Unauthorised absence from school among looked after children: perspectives from service providers

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In this study ten service providers who had experience of working with a young person who was both looked after by their local authority and engaged in unauthorised absence from school, participated in semi-structured, one to one interviews. Focus was placed on their individual experiences of working with looked after children who engaged in this type of behaviour, and what they found to be either helpful or unhelpful when addressing truancy. Thematic Content Analysis was conducted on the interview transcripts which revealed that their young people encountered social difficulties at school relating to their interpersonal skills, the effect of stigma and an increased need for privacy. Looked after children were described as having different priorities than their non-looked after peers associated with family contact, moving home and managing their emotional needs. Meeting support needs, reframing priorities and unhelpful responses from service providers were also identified as key areas of concern when addressing unauthorised absence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number6
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Nov 2018


  • unauthorised absence
  • school
  • education
  • looked after children


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