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Define Fine:   Parent Peer Support for School Attendance Difficulties

Define Fine has been created by a small, committed team of parents and professionals who have lived experience of school attendance difficulties.    

We are a parent/carer-led organisation set up in response to the growing number of children and young people who experience school attendance difficulties. This is sometimes referred to as ‘school refusal’, or emotionally based school avoidance and may be due to unmet Special Educational Needs & Disabilities including physical or mental illness, either suspected or diagnosed, bullying or issues relating to academic pressure, or even the school environment. 

We provide peer support, using our tried and tested resources and to help parents advocate for the support their children and young people need to be able to learn and achieve. We run regular online webinars and workshops to share effective methods of advocacy and requests for support and work closely with other SEND support groups, and in some areas with the LA and/or SENDIASS.

We are building up a growing network of parent peer supporters, who we train and support to use our guides to enable them to communicate with professionals and request the necessary support to improve attendance.   Many of our parents who we have supported in the past choose to stay with us to help other families experiencing attendance difficulties.   


We find that empowering parents to effectively work with professionals, encourages not only earlier intervention, with much better outcomes, but also reduce the risk and impact of unhelpful, and unnecessary attendance prosecutions and social services safeguarding interventions. It is vital that children, young people and their families receive appropriate support, and especially in cases where professionals insist children are “fine in school, “all are clear as to how fine is actually defined. 

For us “fine in school” would mean that children are safe, healthy, happy and their needs are acknowledged and supported to able to access suitable education and learn. 

We have co-produced the following guidance, based on relevant and up to date government guidance and policy which forms the basis of our support framework.  We have had some success already in working with parents and professionals to develop suitable Support Plans to enable s children to access a suitable education. 


Who to contact

Contact Name
Louise Parker Engels
Contact Position

Where to go


Other Details


Referral required

Last updated 07/11/2022