• INSA Projects
    • Special issue of Orbis Scholae (2021-2022)

    INSA is delighted to collaborate with the journal Orbis Scholae for a special issue on 'Recording, Reporting, & Using School Attendance Data'. To improve school attendance, education and government departments around the world engage in some form of monitoring through the recording and reporting of absenteeism. Despite an abundant literature on school absenteeism, we still know relatively little about the different approaches that are used to define, record, and report school attendance across countries or states/regions within countries. This inconsistency is a major limiting factor for research collaboration across countries, for policy alignment, and for identifying best practices. This special issue presents the broadest overview so far on how school attendance and absenteeism is defined and measured. We invite country-specific manuscripts (or state/region-specific) which address the following questions: (1) How is school absenteeism conceptualized in your country? (2) What indicators of absence are being recorded? (3) How is this data reported? and (4) How do schools and central authorities respond to this data? If you are interested in contributing to this issue of Orbis Scholae, we kindly ask you to send the title, authors, and overview (100-150 words) for your proposal by June 30th, 2021, to journal editor Dr. Dominik Dvořák at: dominik.dvorak@pedf.cuni.cz. Full manuscripts can be submitted until the end of January 2022. Futher information about the Call for Papers can be found here. 

    • Special Issue of Continuity in Education (2020-2021)

    The INSA Executive Committee is collaborating with Dr Michele Capurso (Italy) in the preparation of a special issue of Continuity in Education, to be published in 2021. Information about the Call for Papers can be found here. For more information, contact the managing editors: Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, Glenn Melvin, or Gil Keppens

    • Know What Works (2019-2021)

    INSA members in the Netherlands are collaborating on a study titled 'Know What Works' (Weten wat Werkt), supported by the 'Dutch National Expertise Team for School Refusal' (Landelijk KennisTeam Schoolweigering). This is a national survey of Tier 3 interventions for school refusal, to identify those aspects of intervention which professionals, parents, and youth describe as helpful. A report of the initial results will be available in June 2021, and scientific journal articles will be prepared thereafter. The working definition of school refusal used in this study is: 'Reluctance or refusal to attend school, in association with emotional distress which is temporary (e.g., excessive fearfulness, unexplained physical symptoms) or chronic (e.g., depression), often leading to absence from school. The young person does not try to hide school absence from their parents, and they do not display severe antisocial behaviour. The parents have made efforts to get their child to school, and/or they express the intention for their child to attend school.' One of the themes of the study is 'collaboration', especially collaboration between professionals from education and mental health. A short video draws attention to some of the key aspects of collaboration. In the video, Chantal (from education) and Joost (from mental health care) explain how they collaborate when working in an alternative educational program (the Link in Almelo) for adolescents displaying school refusal. They discuss the strengths and difficulties in their collaboration by means of a 'marriage metaphor'. For information about the video or the 'Know What Works' project, contact Marije Brouwer-Borguis at m.brouwer@swv2301.nl.

    • On The Frontline (2019-Ongoing)

    INSA members from Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands are collaborating on a study titled 'On the Frontline'. Please see the brochure for details. This is a feasibility study of the implementation and evaluation of a school-based framework which accentuates early identification and response to emerging absenteeism. Early identification and response serves as prevention for the development of severe and chronic absenteeism. Contact: Jo Magne Ingul (JoMagne.Ingul@helse-nordtrondelag.no).  

  • Other Projects
    • 'The school attendance and home learning experiences study'

    The COVID-19 pandemic brought many disruptions to children’s education, including the education of children with intellectual (learning) disability and/or autism. We have launched an important new study to understand the educational experiences of children with an intellectual disability and/or autism about a year after the COVID-19 pandemic started in the UK.

    An online survey will be live over the summer of 2021. We are collecting data from approximately 1,500 parents of 5 to 15 year-old children across all 4 UK countries. The study is looking at school attendance and home learning experiences of children with intellectual disability and/or autism. The study will provide evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on school attendance and home education for children with an intellectual disability and or autism. If you are a parent interested in the study, please read ‘Information for Participants’. To find out more about the research project and team members, click here

    • 'Parent, youth, & professional input: Co-design of an online parenting program for parents of youths displaying school refusal'

    The co-occurrence of adolescent school refusal with anxiety and depressive disorders is a complex issue associated with severe, ongoing impairment. Novel intervention approaches are needed, and supporting parents/caregivers holds promise due to: a) their role as a conduit between adolescent, school, and family systems; and b) prior evidence that demonstrates that parent focused interventions improve school attendance. This project obtained the voice of lived experience from parents of school-refusing adolescents who received the Therapist-assisted Online Parenting Strategies Program (TOPS), an online parenting intervention designed to equip parents with evidence-based strategies to respond to clinical-level internalising problems for their adolescent. TOPS will be adapted to better support parents of anxious or depressed youths displaying school refusal, because until now it did not specifically address school non-attendance. The project involves input from professionals, parents, and youths in the development of the material, via 'online co-design workshops'. The team is currently recruiting for the co-design workshops, and will be recruiting parent participants for the pilot trial of the program (once developed) in early 2022. For more information, please contact Anna Smout

    • 'The correlates of truancy: A scoping review using the narrow definition of truancy' 

    Truancy has been associated with many variables, such as problem behavior at school, psychosocial difficulties, and entering the juvenile justice system. The types of variables studied are likely to be influenced by the discipline of the researcher (e.g., psychology, psychiatry, education, juvenile justice) and whether truancy is studied as a predictor variable or an outcome variable. To enhance clarity in the field of school attendance and absenteeism, this scoping review identifies variables correlated with truancy across numerous disciplines and using a more refined definition of truancy. By using a narrow definition of truancy, we intend to ‘reduce the noise’ in the data, in order to have a more precise understanding of variables associated with truancy. The results of this scoping review can be used to understand truancy when defined in this way, and to offer nuanced implications for interventions addressing truancy.

    The research team (from Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, & Belgium) will review reports found in bibliographic databases (e.g., EBSCO host), organizational websites (e.g., Campbell Collaboration), and peer reviewed journals (e.g., Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry). To meet inclusion criteria, studies will need to report empirical findings based on research with youths between 5 and 19 years, drawing on studies that have applied the narrow definition of truancy. This will yield an overview of variables associated with truancy, as well as information about the populations studied and measures used. For more information, please contact Robin Ulriksen.

    • 'Preparing instruments to assess school attendance problems in Sweden and Finland'

    In an ongoing research project, assessment instruments are being prepared for use in Sweden and Finland. The revised version of the School Refusal Assessment Scale (SRAS-R; Kearney, 2002) as well as the Adapted SRAS-R (Heyne et al., 2017) have been translated into Swedish and Finnish, along with two newer instruments, the Inventory of School Attendance Problems (ISAP; Knollman et a., 2018) and the School Non-Attendance ChecKlist (SNACK; Heyne et al., 2019). "We wish to make these instruments available in Sweden and Finland", says project leader Katarina Alanko, from Åbo Academy University in Finland. Now that the instruments have been translated they will be evaluated for how psychometrically sound they are. A strength of the project is the parallel data collection in two countries. For example, both countries had different responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (in Finland the schools were closed while they remained open in Sweden). "We are eager to compare results from the three different questionnaires that we included in this project," says Johan Strömbeck, PhD student, and responsible for the data collection in Sweden. "We are pleased to see that we have already received e-mails from practitioners who are interested in using these instruments." For more information, please contact: Katarina.alanko@abo.fi or johan.strombeck@abo.fi

    • ‘Patterns of school non-attendance: An optimal matching analysis of school attendance data'

    School absenteeism is known to hamper academic achievement, predict a range of school-related problems and cause early school leaving. The need for effective intervention for school absenteeism is evident. However, intervention for school absenteeism is hindered by the lack of reliable criteria to differentiate between problematic and non-problematic school absenteeism. In this project, we aim to fill that gap by applying the relative new method of optimal matching to search for patterns in the timing, duration and sequence of school non-attendance. In addition, we will relate these identified patterns in non-attendance to educational outcomes and validate these patterns through a cross-national comparison between Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) and Denmark. Contact Gil Keppens.

    • 'Cross-cultural knowledge sharing project'

    Since 2019, a cross-cultural knowledge sharing project funded by INTERREG has been underway. It focuses on school refusal in child and adolescent psychiatry. This is a collaboration between Dutch and German child and adolescent psychiatric hospitals Karakter, GGNet, LVR Essen, and LVR Viersen. The project investigates the problem of school refusal among children and adolescents with pre-existing mental health problems. Also as part of the project, knowledge is shared on school refusal interventions, differences in school systems and governmental education policies. Results from this project have been presented at the symposium 'Groundbreaking Innovation in Youth Care' [Grensverleggend innoveren in de Jeugdzorg] in December 2019. The goal for 2021 is to publish the results from the research in a scientific journal. The knowledge generated from this collaboration can be used to develop targeted interventions for school refusal. Contact Bas de Veen, Project Manager Innovation & Development, Karakter Academy.

    • 'International Comparative Perspectives on School Attendance Problems' 

    This research project is funded by the Swedish Research Council. It started on January 1st, 2020 and will be carried out under four years, until, December 31st, 2023. The purpose of this study is to investigate national, organisational and individual dimensions of school attendance problems (SAP) among 15 to 17-year-olds in Sweden, the UK, Germany and Japan. The project uses a mixed method approach combining quantitative analysis of large-scale data on the national level with qualitative case studies on the organisational and individual level. Contact Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg

    • 'All Students To School'

    Ongoing since 2018: ‘De Berkenschutse’ Centre of Expertise for Special Education in Heeze, the Netherlands, 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

    • The KiTeS project stands for 'Kids & Teens at School'.

    It is a collaboration between Monash University in Australia, Warwick University in the UK, and Leiden University in the Netherlands. The study will assess school attendance problems in children and young people with an intellectual disability (ID) across mainstream and special schools. The three aims of the study are: (1) To establish the rate of school attendance problems in students with an intellectual disability; (2) To build a profile of the types of school attendance problems (e.g. school refusal, school withdrawal, truancy, school exclusion); and (3) To identify the factors associated with different types of school attendance problems. For further information see: https://www.monash.edu/medicine/scs/psychiatry/research/developmental/kites 
    Contact: Glenn Melvin (glenn.melvin@monash.edu). 

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