school for long periods. The education and support they need is not there, and these young people require a different way of learning, which can only be found if everyone looks at their situation differently. It is the mission of ‘Gedragswerk’ to get the entire system around the young person moving and to keep it moving. 
    • The academic platform ‘Together at School’ (‘Samen op School’) wants to ensure that as few youth as possible drop out of school, and to reduce the need for heavier forms of support. ‘Together at School’ focuses its activities on two main questions: (1) Which types of management and cooperation contribute most to the achievement of the transformation goals?; (2) Which working methods contribute to improved cooperation between parents, young people, education, and youth care? 
    • David Heyne is Associate Professor in the Developmental and Educational Psychology Unit of Leiden University. His scholarly and research interests include classification, early identification, and intervention for school attendance problems. Contact: heyne@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
    • Rene Halberstadt is employed as project leader with INGRADO and is an external PhD candidate in the Erasmus University Department of Sociology. His PhD research includes a multi-level analysis of the interplay between parents, adolescents, peers, and school policy on authorized and unauthorized absenteeism.  Contact: renehalberstadt@hotmail.com
  • Current and upcoming activities and achievements
    • 2021 November 30: Save this date for the launch of the 'Know What Works' Report. The report and a roadmap toward school attendance will be presented at this gathering. It is intended that the gathering will take place in Utrecht, in-person. More information and an invitation will follow.
    • 2021 June 16: The ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] will meet to hear and discuss findings from the Team's project ‘Know What Works’ (Weten Wat Werkt). Know What Works was undertaken by a consortium of four partners: (1) Leiden University, (2) the National Expertise Centre for Special Education [Landelijk Expertise Centrum Speciaal Onderwijs], (3) SWV 23-01, and (4) at.groep zorg. Via interviews with professionals in Dutch organizations providing programs for school refusal, as well as questionnaires administered to a sample of parents and youth participating in the programs, the research team has prepared a roadmap for program components. This will reduce the need for schools, youth services, mental health settings, and communities to ‘re-invent’ the wheel when they want to provide an intervention for school refusal. At the meeting on June 16th, David Heyne and Marije Brouwer-Borghuis will present the first results of the research. After a plenary presentation, there will be room for discussion about the 'roadmap to school attendance' which summarizes the building blocks for school refusal interventions, drawn from the results of the research. For information about Know What Works or the meeting on June 16th, contact Marije Brouwer-Borghuis.  
    • Ongoing since 2019: A funded inter-regional knowledge exchange project on school refusal. This is a collaboration between Dutch and German child & adolescent psychiatric organisations Karakter, GGNet, LVR Essen, and LVR Viersen. The project will explore the problem of school refusal in the partners’ respective patient populations, compare school refusal interventions employed in both countries, and investigate differences in the Dutch and German school systems and governmental policies as they relate to school refusal. The results of this project will be used to develop targeted interventions for school refusal. Contact: Bas de Veen, Project Manager Innovation & Development, Karakter Academy. 
    • Ongoing since 2018: ‘De Berkenschutse’ Centre of Expertise for Special Education in Heeze launched the project All Students To School [Leerlingen Allemaal Naar School, or LANS]. One of the LANS activities is the evaluation of the effectiveness of a CBT intervention for school refusal when applied in a naturalistic setting. Other activities include early identification and response for absenteeism. Contact: Evelyne Karel
  • Past activities and achievements

    2021

    • 2021 March 31: Online symposium - The School Psychologist in Corona Times, 'Well-being and Resilience' [De Schoolpsycholoog in tijden van Corona 'Welbevinden en Veerkracht'].
    • 2021 March 24: The ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] met to discuss ‘The importance of peer relations in preventing school refusal, and how to build relationships when school refusal is established’. Dr Trude Havik from Norway gave a presentation on this topic, followed by a selection of workshops. The notes from discussion during Workshop 1 with Trude Havik can be found via this link. 
    • 2021 March 18: The second meeting of the 'Learning Community for [the Prevention of] Long-Term Absenteeism' (Leergemeenschap [Preventie Van] Thuiszitten) took place on March 18. After an opening speech by Mike Jolink of the 'Support Center for Appropriate Education' (Steunpunt Passend Onderwijs), Femke Zoggel of JongPIT and Marieke Boon of 'Parents & Education' (Ouders & Onderwijs) spoke about cooperation between pupils, parents, and school. The webinar is accessible via this link
    • 2021 February 4th: The first meeting of the 'Learning Community for [the Prevention of] Long-Term Absenteeism' (Leergemeenschap [Preventie Van] Thuiszitten) took place on February 4th. After an opening speech by Mike Jolink of the 'Support Center for Appropriate Education' (Steunpunt Passend Onderwijs), Peter Hulsen of the NCJ discussed research into absenteeism, prevention of long-term absenteeism, and the attendance policy checklist. Laura Thomassen then spoke about the approach used in the city of Amsterdam, and Marije Brouwer and Dr. Patricia Graczyk spoke about the approach in SWV Almelo. The webinar is accessible via this link.
    • 2021 January: 'Present! Een online magazine over preventie en aanpak van schoolverzuim' [Present! An online magazine about prevention and intervention for school absenteeism]. The Support Point for Appropriate Education [Het Steunpunt Passend Onderwijs], in collaboration with the NJi, has taken the initiative to publish the online magazine Present! You will find an introduction to the RtI model, and five examples are used to show how interventions can be used to prevent absenteeism.
    • 2021 January: 'Zicht op thuiszitten. Geschillen over toelating, verwijdering of ontwikkelingsperspectief van (dreigende) thuiszitters' [Perspective on Long-Term Absenteeism: Disputes About Admission, Removal or Development Prospects of (Imminent) Long-Term Absentees]. A report by E. Krijnen, A. Vaessen, C. J. Pater, & G. Ledoux. Amsterdam: Kohnstamm Instituut.

    2020

    • 2020 December 15: 'Customization for Change' (Maatwerk Voor Verandering), the 3rd 'School Absenteeism Congress' (Thuiszitterscongres) in Bussum.
    • 2020 November 19: 'We Are Glad You Are Here' (Wij Zijn Blij Dat Je Er Bent), a presentation by Henrie Mastwijk (Nederlands Centrum Jeugdgezondheid) and Rene Halberstadt (INGRADO) at 'For Youth Day' (Voor De Jeugd Dag), accessible via this link
    • 2020 November 11: The ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] met online to discuss ‘autism and school absenteeism’, with presentations by teams in the Netherlands and UK. The Powerpoint slides from the workshop by Dr Vaso Totsika from the UK can be found via this link. For more information about the meeting, contact Marije Brouwer-Borghuis
    • 2020 November 4: A live webinar was hosted by 'Berkenbrein' on Wednesday 4th November, with three speakers on the topic of preventing and managing school absenteeism. The webinar was called 'To school? Yes, of course!' (Naar school!? Ja toch!).  Click here to view the video.
    • 2020: Smooth Transition to Work is a project to help youth in a vulnerable position make a successful transition from vocational education to work (e.g., youth with disabilities, learning problems, difficult home situations). The project is managed by INGRADO and runs until December 2020. To learn more, contact project leader Henrie Mastwijk.
    • 2020 June 11: The National Expertise Team for School Refusal [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] met online to share experiences and ideas surrounding COVID-19, school attendance, and absenteeism. 
    • 2020 April 16 and May 26: 'Getting started with the Methodological Approach to School Absence (MAS)' [Aan de slag met de MAS voor leerplichtambtenaren en ketenpartners]. More information is found via this link.
    • 2020 April 10: The Sociaal Planbureau Groningen prepared a summary of the study on 'Authorized Absenteesim' [Geoorloofd Verzuim]. 
    • 2020 January 30: INGRADO meeting titled ‘Inspiration Meeting: Chronic Absenteeism and Other Vulnerable Youth’ [Inspiratiebijeenkomst: Thuiszitters en andere kwetsbare jongeren]. 
    • 2020 January 16: A meeting of a sub-group of the ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] to discuss group-based work with parents of youth displaying school refusal. Contact Elske de Kanter.
    • 2020: ‘The Dutch Youth Institute’ [Nederlands Jeugdinstituut] released a resource titled ‘Addressing school absenteeism: A scientific basis' [Schoolverzuim aanpakken: Een wetenschappelijke onderbouwing]. 

    2019

    • 2019 December: This issue of the Ingrado Magazine has responses to ’10 Questions’ about school refusal.
    • 2019 November 29: Het Congres ‘Gewoon DOEN’ in Arnhem, about education for students who need extra guidance and support. 
    • 2019 November 13: The ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] hosted a gathering on ‘mapping school attendance problems’ [in kaartbrengen van schoolverzuim], incorporating recent international research and practice gleaned from the 1st INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. The group also provided feedback on the forthcoming document from ‘The Dutch Youth Institute’ [Nederlands Jeugdinstituut] titled ‘School absence among young people: What works?’ [Schoolverzuim onder jeugdigen: Wat werkt?]. Feedback indicated: the document provides clarity around the topic of absenteeism; include research on gaming and absenteeism, and more information on socio-cultural factors and absenteeism; future versions can distinguish between ‘international’ and ‘Dutch’ research; qualify the research-based findings by emphasizing that practitioners need to attend to case-specific issues not represented in the research results; practitioners need to take care to refer to ‘school refusal as a type of absenteeism’ as opposed to labeling a young person as ‘school refuser’; there is scientific value in retaining the term because of its use in the international literature; there is also practical value for parents who are able to search the internet for information using the term, they often feel relieved to understand that it is indeed a type of attendance problem taken seriously by the field; 1/3 of the group was in favor of changing the term ‘school refusal’, 2/3 in favor of retaining the term.
    • 2019 October: INGRADO’s participation in the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo is described in a short report
    • 2019 October 18: Rene Halberstadt (INGRADO) presented ‘Parents, adolescents, peers, and school policy: A multi-level analysis on the effect of their interplay on authorized and unauthorized absenteeism’ at the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. INSA Members can access the video by logging in via the Members menu
    • 2019 October 17: Marije Brouwer-Borghuis (SWV 23-01 VO) presented ‘The Link Program for school refusal: An educational facility and its mental health care spouse(s).’ at the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. INSA Members can access the video by logging in via the Members menu
    • 2019 October 17: Cynthia Defourny, Evelyne Karel, & Hilde Hermes (De Berkenschutse Centre of Expertise for Special Education) presented ‘The highs and lows of translating a research-based treatment protocol for school refusal to a real-world setting’ at the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. INSA Members can access the video by logging in via the Members menu
    • 2019 October 17: Fatima Tatahi-Post (Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science) presented ‘Does government policy impact grassroots work? Dutch examples of dilemmas and progress’ at the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. INSA Members can access the video by logging in via the Members menu
    • 2019 October 16: Floor Sauter (De Banjaard/Youz) presented ‘Supporting school-refusing adolescents with (mild) intellectual disability via a research-based treatment protocol’ at the inaugural INSA Conference in Oslo, Norway. INSA Members can access the video by logging in via the Members menu
    • 2019 October 9: ‘Together at School Conference’ [Het Congres Samen Op School
    • 2019 September 13: A short opinion piece in the nederlandsdagblad titled ‘We are youth who have been away from school and we are not lazy – five tips to help us out’ [Wij zijn thuiszitters en we zijn niet lui - vijf tips om ons te helpen]. 
    • 2019 July 9: ‘Impetus for addressing long-term school absenteeism: Research into the story behind the figures and the ambitions of the Thuiszitterspact’ [Impuls thuiszittersaanpak: Onderzoek naar het verhaal achter de cijfers en de ambities van het Thuiszitterspact]. A report which focuses on the kind of national support that can be offered to reduce the number of youth with long-term absenteeism and/or  accelerate achievement of the ambitions of the Thuiszitterspact. 
    • 2019 June 27: The ‘School Absenteeism Congress’ [Thuiszitterscongres] in Bussum.
    • 2019 June 3rd – 7th: National Action Week for School Absenteeism [Landelijke Actieweek Thuiszitters]. 
    • 2019 May 23: The National Expertise Team for School Refusal [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] hosted its quarterly meeting, this time focusing on ‘The Voices of Youth’. Presentations were made by Mariette Mariëtte van Hemert and Marianne van Etten (Thuiszittersteam Fritz Redl School) and Griet De Nys (HOGENT in Belgium). Contact Marije Brouwer-Borghuis
    • 2019 April 12: A follow-up meeting in Deventer, building on the November 2018 meeting organised by the Autism Knowledge Network in Overijssel [‘Autisme Kennisnetwerk Overijssel‘] and titled Autism and Youth Not Attending School [Autisme & Thuiszitter]. 
    • 2019 February 15: A news item indicating that Minister Slob (Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media) is disappointed with the number of young people absent from school for an extended time. In response, each region will have a director who determines how best to deal with this, on a case-by-case basis. 
    • 2019 February 15: Letter to the Chairperson of the House of Representatives, titled State of Affairs regarding School Absenteeism [Stand van zaken thuiszitters], signed by the the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Minister for Legal Protection. 
    • 2019 February 6: The ‘National Expertise Team for School Refusal’ [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] hosted its quarterly meeting, this time focusing on ‘Tier 2 Interventions for School Refusal’ with presentations by two organizations in the Netherlands (OZAPP and LANS).

    2018

    • 2018 December 17: The team from the MOVING project prepared a newsletter with updates on their work. MOVING is a project evaluating the effectiveness of a program that helps schools guide youth with autism spectrum traits through the transition from primary school to secondary school. 
    • 2018 November 30: “The Congress” (HÉT CONGRES) is a national education congress organized by LECSO, the SBO work association, and The Education Specialists. The central focus is on education for students who need extra care and attention.
    • 2018 November 23: The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science and The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport released a letter describing the measures that will be taken to ensure that health and education work together in the interests of youth in need. One of the measures related to school attendance is Measure 6: An ‘activator’ will be used to improve the connection between the action groups for youth not at school, and the regional expert teams [“Maatregel 6: Een aanjager verbetert de aansluiting van de actietafels voor thuiszitters en de regionale expertteams”]. Another measure related to school attendance is Measure 9: Adjusting the Compulsory Education Act to include educational perspective in exemptions from education [“Maatregel 9: Aanpassen Leerplichtwet om onderwijskundig perspectief te betrekken bij vrijstellingen van onderwijs”]. 
    • 2018 November 7: The Autism Knowledge Network in Overijssel [Autisme Kennisnetwerk Overijssel] organised a special meeting with the theme: Autism and Youth Not Attending School [Autisme & Thuiszitters]. There was great interest, with 400 participants. 
    • 2018 September 21: The National Expertise Team for School Refusal [Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering] hosted a symposium. Visitors from Australia (University of Melbourne and the Royal Children’s Hospital) shared their work on the In2School program, a wrap-around model of care for youth displaying school refusal. A report of this meeting is available.    
    • 2018 June 28: The ‘School Absenteeism Congress’ [Thuiszitterscongres] was held in Bussum. Multiple organisations in the Netherlands that are working with youth with school attendance programs presented their approach.
    • 2018 June 4: The ‘School Absenteeism Event’ [Thuiszitterstop] was organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The event focused on what is needed in the near future to prevent school absenteeism and reduce the number of youth who are currently not attending school. 
    • 2018 June: The National Action Week for School Absenteeism [Landelijke Actieweek Thuiszitters]. This was a week full of activities organized by ‘Steunpunt Passend Onderwijs’ of the Secondary Schools Council and Primary Schools Council, together with the Secondary Vocational Education and Training Council, the Association of Dutch Municipalities, The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The National Expertise Centre for Special Education, and numerous other organizations. 
    • 2018 March: The city of Leiden was host to the Lorentz Workshop titled: School Absenteeism - Universal Problem Seeks Gold Standard Solutions. Twenty-one academics and clinicians from 11 countries engaged in a week-long workshop with the aim of developing consensus for the international community with respect to the operationalization and classification of school attendance problems. Topics included: major bottlenecks in research and practice; operationalizing absenteeism; registering problematic absenteeism; key issues for classification; best practice in identifying school attendance problems. Click here for the poster
  • Helpful links and other resources

Disclaimer: INSA’s Mission encourages us to disseminate as much readily available information as possible, without judgement. The sharing of this information should not be seen as an endorsement by INSA. People, groups, and organisations are separated into ‘for profit’ (fees are charged for services) and ‘not for profit’ (including charities, who may charge no fees or nominal fees for services). Please access and use this information with proper judgement.

Follow us